New Name, Old Place: Optimist Hall

This former mill was built in 1892 as Tompkins Hall, but just one block away from the Parkwood Station of the Light Rail, this redevelopment is being reborn as Optimist Hall. 

The project brings together an exciting collection of food hall, retail, restaurants and office space; made possible by the unique design and topography of the building. Optimist Hall is on a downward slope. It’s creating a wholly original landscape that allows for different levels and individual nooks for a variety of businesses. 

During the modernization construction, developers found a house under the parking lot, and thousands of spindle spools with thread still on them from the mill. The discovered spindles will be used as decor.

Duke Energy moves into the space soon, but check out the lineup opening March 1, 2019: 

The Dumpling Lady—the first brick-and-mortar location for the popular area food truck. 


Archer Paper Goods—the first North Carolina location of a popular Atlanta and Dallas paper goods store. 


Billy Sunday—Chicago-based cocktail lounge offering classic drinks, vintage spirits and new creations. 


Pet Wants—Featuring fresh, slow-cooked and natural ingredients for your pets. 


Bao + Broth Ramen + Bun Shop – An Asian-inspired food stall. 


Fonta Flora Brewery – Brewery and tasting room, featuring a large outdoor patio.


Aix Rotisserie – French Rotisserie from the owners of Aix En Provence.


Undercurrent Coffee – A full service coffee and espresso bar.


Honeysuckle Gelato –Handmade gelato, gelato sandwiches and sorbet.


Papi Queso – A “grilled cheese streatery” food truck opening it’s first brick-and-morter.  


AVA – A Tampa-based Italian food and Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant.


Suárez Bakery & Barra – Pastries, house-made breads and doughnuts, along with a Cuban menu.


Zukku Sushi – Featuring sushi rolls, sushi burritos and poke bowls.


With all these new places to explore and a bright future ahead, the new moniker fits the future for this once forgotten mill. 

New Growth in Charlotte

Noticed the new apartment builds going up all over Charlotte? Well, get ready to see a lot more. According to a study by the National Multifamily Housing Council and the National Apartment Association, Charlotte is expected to need at least 72,000 more apartments by 2030, making Charlotte one of the fastest growing apartment markets in the United States. 


What’s leading to this increase in demand? Not only are new buyers and renters entering the marketing, but increasingly the older generations are choosing apartments over single-family homes, exchanging home ownership for the convenience of renting. This demand is spread across culture and class, increasing the need for all kinds of apartments at all price points. 


This trend isn’t just occurring in Charlotte. Nationwide, increased demands for apartments are expected to rise. The western U.S. and states like Texas, Florida and North Carolina are expected to have the greatest need for apartments.


At first glance, this growth seems like a positive thing—it certainly is for investors and real estate markets, and can have positive impacts on the economy through the construction and increased business activity. But adding a 53% increase to current apartment stock puts heavy demands on the rest of the city’s infrastructure—including traffic, roads and public transportation, and is also a risk to neighborhoods vulnerable to gentrification. Displacing at-risk families can have ripple effects through generations. 


The need is there, but the best way to meet the demand is still to be seen. How will Charlotte take on this demand? I’ll keep you updated on my blog here.