Steele Creek’s growth and location attracts businesses and residents

Businesses that would not have considered the Steele Creek area 15 years ago now find the area appealing with new Class A office space, destination retail, and a robust industrial sector. 

Companies choosing the area include, German engineering giant Siemens relocated to Steele Creek in 2011 and opened a facility on Westinghouse Boulevard. It now employs 1,650 people making large gas turbines. 

Other industry leaders have chosen the area to do business, too. Technology giant Microsoft employs 1,000 in sales, service and technical support at its campus in the ArrowPoint Office Park. Spectrum, a division of Charter Communications, has a facility on West Arrowood Road housing nearly 3,000 employees. Best Buy has opened a 40,000-square-foot home delivery warehouse in Steele Creek Commerce Park. And one of the world’s largest manufacturer of windows and doors, JELD WEN, moved its global headquarters to The Town of Ayrsley in February 2018.

Technology and economic diversity are not the only reasons businesses are choosing Steele Creek. The proximity to a talented work force is also a driving factor. Amazon, for example, is in the planning stages of a $200 million distribution center near Charlotte Douglas International Airport. In choosing Charlotte, Amazon cited, among other factors, Olympic High School in Steele Creek as a source of talent for their future. 

"Businesses in Steele Creek find the location allows them to attract the workforce they need," says William Hodges, vice president and broker-in-charge of New Forum, which developed The Town of Ayrsley, a mixed-use walkable community in southwest Charlotte. “Steele Creek allows companies to pull from employees all over the region given its direct proximity to I-77 and I-85, all while sitting on the closest segment of I-485 to uptown Charlotte.”

Another element that makes southwest Charlotte a popular draw is the variety of unique activities and entertainment options. Southwest Charlotte is home to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, Top Golf and the 400-acre Carowinds amusement park, now in its 45th year. It is also home to outlet shopping at Charlotte Premium Outlets, outdoor recreation on Lake Wylie and The Billy Graham Library and museum. 

 “I can’t think of an area of town where you have as much fun stuff to do,” says Bryan Crossan, general manager of Harry’s Grille & Tavern and co-owner of The Corner Bar, both in Town of Ayrsley. “There are a lot of people traveling in this area because of its access to the airport and the businesses here.”

These attractions have helped make the Steele Creek ZIP code one of the fastest growing ZIP codes in the United States. Realtor.com named 28273 – which straddles I-485 and encompasses land between I-77 and Highway 160 – the 30th hottest ZIP code in the nation for homebuyers and sellers in 2017. The Steele Creek ZIP code was the only Charlotte-area ZIP code to make the 2017 list. 

Corporate campuses, destination retail and a growing residential base has fueled Steele Creek’s hospitality sector. Four hotels in Ayrsley host business and recreational travelers and restaurants serve demand that once had to travel to uptown or South Charlotte for fine dining. 

But southwest Charlotte still provides that feeling of a smaller community. “We have a small town feel right next door to the city,” says Chaz Beasley, a Steele Creek resident for five years and state representative for the area in the North Carolina General Assembly. “In a lot of ways, it feels like an oasis.”

Beasley says Steele Creek fit his ideal of a more rural setting with a quick commute when he moved to the area five years ago. The rural nature reminded him of growing up in Catawba County, and the cost of living was affordable for a new college graduate. Three years ago he stopped renting and bought a house in Steele Creek.

“My commute is shorter than my friends’ commute that live in university or some parts of South Charlotte,” Beasley says. “I wanted to be in a place that had the best of both worlds. I believe we have the best balance of what Mecklenburg County has to offer.”

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Written by New Forum, the Charlotte Business Journal. Article available at https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2018/08/24/steele-creek-s-growth-and-location-attracts.html