ULI Charlotte News

RECAP – CoffeeTalk: The Intersection of Food and Real Estate


  • Breweries – surprisingly Charlotte has more than Oregon. About 27 in operation in Charlotte with 20 more planned.  This is leading to craft distilleries, which doesn’t take as much as space
  • Restaurant-owned gardens and farms – farm to table
  • Demographics – higher percentage of millennials in Charlotte (compared to National and State averages).  They dine out frequently, want the experience, eat fast food (even though they don’t adminit it), want a visual experience with their food (post to snap chat)
  • Natural ingredients
  • Agri-hoods – food can drive change; experiential retail
  • Experiential retail – Instagram and snap chat

Key insights:

  • Food can drive change to neighborhoods. 2009 was pivotal in the way we have done the food business.  One example is the reuse of buildings.
  • Charleston, have they reached restaurant saturation? New concept which has six-month leases with rotation of restaurants.  Oku in Charlotte is busier than the other 2 owned.  Opening Oak Steak House, working to provide a unique experience in each location each location having its own chefs – wants sense of authenticity for city.  Experiential is the buzz word.
  • Steve Palmer – 400+ restaurants opened in Atlanta last year. Believes there are still opportunities in Charlotte.  We need to engage with higher level of service and hospitality – human connection is important.  Make the customer feel special.  We focus on staff, customer, community, suppliers and investors, in that order.
  • Jim Noble – hospitality is about differentiation. Restaurants are beginning to work together.  Real estate is thinking more about the space for restaurants.  Community brings people together – escape some of the crazy world. Keys to success – manage craft (cook); manage money; manage people.  When the tide rises – all ships rise with it.
  • How do you bridge the gap between the startup restauranteurs and the underwriting for funding? You need to give the restaurant a break if you building restaurant first before rooftops.
  • Prediction – all the mid-level restaurants are decreasing. Avalon in Atlanta is an interesting case study bringing in urban to suburban.
  • Key to providing the right food experience – AUTHENTICITY – character, good bones. What is the “feel”?
  • Right concept – right neighborhood.
  • Grab and go – Noble working on in Roosters location similar concept.
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