Invest: Charlotte 2020 Post Event Press Release

Invest: Charlotte 2020 Post Event Press Release

By: Felipe Rivas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

September 11, 2020

Charlotte’s economic resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges, recovery efforts and future development in the region highlighted the launch of the inaugural edition of Invest:Charlotte 2020.

CHARLOTTE, NC — In this time of uncertainty, it has never been more important to showcase the strength and overall resilience of the local community and economy. On Thursday, integrated media platform Capital Analytics provided an opportunity to shed light on the challenges and opportunities in the region as it launched its 152-page analysis Invest: Charlotte 2020 with a virtual business conference held via Zoom Webinar.

 Known for its affordability, highly educated workforce, and reputation as a major banking hub, the Queen City is poised for continued growth and economic diversification even in the midst of current coronavirus-related challenges and uncertainty. This first edition of Invest: Charlotte dives deep into the top economic sectors in the Charlotte Metro Area, including real estate, construction, utilities and infrastructure, transportation and aviation, banking and finance, legal, healthcare, education, and arts, culture and tourism. 

Like other parts of the nation, the Queen City has felt the economic constriction and health challenges created by the pandemic. But, it has also experienced notable job expansion announcements and continued work on capital projects, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said in her keynote address. The pandemic has also allowed city and business leaders to collaborate on addressing recovery efforts and creating solutions for the socio-economic challenges also highlighted by the pandemic. “The pandemic has stopped us in some ways. But it has also given us a great opportunity to resolve some of the disparities that we have seen and to create the vision that we want to have for the future. We are going to make a difference in Charlotte. And we are going to do it together,” Mayor Lyles said.

“Charlotte was an important expansion for us as it is the nation’s second-largest banking city and a key driver of economic growth in the Southeast. The Queen City is experiencing positive economic activity as national and international companies choose Charlotte as a place to grow or relocate their operations. Our Charlotte expansion showcases how metro areas are more than just cities, but rather a diverse ecosystem made up of many companies, locations and environments. Despite the challenges put upon us by COVID-19, Capital Analytics remains steadfast in our purpose: to deliver in-depth business intelligence through its print and digital platforms. Now more than ever, information is not only necessary, it is vital,” said Abby Melone, President and CEO of Capital Analytics. 

Two Panels, focused on banking and development, featured local leaders in conversation about present challenges, recovery efforts and what the future of the Queen City may look like. 

During these uncertain times, sound insights and collaboration between the public and private sectors will be pivotal in ensuring financial recovery for both businesses and residents. The first panel “Financial recovery for businesses and individuals in the wake of a pandemic,” was moderated by Stuart Goldstein, managing partner Charlotte Office, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, and featured Truist Metrolina Regional Charlotte President Heath Campbell, Fifth Third Bank  Mid-Atlantic President Lee Fite and Wells Fargo Managing Director and Senior Economist Mark Vitner. The second panel, “The future of development in the Charlotte region,” was moderated by Taiwo Jaiyeoba, assistant city manager and director of Planning, Design and Development, and featured Zach Pannier, business unit leader, DPR Construction; Marcie Williams, president, RKW Residential; Clay Grubb, CEO, Grubb Properties; and Lawrence Shaw, managing partner, Colliers International.

Over 550 high-level guests and officials from Charlotte’s key industries and economic institutions tuned into the event via Zoom Webinar. For those who missed the event or would live to revisit some of the highlights from the day, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1478&v=X9eRuLg27G0&feature=emb_title

About Capital Analytics:

Capital Analytics produces in-depth business intelligence with a focus on providing comprehensive investment knowledge on markets within the United States for the domestic and global business community. Over a seven-month research period, it meets with more than 200 top political, commercial and industry leaders to deliver targeted information, in-depth analyses and strategic insights to the global business community on economic trends and investment opportunities.

Capital Analytics has a global readership and includes among its readers top executives working in real estate, finance, technology, trade and logistics, health, hospitality and others. Books are distributed locally, nationally and globally to trade and investment boards, executives of Fortune 500 companies, institutional investors, consulates and embassies, hedge funds, leading chambers and associations, as well as high-level summits and conferences.

 

For more information, contact: 

Max Crampton-Thomas

Content Manager 

305-523-9708 Ext: 233

 

Invest: Charlotte 2020 Post Event Press Release

Invest: Charlotte 2020 Press Release

By: Felipe Rivas

Charlotte’s economic resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges to highlight the launch of the inaugural edition of Invest: Charlotte 2020.

September 2, 2020

Charlotte, N.C. – In this time of uncertainty, it is crucial to showcase the strength and overall resilience of the local community and economy. Invest: Charlotte 2020 does just that. With 152 pages of thoroughly researched analysis, the inaugural edition of Invest: Charlotte 2020 highlights the opportunities in the Charlotte Metro Area economy through C-level insider insights and key business intelligence. Known for its affordability, highly educated workforce and reputation as a major banking hub, the Queen City is poised to continue its growth and economic diversification even through current coronavirus-related challenges. These challenges and the steps taken to overcome them are just some of the focal points in this edition of Invest: Charlotte, published by Capital Analytics. The 2020 edition highlights Mecklenburg County and beyond, including parts of South Carolina, such as Rock Hill and Lancaster County, and includes a special focus chapter on Gaston County.

 

 

Importantly, this first edition of Invest: Charlotte dives deep into the top economic sectors in the Charlotte Metro Area. The business report features exclusive insights from industry leaders, sector insiders, elected officials and heads of important institutions, brought together for the first time in a comprehensive release. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market and uncovers emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

The official launch of the publication will take place on Thursday, Sept. 10, at 11:30 a.m. via Zoom Webinar. This event will consist of a brief introduction by Capital Analytics’ CEO Abby Melone and will be followed by two robust panel discussions.

The panels will address the current economic climate as well as prevailing themes dominating the Charlotte Metro Area’s economy: finance and banking in the time of a pandemic and the future of development in the Queen City. Charlotte Mayor VI Lyles will kick off the virtual conference as the opening keynote speaker. Truist Metrolina Regional Charlotte President Heath Campbell, Fifth Third Bank  Mid-Atlantic President Lee Fite, and Wells Fargo Managing Director and Senior Economist Mark Vitner will participate in the panel, “Financial recovery for businesses and individuals in the wake of a pandemic.”Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP Charlotte Office Managing Partner Suart Goldstein will moderate. The second panel, “The future of development in the Charlotte region,” will feature Zach Pannier of DPR Construction, Marcie Williams of RKW Residential-Charlotte, Clay Grubb of Grubb Properties, and Lawrence Shaw of Colliers International. City of Charlotte Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba will moderate. Charlotte Regional Business Alliance CEO Janet LaBar will be the closing keynote speaker. Hundreds of high-level guests and officials from Charlotte’s key industries and economic institutions will be tuning into the event. We are inviting all attendees and those wanting to register for the event to participate in the following survey, the results of which will be presented at the Invest: Charlotte 2020 launch conference. 

“Charlotte was an important expansion for us as it is the nation’s second-largest banking city and a key driver of economic growth in the Southeast. The Queen City is experiencing positive economic activity as national and international companies choose Charlotte as a place to grow or relocate their operations,” said Abby Melone, President and CEO of Capital Analytics. “Despite the challenges put upon us by COVID-19, Capital Analytics remains steadfast in our purpose: to deliver in-depth business intelligence through its print and digital platforms. Now more than ever, information is not only necessary, it is vital.” 

***

About Capital Analytics & Invest: Charlotte

Capital Analytics is an integrated media platform that produces in-depth business intelligence through its annual print and digital economic reviews, high-impact conferences and events and top-level interviews via its video platform, Invest: Insights.

Invest: Charlotte is an in-depth economic review of the key issues facing Charlotte’s economy, featuring the exclusive insights of prominent industry leaders. Invest: Charlotte is produced with two goals in mind: 1) to provide comprehensive investment knowledge on the Charlotte region to local, national and international investors, and 2) to promote Charlotte as a place to invest and do business.

The book conducts a deep dive into the top economic sectors in the county, including real estate, construction, utilities and infrastructure, transportation and aviation, banking and finance, legal, healthcare, education, and arts, culture and tourism. The publication is compiled from insights collected from more than 200 economic leaders, sector insiders, political leaders and heads of important institutions. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market, and uncovers emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

For more information, contact: 

Max Crampton-Thomas

Regional Editor

305-523-9708 Ext: 233

 

Charlotte provides relief now while thinking about the future

Charlotte provides relief now while thinking about the future

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read August  2020 From a census count, to civil unrest, to the health and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has proved to be a pivotal year for the nation. And though uncertainty has remained constant throughout the year so far, the Queen City’s infrastructure investments, diverse business climate and access to talent continue to draw interest from companies and new residents. As the pandemic continues to change the way Charlotteans live, work and play, however, city leaders are juggling the precarious task of providing relief for residents now, while contemplating the future development and growth expected in the Queen City. 

 

From workforce development efforts to small business relief, state, municipal and banking leaders are working to mitigate the pandemic’s immediate economic impact. In August, in an effort to continue to help embattled renters and homeowners, the Charlotte City Council approved an additional $8 million of federal stimulus funding to expand the existing Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program (RAMP CLT). Since April, more than 1,500 households have received $1.4 million in mortgage, rent, hotel and utilities relief and upfront housing assistance due to COVID-19, the city reported. Individuals earning 80% or below the average median income who face COVID-19 hardships and cannot make housing payments may apply for rent or mortgage assistance.

Though the pandemic-infused economic contraction has hit the Charlotte metro area, the region continues to be a favorable destination for new residents. The Charlotte metro continued to be a major draw for new residents coming from the East Coast and as far as California, global property investment giant Jones Lang LaSalle reported in August. “New residents have been drawn by a robust job market, lower cost of living and more pleasant climate,” JLL wrote in its “Tracking population migration in Charlotte” snapshot report. “Year over year migration from the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro increased by 450%,” while “in-migration from California has increased by 500% year over year as the California diaspora moves further east,” JLL found. 

Charlotte’s appeal to new residents, business owners and companies will likely drive commercial and residential development demand as the region moves past the pandemic. In an effort to maximize the value of development projects expected to come to the city, Charlotte city leaders are considering implementing impact fees on property developers to cover public services for new developments, including any new infrastructure needed. These fees can also help create public green space, support schools and parks, as well as fund public transportation projects. 

Leading the effort on the impact fees proposal is Taiwo Jaiyeoba, assistant city manager and director of Planning, Design and Development, who is expected to present a proposal to the city manager in the coming months, as reported by the Charlotte Observer. Impact fees are vehemently opposed by developers who say the fees can potentially stifle development projects. Additionally, to move forward with impact fees, the city will have to receive permission from the state legislature, which has traditionally opposed the measure. 

During these uncertain times, sound insights and collaboration between the public and private sectors will be pivotal in ensuring financial recovery for both businesses and residents. To learn more about the future of development in Charlotte, register now for the Invest:Charlotte 2020 Virtual Launch Conference. The conference takes place on Sept. 10 at 11:30 a.m. The virtual conference will feature two robust panels, including “The future of development in the Charlotte region,” moderated by Taiwo Jaiyeoba, assistant city manager and director of Planning, Design and Development, and featuring Zach Pannier, business unit leader, DPR Construction; Marcie Williams, president, RKW Residential; Clay Grubb, CEO, Grubb Properties; and Lawrence Shaw, managing partner, Colliers International.

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.us.jll.com/en/views/snapshots/charlotte-snapshot-8-3-2020

https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eh85c9d965e383fa&oseq=&c=&ch=

 

Charlotte: Toe to Toe with Coronavirus

Charlotte: Toe to Toe with Coronavirus

By: Felipe Rivas

4 min read June 2020—The tenacity of the coronavirus has challenged, and at times highlighted, the economic strength of cities across the nation. While the pandemic has severely bruised the Queen City’s economy, the city’s dexterity and sound fundamentals are helping to soften the blow as Charlotte recoups and prepares for an uncertain future. 

 

Marked by serious losses and promising victories, June has been a roller coaster of economic activity for the Charlotte Metro Region. Unexpectedly, the city’s hospitality sector, an already embattled segment of the economy, suffered a further blow when President Donald Trump and Republican leaders swiftly yanked the Republican National Convention (RNC) out of Charlotte after coronavirus-related concerns prevented North Carolina leaders from guaranteeing a fully operational Spectrum Center, hotels and other amenities. But as Charlotte reeled from this sudden blow, the region jabbed back at the coronavirus-related adversity with positive job expansion and promising rezoning announcements slated to be catalysts for growth in the near future. 

Two years of RNC preparations vanished as RNC leaders decided to move more than half of the August festivities to Jacksonville, Florida. Since winning the bid to host the 2020 RNC in 2018, the host committee and Charlotte’s hospitality and business leaders have toiled to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for the thousands of delegates, journalists, and visitors expected for the event. However, as government and business leaders entered 2020 confident about the state of the economy, the contingency plans unsurprisingly failed to factor in a global pandemic and the subsequent reduction in major events and large gatherings of people. 

In late May, in a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper, RNC leaders demanded that Charlotte, which remains in a state of emergency, guarantee a “full convention,” and “full hotels and restaurants, and bars at full capacity,” according to a response letter published by the governor’s office. Citing uncertainty and the state of the coronavirus come August, Gov. Cooper said planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity. “As much as we want the conditions surrounding COVID-19 to be favorable enough for you to hold the Convention you describe in late August, it is very unlikely,” Gov. Cooper wrote to the RNC leaders. “Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek.” 

This lack of guarantee prompted RNC leaders and President Trump to move three of the four convention days to Jacksonville, according to different news sources. Charlotte will host the first day of the convention, with the traditional speeches and fanfare occurring in Jacksonville. The convention is scheduled to run Aug. 24-27.  

“We wanted to host the RNC because we hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and so we want to prove to the world that we are capable of delivering high-quality events,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles told Invest: Charlotte in the spring, before the RNC decision. She further explained the advantages for Charlotte: “It is a great branding opportunity for the city, as we expect up to 50,000 people, including many international journalists, to visit during the event. It will also provide a huge boost to our hospitality industry.” she said. The convention was expected to generate more than $150 million in revenue for the area’s restaurants, bars and hotels, the Charlotte Observer reported.  

As the hospitality and tourism sector begins to gather its composure after such a punch, Charlotte heavyweights aim to continue to strengthen the region’s foundation. Two significant redevelopments projects moved forward on Monday after receiving unanimous approval from city leaders. Rezonings were approved for the redevelopment of Atrium Health’s Midtown flagship campus and the former Eastland Mall property in east Charlotte, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. 

Atrium Health, the region’s largest employer, seeks to rezone close to 70 acres at the Carolina Medical Center to accommodate a live, work, and play environment, complete with a new bed tower, rehabilitation hospital, office space, affordable housing and more. In 2019, Atrium Health announced more than $1.5 billion investment in the Charlotte metropolitan area to help build new infrastructure, including new hospitals and medical facilities, President and CEO Gene Woods Told Invest:Charlotte in the spring. “This is about more than just adding brick and mortar. It’s about investing in this community because this is the place our friends, our neighbors and our loved ones call home, and we want to see it continue to thrive,” Woods said. “As the major healthcare system in the state of North Carolina, we know we can play a key role in helping our economy flourish as well.”

The Eastland rezoning includes close to 78 acres of mostly city-owned property, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. The site will be the future headquarters of the yet-to-be-named Charlotte Major League Soccer team, owned by business leader David Tepper. Similar to the Atrium Health project, Eastland will be the site of mixed-use development featuring residential units, office and retail space, and athletic fields. 

And while these projects are expected to pay dividends to the community in the future, the region scored significant economic development victories on Tuesday when Chime Solution and Ross Stores announced the addition of 250 and 700 jobs respectively to the region’s economy. 

Georgia-based Chime Solutions, a provider of customer contact services for several industries, will add jobs for licensed life and health insurance agents and will pay $16 an hour and include training and licensing,  WFAE reported Chime Solutions  opened an office in the University City area last fall. Leading off-price apparel and home fashion retail chain Ross Stores Inc. announced it will expand its distribution and warehousing operations in York County, according to the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. The company’s $68 million investment is projected to create 700 new jobs over five years. 

To learn more, visit:

https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/2020_06_02_RNC-Response-Letter.pdf

https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2020/06/16/eastland-mall-atrium-health-rezoning.html

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/rnc-2020/article243540772.html

https://charlotteregion.com/index.php?src=news&submenu=Relocation_Expansions&srctype=detail&category=Investor%20News&refno=8639&hurl=n

https://www.wfae.org/post/charlotte-says-chime-solutions-250-job-expansion-offers-economic-mobility#stream/0

 

Spotlight On: Tom Finke, Chairman and CEO, Barings

Spotlight On: Tom Finke, Chairman and CEO, Barings

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read May 2020 Charlotte is strongly positioned to capitalize on the investment diversification push from both local and foreign investors to keep its growth sustainable. Tom Finke, chairman and CEO of Barings, walks Invest: through the key features and challenges of the Queen City’s financial landscape.

 

What is your assessment of the Charlotte market?

Charlotte is a great story. It has grown dramatically since the 1980s, fueled by the growth of the two big banks headquartered here at that time, as well as Duke Energy. It also enabled the expansion of the city’s hospital system and other important institutions, along with other companies growing contiguous to that ecosystem. Today, companies such as Honeywell have chosen Charlotte as their corporate HQ, along with a number of business startups, not necessarily tied to the financial industry but related to either the energy industry, the healthcare sector, education and high tech, to name a few. The Queen City benefits from the fact that through its growth was launched by the financial sector, over the years it has become much more diversified, making it a highly attractive city to any company and industry looking to grow.

 

What challenges are looming in Charlotte’s financial sector?

Asset management, like the rest of the financial sector, is dealing with the ongoing economic and market crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is hard to predict the long-term effects and trends. At Barings, we are primarily focused on the short-term situation, managing risk appropriately for our clients through this crisis. It is likely that the financial markets will change after the crisis subsides, much like they did after the 2008 financial crisis, which ushered in an unprecedented decade of lower rates. The macroeconomic picture remains uncertain in terms of the downturn’s length, albeit clearly severe. Looking ahead, investment decisions will be impacted not only by macroeconomic factors but also by understanding which businesses will survive, grow and thrive, which among them will need restructuring, with inherent opportunities to invest on a distress basis and how it affects different asset classes.

 

How have tax reform and low tax rates impacted your side of the business?

The most recent tax reform enabled corporations to bring capital stranded overseas back into the United States, leading to reinvestments in the home market. It had a positive stimulus effect in terms of growth rates coming into 4Q19, contributing to the strength of the U.S. economy. Over the longer term, lower rates are also an indication that the Fed and other central banks are set on stabilizing inflation at a reasonable level, tangentially worried about deflation. Rates are going to remain low in part because there is a lot of stimulus, both fiscal and monetary, injected into the crisis situation.

 

How would you rate Charlotte’s attractiveness for national and foreign companies?

Charlotte has been on the radar of several international companies for a long time. The large number of multinational European firms that have operations in Charlotte or nearby in the general region between western North Carolina and into South Carolina, demonstrates that it is definitely a place that attracts business. The next level is to not only continue to attract growing businesses such as technology companies, but also attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). We work with several asset owners, such as sovereign wealth funds and foreign pensions. We direct our discussions toward Charlotte and its inherent opportunities, whether it is investing in real estate or in local companies. Charlotte is in a strong position to continue to attract global investment. Since the financial crisis of 2008, the investment market has further globalized. Several investors, such as the superannuation funds in Australia, are investing in U.S. markets. This diversification push from home to foreign markets is a sizable opportunity for cities such as Charlotte to tap into. 

 

What strikes you most about the growth of Charlotte’s real estate market?

Barings was the first company to break ground on a new office building post-crisis in Charlotte in 2014. We have seen a significant number of new developments up and down Stonewall Street and other parts of the city since then. It primarily reflects demand coming from within and outside of Charlotte. Coming out of the financial crisis, developers have shown more discipline around ensuring there is demand to support specific types of development.

 

What impact do you anticipate COVID-19 will have on the economy?

The virus outbreak is unlike anything we have experienced in our lives. It is indiscriminately impacting communities across the world. From a business perspective, we anticipate a high level of defaults and bankruptcies, as well as companies that may thrive in terms of the demand for their products and services. Anytime we go through a significant recession of this sort, there is an initial shock that we are still reeling from, as evidenced by overall economic weakness and the erratic stock market. 

 

What is your outlook for 2020?

It will take a period of time for economic growth to get back to where it was in the United States and globally, well beyond 2020. It is a question about the severity and the length of the impact on the economy of this shutdown state and how we start getting out of it so companies can again start building revenue. 

 

To learn more, visit: https://www.barings.com/us/guest

 

Spotlight On: John Aneralla, Mayor, Town of Huntersville

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read May 2020 Developing a sense of community through a revamped downtown is the overall concept that Huntersville is working to materialize. Mayor of Huntersville John Aneralla shares the details of his three priority pillars: enact a 2040 Growth Plan, accelerate infrastructure development and bolster the town’s school capacity. 

What are your primary goals for your recently inaugurated third term (November 2019) as mayor of Huntersville?

There are three main goals. First, establishing and enacting our 2040 Land Use Plan. It is a refresh of the guidelines relating to our town’s growth objectives and how to achieve them. Second, continue to invest in and accelerate infrastructure development. That includes greenways and sidewalks. Another example is our Town Hall, which was obsolete the day it was built 20 years ago and the town has outgrown it. One of the things we have been pushing for in the last few years is to develop Huntersville’s Downtown infrastructure and optimize the town’s Downtown assets. Third, we are severely lacking in school capacity. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system has no planned new school funding for North Mecklenburg. We need to figure out a way to stress our need for more schools sooner rather than later. 

 

What are the short-term objectives for Huntersville?

The trick is to make sure we keep things as affordable as possible so people can actually live, work and play here. We are working on increasing the number of people who can work and live here, and the numbers are improving. Within the overall scheme of the town, the big focus from the governmental point of view is building out the infrastructure. Considering the rapid growth that we have witnessed over the last 25 years, the infrastructure component is lagging behind. Since 2015, we have been pulling out all the stops to accelerate growth projects, and even more so since 2019. 

 

One area that we are most excited about is shedding the poor reputation of our Downtown. Part of this plan is to revamp Main Street. We are widening the road and getting rid of some old buildings and houses to start the improvement. Highway 115, our north/south route through the Downtown, is the only way people can get north and south. Building out our Main Street, which is east of the 115, will relieve a lot of the pressure on that one particular road. As a result of building out the infrastructure, developers are noticing that there are going to be multiple routes to get in and out. The town is investing between $18 million to $20 million, which is attracting much of the developer interest in our Downtown. 

 

What are the main challenges inherent to the goals Huntersville has set for itself?

Our No. 1 job as a government is the safety of our people. We are facing difficulties in recruiting police and law enforcement. We are looking to be more creative. We’ve offered bonuses to our employees for referrals and we are examining changing the pay scale. We are undermanned as an entity of 65,000 people. Despite the shortfall, Huntersville consistently scores as one of the safest places in North Carolina. Our officers are doing a great job, albeit not with as many resources as we would like to bring in.

 

What are the town’s plans in terms of talent attraction?

That’s a question that’s on everyone’s mind. We have made a commendable effort to connect both the local business and education communities. We have the Merancas Campus of the Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) and UNC Charlotte is close by. We are also integrating our high schools in this effort. The ultimate goal is to connect high-school seniors with jobs, particularly relating to light manufacturing. Huntersville is home to top-tier, high-tech companies, such as a 3D printing of metals manufacturer. We want to bring the Career & Technical Education (CTE) teachers and kids to the businesses to give them hands-on experience and for the schools to integrate the skills inherent to such businesses into their curriculum. We are working closely with the Lake Norman Economic Development Chamber (EDC) on this initiative. 

 

What is the 2020 outlook for Huntersville?

We have a diverse business community. Although some sectors will be hit more severely by COVID-19 than others, we have a fairly broad business base, including a 3D manufacturing company, a fruit-netting manufacturer, even a NASCAR team. Money will be slower to come by in the short term like everywhere else, but if one wants to be close to Charlotte, with a business-friendly community at less cost, Huntersville is the place to be. 

 

We are also looking forward to providing a sense of community by offering a walkable, playable and livable Downtown. Finally, we are thinking ahead. Conservative projections estimate the town will grow to at least 85,000 people over the next 8-10 years, with all the inherent adjustments such a population surge implies.

 

To learn more, visit: https://www.huntersville.org/

 

Charlotte begins reopening process, Altanta ramps up COVID-19 testing

Charlotte begins reopening process, Altanta ramps up COVID-19 testing

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read May 2020—Southeast metro areas like Charlotte and Atlanta have been a popular destination for families, businesses and large corporations looking for affordability, dynamic business fundamentals and a high quality of life. In the landscape of the coronavirus, much of the national attention was placed on the Southeast in late April as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp led the nation in the reopening timeline, terms and guidelines. Following Georgia’s example, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday the loosening of his stay-at-home and transition into phase one of his economic recovery plans effective Friday, May 8. 

 

“COVID-19 is still a serious threat to our state, and Phase 1 is designed to be a limited easing of restrictions that can boost parts of our economy while keeping important safety rules in place,” Gov. Cooper said in a press release. As of May 5, Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located, reported more than 1,700 residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 52 deaths due to COVID-19, according to Mecklenburg County Public Health. “This is a careful and deliberate first step, guided by the data, and North Carolinians still must use caution while this virus is circulating,” Cooper said

Gov. Cooper’s orders remove the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses. Retail businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity and must follow strict health guidelines and best practices, such as social distancing, perform frequent cleanings, provide hand sanitizer when available, and screen workers for symptoms. The order also allows people to leave their homes for commercial activity at any business that is open, bringing potential economic activity to small businesses that were shuttered during March and April. “We must continue to protect our families and neighbors as we take this cautious step forward,” Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen said. “When you leave your home, follow the three W’s: Wear a face covering, wash your hands, and wait six feet apart.”  

Days into phasing the reopening of the Georgia economy, health, university, local and state officials are ramping up COVID-19 testing in the Peach State. On April 30, the state reported conducting over 20,000 tests, a single-day record for COVID-19 testing, according to the governor’s office. “Thanks to Georgia’s partnership with our university system, the private sector, and local public health officials, we ended April by setting a single-day testing record, reporting over 20,000 tests on April 30 alone,” Gov. Kemp said. “This is great progress for our state, but we refuse to rest on our laurels. In the days ahead, we will continue to increase access to coronavirus testing across Georgia.”

In March, the state of Georgia announced partnerships with the University System of Georgia, Georgia Public Health Laboratory and Emory University to process over 3,000 samples a day.  Since that time, Georgia, a state with large rural areas, has partnered with companies like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and eTrueNorth to launch drive-thru testing sites throughout metro Atlanta and deploy mobile testing units to areas with limited access, according to the governor’s office. “We have the capacity, we have the bandwidth, and now we need the patients,” Kemp said. He encourages residents who are experiencing symptoms as well as asymptomatic medical and frontline workers to schedule a COVID-19 screening and visit one of the state’s more than 50 active testing sites if necessary. “We will continue to work diligently to innovate and increase testing in Georgia, and together, we will win this fight,” Kemp said.

 

To learn more, visit:

https://governor.nc.gov/news/governor-cooper-announces-modified-stay-home-order-and-transition-phase-1-easing-restrictions

https://www.mecknc.gov/news/Pages/Mecklenburg-County-COVID-19-Data-for-May-3.aspx

https://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2020-05-01/georgia-sees-banner-week-covid-19-testing

 

 

Immigrants have another worry on top of COVID-19

Immigrants have another worry on top of COVID-19

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020As the COVID-19 virus spreads from state to state, one demographic is experiencing a double layer of fear. Immigrants in the country not only worry about contracting the virus, they must also contend with the public charge rule. In February, as the coronavirus crept its way to North America, policy changes to the public charge rule made it easier for the U.S. government to deny Green Cards on a range of factors related to public benefits. 

Public charge is a term used to describe an individual seeking legal immigrant status who cannot support himself or herself through employment, assets, or family members, and instead depends on government benefits and assistance programs. While the public charge rule has always been part of immigration mandates to obtain a Green Card, it used to be based on past receipt of benefits. However, this February, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the Trump administration, the law will look at the future need of further benefits to determine the status of illegal immigrants in the country. The changes to public charge allow immigrant caseworkers to deem a person a public charge if they believe they are likely to need government assistance in the future.

“There are numerous immigration policy changes taking place across the nation. The most recent is in regard to public charge, in that anyone who applies for a residency or Green Card is going to have to prove that they are not likely to be a public charge to the United States,” Brown Immigrant Law Partner Erin Brown told Invest: Orlando.“That requires an in-depth inquiry into the person’s financial background and opportunity to earn.”  Immigration caseworkers will look at factors such as age, income, and English proficiency, among others to determine if immigrants are likely to use public benefits. 

The impact of the coronavirus has already laid off millions of U.S residents across sectors, many of whom will likely apply to different unemployment and government assistance programs. For immigrants without legal status, the changes to the public charge rule will breed further uncertainty. However,  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services encourages all those, including aliens, with symptoms that resemble COVID-19 to seek necessary medical treatment or preventive services. Such treatment or preventive services will not negatively affect any alien as part of a future public charge analysis, the agency wrote on its website. 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.brownimmigrationfl.com/

https://www.uscis.gov/news/fact-sheets/public-charge-fact-sheet

Taking the lead: Atrium Health mobilizes to combat COVID-19

Taking the lead: Atrium Health mobilizes to combat COVID-19

By: Felipe Rivas

Executive Vice President and Chief Physician Executive Scott Rissmiller details Atrium Health’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak

Charlotte, often described as the crown jewel for economic activity in North Carolina, has been greatly impacted by COVID-19. Located in Mecklenburg County, the city known for its bustling business district and active nightlife, has embraced the various shelter-in-place measures ordered by state and local governments. Atrium Health, the county’s largest employer, is a not-for-profit that operates hospitals, free-standing emergency departments and urgent care centers. The health system has taken the lead in handling the impact of the coronavirus by anticipating the impact of the pandemic and making the needed adjustments to treat the residents of Mecklenburg County and beyond. Executive Vice President and Chief Physician Executive Scott Rissmiller details Atrium Health’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, including its innovative use of “virtual hospitals.”

What accommodations is Atrium Health making to handle the influx of patients due to the COVID-19 outbreak? 

While these are unprecedented times, we have had pandemics before and we prepare for them continuously. When we first saw that COVID-19 would become an issue in the United States, we immediately began mobilizing our teams to get us ready with extra supplies, develop alternate staffing plans and make accommodations for needed space. 

One of the more innovative ways we’re doing that is the Atrium Health COVID-19 Virtual Hospital. Patients whose condition allows for it can be given some mobile monitoring equipment, which allows them to remain in the comfort of their own home. We can still keep tabs on all of their vitals and have frequent touch points with them, just as we would if they were in the hospital itself. This goes a long way toward preventing additional spread, conserving personal protective equipment and freeing up additional bed space. 

We stopped doing non-essential surgeries a few weeks ago, which has also enabled us to reallocate staffing and free up additional space. All in all, we’ve identified ways to expand our patient capacity by roughly 50 percent, as we anticipate a surge of patients in April and May, which is why the stay at home directives are so important for people to observe. 

How can the community best assist the local healthcare providers in this time of need?

At Atrium Health, we have received such an outpouring of support during this pandemic. People are lining up to help make masks; they’re developing new innovations to solve problems, like using 3D printers to create face shields or repurposing a brewery to make hand sanitizer. It’s truly inspiring. We need more blood donations. Food donations are appreciated. There are many ideas about how people can be part of the community-wide effort to combat COVID-19 on our website.

Probably the biggest thing that every man, woman and child can do for us is to stay home; follow the stay at home directives. What we don’t want to see is the hospital systems in our area becoming overwhelmed with patients. The “flatten the curve” principles are absolutely what’s needed to keep the numbers of patients more manageable. This also gives us more time to see if there are medicines or vaccines that are found to be effective, and it’s possible that summertime weather may also be able to help slow down the spread. We don’t know that yet, but we believe it’s in everyone’s best interests to limit the spread now to give us the best chance to get things back under control and return to whatever normal may look like going forward. 

What would your message be to the local community that is sheltering in place and waiting for a return to normalcy?

First and foremost – do it. Please. The shelter in place has to apply to everyone for it to work. You may not get sick, or maybe get a mild case, but the person you infect may not be so lucky. That’s true even if you’ve touched something and then open the door at the grocery store. The grandmother who comes in right after you may pick up the virus from what you last touched. This virus spreads very easily, so avoid going out in public unless it’s absolutely necessary and, as simplistic as it sounds, wash your hands often. It works. 

Finally, if you are in medical distress, call 9-1-1. But if you are feeling ill, try a virtual visit before going to the hospital. It avoids you spreading what you have and helps prevent you from catching something else. If you have any type of respiratory illness and need to be seen in person at a clinic, urgent care or the emergency room, please call ahead so the healthcare workers can be ready to best assist you and limit your exposure to others.