Empty arena space to be used during DNC

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -Growth is on the upswing at the No Grease Barber Shop, despite having to survive in a sluggish economy.

It is located right on the ground level of Time Warner Cable Arena, and with so many eyes set on Center City in less than six months from now during the Democratic National Convention, owner Damian Johnson wonders about the appearance of his neighbors.

He said, "Even though we're excited about the DNC coming to town, we still have some questions about what's gonna happen with the stores next door to us ?"

It is a valid question because so many store fronts are empty, and the previous owners Dunkin Donuts and Bellacino's Pizza left a few things behind.

Jeb Blackwell is with the City of Charlotte's Engineering Department which has responsible for leasing the arena's storefront space.

"We would like to have some folks in it," Blackwell said. "We've had a lot of interest in it before and we'll have a lot of interest in it again."

He admitted with the political convention coming to town the Democratic Party will take over the space by summer and return storefront to the city when the big event is over.

"We look to lease that space to create an activated store front to generate jobs and revenue for the city."

That's  what they want back at the barbershop.

"It would be a great synergy, if all the stores were filled here," he said." It's a better feeling for each one of us. We feed off of each other. We're looking forward to having some neighbors real soon," Johnson said.

The DNC is expected to take over the vacant space in mid June and return it to the City of Charlotte by the end of September.

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