Ginny Woodard, who grew up in Charlotte’s Third Ward neighborhood in the 1930s, can still remember when Uptown was filled with normal-sized buildings and had less heavy traffic.
Woodard, 88, has witnessed how the once vibrantly- colored neighborhood filled with trees and grass lanes has changed over time.
Many of the homes Woodard remembers from childhood have been demolished to make room for three-story monochrome condos separated by a few feet of concrete, and other modern architecture.
As the president of the committee to preserve and restore the neighborhood, the change has been a new adjustment.
“I like people to have a little bit of space and a little bit of grass,” she said, describing how close the larger homes are to one another.
As Charlotte’s population grows, the popular housing trend has made strides on the market.
The emergence of modern-style homes has attracted a number of buyers in the city. Many of them have become prominent in South End, Uptown and parts of the Historic West End.
Marc Manack, an architect and associate professor at the UNC Charlotte School of Architecture, said these homes aren’t a new fad.
The homes, geometric-shaped with clean line exteriors, originated in the early 20th century, Manack said.
“Modern architecture really started right during the industrial revolution,” he told QCity Metro. “This kind of genre of architecture is nothing new.”
The housing market tends to move in trends over time, Manack said. Charlotte’s housing landscape has joined the modern-home-style wave in recent years due to a rise in population, he said.
He has designed 20 modern homes for families across the country.
Manack joined the trend – he designed his own modern home in 2021 and built it in 2022.
A push for young buyers
Melissa Anderson, owner of The Real Estate Boutique LLC, a real estate agency based in Charlotte, said these style homes are attributed to Charlotte’s increased population.
“Charlotte has become a melting pot,” she said. “A lot of people are relocating here with different style preferences.”
In agreement with Manack, Anderson also said the homes have increased with Charlotte’s growing population. She said many of the homes have a “west-coast” look.
Developers are purchasing cheap property and targeting young buyers – ages 30-50 – looking to live near Uptown Charlotte, Anderson said.
She’s noticed the trend of homes near the Uptown area, she said.
Anderson said the market is unpredictable, but she doesn’t see these types of homes being built across the city.
“I don’t see them taking over Charlotte,” she said.
Adjusting to the market
Red Cedar Homes, a Charlotte-based real estate firm, has multiple townhomes and condo properties across Charlotte.
They launched Residences at Westbrook, one of their first modern-style condo projects, located on Westbrook Drive, in 2021.
Breana Intlerkofer, director of marketing at Red Cedar Homes, said modern homes have been “surprisingly popular” in recent years.
These types of homes do well in big cities like Chicago and New York. Charlotte is one of the latest cities to join the trend, she said.
“People are moving here, they want that same kind of big city vibe, and that’s what developers are building,” she said.
This increase has kickstarted Red Cedar’s efforts to bring more modern homes to the area to keep up with the market.
Intlerkofer said the homes don’t cost any more or less than traditional ones despite their unique design.
“It’s just how you approach the build and the architecture. If you’re gonna build with really quality materials and have a really solid floor plan, no matter what, that’s gonna cost you a little bit more,” she said.
A buyer would pay between $400,000- 500,000 for one of their homes. They often purchase lots and work with developers to personalize their floorplan before it is built.
Red Cedar Homes plans to open a property in Matthew next month.
Accepting the change
In 1980, Bank of America launched the Gateway development off West Trade Street to build homes and condos in Third Ward, she said.
Over the past three decades, more businesses, homes and increased transportation routes have entered the area.
As the housing stock has decreased in recent years, more trendy condos have entered the area, she said.
The area was once predominantly white but has diversified over the last few decades.
She said she believes the new homes will bring a younger demographic to the neighborhood and plans to embrace that change – as long as the neighbor’s history is acknowledged.
“I can’t do anything about it,” she said. “I’ll take whatever happens.”
QCity Metro reached out to over a dozen families. They declined to talk.