A Leading Headquarters City

Charlotte Chamber Download

charlotte skylineCHARLOTTE'S MOST SURPRISING characteristic is that this little Southern city is home to some of the largest corporations in the world.

Our seven Fortune 500 headquarters tied us for ninth in a recent national ranking. That list didn’t include corporate giants Lowe’s, which operates just outside our county boundaries. Nor did it count privately held Compass Group North America, National Gypsum Company, Electrolux, Husqvarna or Belk Inc., each with annual revenues in excess of $2 billion. In fact, Charlotte is home to 25 companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales.

With so many companies based or doing business here, some might say that Charlotte’s business is business. We have such a pro-business environment that more than 273 of Fortune’s top 500 companies have placed one or more facilities within Mecklenburg County. The Queen City is one of the most business-focused cities in the country.

Yet don’t let the big numbers fool you. Charlotte offers a nurturing climate for regional, national and international companies of all sizes. Our high quality of life, reasonable cost of living, world-class arts and major league sports, as well as educational and advancement opportunities, attract talented individuals from around the globe. Often, workers enjoy life here so much that they pass up following a promotion to another city.

Charlotte is best known for our banking powerhouse, Bank of America, which helped grow this once-sleepy town into a sit-up-and-take-notice metro area. Yet our largest industry segment is wholesale trade, followed by services, manufacturing and construction. Businesses here support anything a company needs to relocate to or operate in Charlotte.

Charlotte's Fortune 500 Headquarters
2010 Revenue
  Bank of America (banking)
$150.5 (bil.)
  Lowe's (retail)
$47.2 (bil.)
  Duke Energy (utilities)
$12.7 (bil.)
  Nucor (metals)
$11.7 (bil.)
  Family Dollar (retail)
$7.4 (bil.)
  Sonic Automotive (automotive retailing)
$6.3 (bil.)
  SPX (electronics)
$4.9 (bil.)

Pro-business Environment
A steady influx of new residents moving to Charlotte each year keeps the city’s business and social structure fresh and vibrant. The Queen City welcomes — and even encourages — new leaders to help shape and build its future. This is an easy city for making fresh starts and leaving a mark on a company or on the community.

Our business community is actively engaged in setting public policy. Many of Charlotte’s top leaders, including our current mayor, come directly from the corporate sector.

Charlotte has a long-standing tradition of public-private cooperation. City leaders work closely with the private sector when planning development and carrying out large projects for the good of Charlotte. Working together, public and private leaders in recent years transformed the downtown streetscape from a business-centric center that appeared dead after dusk into a vibrant 24/7 metropolis bustling with residents, restaurants, retail and entertainment. It took public and private efforts to build our downtown basketball arena, Time Warner Cable Arena, and bring back NBA basketball.

We take pride in our city. Our streets are clean, well paved and landscaped. Buildings, particularly office and new industrial parks, reflect high architectural standards. We plan for and incorporate public spaces that enhance quality of life and give harried workers places to pause.
North Carolina is a right-to-work and employment-at-will state. At 3.1 percent, North Carolina’s rate of unionization continues to be among the lowest of the 50 states.

Great Air Access And Excellent Roads
Charlotte is a huge transportation and distribution center. At its heart, Charlotte Douglas International (CLT) Airport, home to US Airways’ largest hub, offers non-stop service to 170 different cities, including Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Toronto, the Caribbean and several Mexican cities. The airport is less than 25 minutes away from most Charlotte business parks.

Just as the airport draws regional offices of multinational corporations, our interstate system attracts manufacturing and distribution. Interstate 77 passes through Charlotte on its route north and south. Interstate 85 leaves Charlotte toward Atlanta to the south and Washington, D.C. to the north.

NASCAR, motorsports, nascar team, automotive, racetrack, race, stock car racing, stock car, car, shopResearch and Development Center
Higher education is key to any city’s — and company’s — future growth and current strength. Within the Charlotte Region, 17 public and private institutions offer baccalaureate degrees. Ten schools offer graduate degrees, including master’s and doctoral programs, in a variety of disciplines and with flexibility to meet the hectic schedules of today’s employees. Charlotte is home to the state’s largest community college, and the Charlotte campus of The University of North Carolina.

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. A doctoral institution, UNC Charlotte serves the region through applied research, knowledge transfer and engaged community service. Approximately 25,000 students, including over 5,300 graduate students, are enrolled in the University’s comprehensive doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s programs.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Research Institute (CRI) has grown to become one of the top research centers in the region. CRI is the portal for business-university partnerships at UNC Charlotte.

Regionally, CRI works with the community and the campus to accelerate technology commercialization and the growth of entrepreneurial ventures. Globally, CRI develops intellectual capital through collaborations with industry, government and academia. New business and research ventures, university partnerships with regional and national enterprises, and CRI spin-off companies all draw research and businesses to the region and spur economic growth.

Science and engineering ventures at CRI are driven by the internationally known results of its research centers in Precision Metrology, Visualization, and Optoelectronics. CRI’s research vision continues to grow with initiatives in bioinformatics, biomedical engineering systems, energy production and infrastructure, information security, motorsports and automotive engineering, sustainability, nanoscale science, and translational research. With facilities on the Charlotte Research Institute Campus and at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, CRI helps companies initiate new R&D partnerships at UNC Charlotte and offers a variety of opportunities to engage talented faculty and make use of specialized resources available at UNC Charlotte.

Dynamic International Community
traditional Indian dance, culture, dance, art, arts, dancing, tradition, India, CharlotteCulturally diverse businesses and social organizations enrich Charlotte and in recent years have become integral threads in our community fabric. Growing Hispanic and Asian enterprises blend with Charlotte’s long-time community of African American businesses small and large.

More than 888 foreign-owned firms, representing 39 countries, operate in the metro area, which includes Charlotte-Mecklenburg and 16 surrounding counties. A large number of major manufacturers and service providers here have overseas operations, joint ventures and/or export sales.

The Charlotte International Cabinet serves as a forum for international issues and interests. The cabinet offers citizens access to local government officials and works with local international organizations to promote public awareness of Charlotte’s ethnic diversity and international connections.

Five public immersion schools instruct students exclusively in French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. Collectively, area residents speak 600 languages.

Quality of Life for Everyone
Whether large or small, homegrown or multinational, Charlotte is a city for every company. We live for business and make business easy to do.

People like living in Charlotte, and relocating companies successfully recruit highly talented individuals from all regions of the U.S. and abroad to Charlotte. If you’re considering a move, give Charlotte a look. Come join the other companies who moved to Charlotte, put down roots and thrived.

Charlotte’s Expanding Office Market
Charlotte’s office market has blossomed in recent years to accommodate companies looking for a pro-business city on key transportation routes that has cultural amenities, high quality of life and an attractive climate and is also affordable for employees throughout the company.

Trends in Office Space Charlotte-Mecklenburg   Charlotte Market Summary
Date Rentable Million Sq. Ft.   Type:   Rentable Million Sq. Ft.
2011 42.4   Multi-tenant  
2010 42.4    Class A 27.2
2009 40.2    Class B 15.0
2008 39.4    Class C 5.1
2007 37.8      
2006 37.2   Total:   47.3
Source: Lincoln Harris, 2011        

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