NoDa straddles light rail and apartment construction - | WBTV Charlotte

NoDa straddles light rail and apartment construction

(Sharon Smith | WBTV) (Sharon Smith | WBTV)

Dust kicks up constantly in the heart of NoDa at the intersection of North Davidson and 36th Streets. It settles on cars and buildings several yards away from where light rail construction is expected to continue into next year.

“There’s dust everywhere on the streets,” said business owner Jason Glunt who operates Salud, a popular deli and bar. “I’m ready for light rail to be done,” he said.

Glunt expects it will be great for the city, and eventually great for the neighborhood but the growing pains have been difficult. Business has been good he said, but he wishes the neighborhood looked better during construction.

Then there’s the apartment boom happening along the light rail line. Developers have filed several rezoning petitions with the City of Charlotte this year requesting large projects that will bring hundreds of new apartments and mixed use to the area.

Glunt has mixed feelings about all the growth. “It’s a wait and see approach. As a business owner, new people are good, but we are NoDa for a reason,” he said. He fears too many buildings that look the same will take away from the neighborhood’s character.  

Upstairs from Salud, Kelly Oyama was shutting down UpStage, a locale that catered to local performers by hosting everything from poetry-slam nights to improve. After 13 years, Oyama says it was time to move on when the building was sold. “There’s a lot of memories, you know,” she said. 

Oyama, too, is worried about NoDa losing pieces of its character. She believes strongly that the main drag needs to offer entertainment venues beyond bars and restaurants. “I think a lot of people are betting are betting on big dollars,” she said about the light rail and all the newcomers it will attract.

There are a lot of homeowners who have invested time and energy into the neighborhood, said Glunt, and it would be nice to see more options for ownership as the area grows. That way, new neighbors will be more inclined to invest too as they put down roots.

He remains optimistic about the future as he waits for the dust to settle.  

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