Posted by Deborah Rodrigues in Charlotte, Home Building Industry

​A couple generations ago, some Charlotte old-timers would take Sunday drives out to the University area. It felt so far away back then. If only they could see it now!

​University City has an energy they never imagined, making it one of the hottest markets in Charlotte. Named for its best-known landmark, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University City attracts newcomers for its job opportunities, lakefront, cultural diversity, entertainment scene, and much more.

​We caught up with Darlene Heater, former Executive Director of University City Partners and expert in all things UCity, for her take on the top 8 reasons why people are moving to University City.

1. A Major University Is in Your Neighborhood

UNC Charlotte, as local folks call it, sets the tone for a vibrant community with students from more than 100 countries. Whether you like concerts and theater, art exhibits, lectures, or sports, UNC Charlotte will give you plenty to see, do, think about, and cheer for. (Go 49ers football and basketball!)

UNCC Grads
UNCC Grads, Photo Courtesy of Virtual Scan

2. You Can Work Close to Home

​Doesn’t a 10-minute morning commute sound great? University City is Charlotte’s second largest employment center, including more than 20 regional offices for Fortune 500 companies, University Executive Park, University Research Park, and Innovation Park.

​“We’re seeing remarkable growth in employment,” Heater says. “In the past 10 years, we’ve probably added 10,000 jobs, if not more.”

3. The Landmark Is the Lakefront

​You and your kids can use a little footwork to power your own paddle boats on the lake at the Shoppes at University Place.

​“The lakefront has always been a big attraction,” Heater says, for its scenic setting with boardwalk, restaurants, and stores. Up the road via I-77, waterskiing, fishing, boating, and more are yours on Lake Norman.

Shoppes Lake
Shoppes Lake, Photo Courtesy of University City Partners

4. There Are Miles of Greenways to Walk, Run, and Bike

​The Barton Creek Greenway, opening in Spring 2020, will connect to about 15 miles of greenways for your strolling and biking pleasure.

​“You can ride or walk all day in nature,” Heater says. “It’s quite an amazing amenity that some don’t realize we have in University City.”

​A new linear park and public plaza are also coming near the Shoppes at University Place for special programs and events. Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve is a favorite for its forests, streams, and wildlife.

Greenway, Photo Courtesy of University City Partners

5. There’s No Shortage of Culinary Variety

University City has always been a destination for cuisine from many countries, reflecting the diverse population here. Other local restauranteurs are discovering the area, too, including barbecue, of course. We’ll let you and your family hash out whether the pulled pork is better than the beef brisket.

6. Entertainment Abounds

​Join thousands of Charlotteans for a big-name concert at PNC Music Pavilion or a NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Community festivals and annual events include the free Kids Fest, when kids flock to UNC Charlotte for shows, creative experiences, and lots of ways to play. There’s always something going on at Armored Cow Brewing, from yoga to trivia nights. And Topgolf is opening this year, anchoring a new entertainment district designed to appeal to families.

Photo Courtesy of PNC

7. The Light Rail Connects You to All the Attractions of Uptown Charlotte

​Hop on the LYNX Blue Line light rail line at one of four University City stops and head to Uptown Charlotte for everything from art museums and Broadway shows to Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets games. The light rail comes to and from University City more than 100 times a day and has “really increased the energy” in the area, Heater says. “People see how simple it is to get to where you want to go.”

8. When You Need it, Healthcare Is Close By

​Everything you might need to keep yourself and your family well is right there in University City. Atrium University Hospital is a long-time part of the community.


​If all of these aren’t enough, even more enhancements are coming to the area. A network of greenways called the Cross Charlotte Trail runs through University City. Over the next five years, the City of Charlotte plans to connect the University City segment with the other parts of the Trail, which will ultimately stretch 31 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway past Pineville into South Carolina. When it’s complete, it will be another extraordinary asset for a region that more and more people are choosing to call their own.

​If you are looking for a new home for sale in University City, the community is affordable, too. With M/I Homes, opportunities to own a new 5-bedroom home start in just the mid $200s. Find out which M/I Homes community could be perfect for your family to call home in the University City area today!

Photos courtesy of University City Partners, UNC Charlotte, Fox Sports One, Virtual Scan, and PNC


Deborah Rodrigues
Deborah Rodrigues

Internet Sales Manager

Deborah started at M/I Homes in January 2021. Before her role as an Internet Sales Manager, she assisted home buyers in the Charlotte Metro area as a Sales Associate and the Land Department as a Market Analyst. Originally from Brazil, Deborah moved to the United States with her family when she was nine. She is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. She is married and has two adorable huskies, Loki and Bella. She is very passionate about dogs and hopes to one day be able to start a non-profit for rescues. In her free time, Deborah enjoys spending time with family watching movies or out in the Queen City exploring the many new restaurants. Her favorite part about new home construction is the excitement that comes with new beginnings for buyers. She believes communication is key and is highly motivated about providing her customers with the best experience possible. Reach out today.

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