North Tryon commercial landscape in Charlotte, North Carolina

Authors: Sara Tornabene*, UNC Charlotte
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Urban Geography, Business Geography
Keywords: Immigrant businesses, ethnic corridors, retail location
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Stones Throw 3 - Mica, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This research explores and uncovers the dynamics that have driven the production of the North Tryon commercial corridor in Charlotte, NC, as we see it today, as well as ongoing dynamics that will determine future changes. The North Tryon Street is one of the most important corridors within the city of Charlotte not only because it connects the core of the city with its north-eastern suburbs, but also because it represents a viable alternative to the I-85 highway for commuters coming from neighboring counties. In particular, the section of North Tryon between Uptown Charlotte and Sandy Avenue is characterized by several small- and medium-size immigrant retail stores, mainly clustered in strip malls built during the 50s and 60s. The recent opening of the light rail extension that connects downtown to the UNC Charlotte main campus, as well as the concentration of private investments and re-development plans (such as the North End redevelopment project and the North Tryon Area Plan), suggests that this geography seems destined for a drastic change in the near future. Informed by previous research on immigrant businesses in the South of the United Stated and economic development studies with a specific focus on retail analysis, this research uncovers processes of retail store location, challenges faced by business owners, and the impact that perceived and real changes have on business owners’ decision to stay or leave the area. In particular, it aims at specifically highlighting differences pertaining US-born and foreign-born business owners.

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