Charlotte: The New South Retirement

Charlotte has been a region that has attracted more new 50+ residents than any other area of North Carolina in the past dozen years. Would casual observers notice? No, because the area has drawn more new residents of all ages.

What’s made the Charlotte area popular? Maybe its location midway between New York and Miami helps. The fact that Charlotte is such a fresh new city with an incredible number of new restaurants, shops, housing and businesses also is a draw.

In a dozen years, the city has virtually transformed itself into a shining star in the South. Here are 10 reasons – Letterman-style (but in no particular order) – why Charlotte has become so popular as a relocation destination for people over aged 50.

1. Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC – a unique, beautiful 2,300 acre greenway great for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking.

2. The Sports Scene – if you are a sports fan, there’s plenty to love about living in Charlotte. The Carolina Panthers are the hometown NFL team and Charlotte Bobcats, the NBA team. Check out the Charlotte Knights minor league baseball team, the Charlotte Checkers minor league hockey team or the Davidson Wildcats, UNC Charlotte Forty-Niners or Queens University Royals for college hoops action. With an active population, there are plenty of teams or groups to get involved with if you are a player rather than a spectator.

3. The Diversity of Neighborhoods – You can choose to live on the lake, a major TPC golf course, an old traditional historic neighborhood, an electric downtown area or a charming tree-filled suburb. No, Charlotte doesn’t have Little Italy or a true Asian District, but you can find a lot of different neighborhoods and price tags to suit your taste. But, even with all of this diversity, the number one selling subdivision in the Charlotte area is a 55+ active adult communities, Sun City Carolina Lakes, just 15 miles south of the city in Fort Mill, SC.

4. Southern, But Only to a Point… Northeasterners and Midwesterners who move to Charlotte find that there are still some truly Southern traditions in Charlotte. Like thinking nothing about asking a stranger where he/she goes to church. Or, referring to several people as “ya’ll.” Or, asking how you are feeling every time someone sees you (even though they really don’t want to know). However, to true Southerners – think Memphis, Montgomery, Jackson, MS, Columbia, SC, even Little Rock – Charlotte is a melting pot that has lost much of its Southern way of life. And, it’s true. Being one of the fastest-growing cities in America this past decade has certainly brought a more cosmopolitan air to the area.

5. The Family – Many people who live in Charlotte enjoy all the amenities, the new development and the friendly people. But, overall, they like the fact that much of Charlotte still has small town values. At its core, Charlotte is a business and family town and many activities center on families and kids.

6. Affordability – When you compare the prices for homes versus those in many other metro areas, you find Charlotte homes extremely affordable.

7. Central Location – One of the great things about Charlotte is living in a central spot near the beach, mountains, foothills, lakes and great charming towns such as Charleston, Wilmington and Asheville.

8. Growth and business – while all cities and communities have been affected by the recession, Charlotte seems to have been growing for decades. While Wachovia Bank, a major employer, was purchased by California’s Wells Fargo in 2009, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch seems to be poised to grow in the future. Charlotte is a city with great infrastructure, a can-do spirit and a central location. Most observers feel it will be a good place for workers once the economy bounces back.

9. Weather – Charlotte generally doesn’t get the extremes, although you can count on four distinct seasons.

10. The Arts – Leading the way is the Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts, a wonderful downtown performing arts venue. There are too many other organizations to list, but suffice to say, Charlotte hosts plays, musicals, classical performances, opera and other concerts and events that rival or exceed most large metropolitan areas.