One Trophy, Two Great Cities

February 12, 2016 Marco Rivera

(Below is a follow-up to our contributed article on Inman.com entitled 2016 Super Bowl Meets Real Estate Investing)

As the post-Super Bowl rituals unfold, one town, Denver, gets a victory parade, and speeches from the Mayor, the Governor, and the person most likely to retire-on-a-high-note this week, Peyton Manning.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, there may be no victory parade, but as local news reports stated, “fans cheered the team at the airport, and a large crowd of supporters gathered at Bank of America Stadium to cheer the team a day after it played in Super Bowl 50.”

People in both cities, have much to be proud of, since both are vital places in which to live, work, and celebrate. They have their own set of “intangibles,” that makes each place such a vibrant center of real estate investment right now -- with the emphasis on “real.”

Charlotte is the older city, strictly speaking, going back to Colonial times, with a pivotal role in the Revolutionary war. But as personified by its “newer” team (the Panthers were a 90’s era NFL expansion franchise) and its younger, dynamic quarterback, Cam Newton, Charlotte also has a lively and dynamic future ahead of it.

As the Latin Post website points out, not only is the city now the 16th largest in the country, but it also “has a diverse palate when it comes to businesses,” including the banking and energy hubs currently fueling its economy. “Likewise, the city has a diverse population. Hispanics and African Americans cumulatively surpassed the number of non-Hispanic whites… years ago.”

So as a product of both coastal and Southeastern cultural influences, it’s no wonder that even though Charlotte doesn’t have a Super Bowl victory parade this week, they are undertaking their fifth annual Mardi Gras parade, a more recent tradition launched in uptown’s “Epicentre,” the remade city center near where the city’s NBA Hornets play.

And it’s a lively cultural mix, a dynamic, that Patch of Land is happy to be part of with two recent projects in the area: An investment property in Wilmington, and a commercial refinance in Charlotte.

Denver is, strictly speaking, “younger” than Charlotte, but is old in “Western” terms, having started life as a mining town in the 1850’s -- around the same time that Super Bowl host city San Francisco was beginning to take off with the gold rush -- and coming into its own with a railroad line in the 1870’s.

Or as TripAdvisor says about the city’s trajectory from then ‘til now: “Once a cow town, Denver has become an increasingly sophisticated city…. filled with many different cultures...The population of Denver and its surrounding metro area is approximately three million people, and the number of people living here has grown significantly. In fact, more than one million of the current Denver-area residents moved here within the past 20 years.”

“The most popular ethnicities of people who live in the Denver area are Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American. Due to the fact that all of these people have diverse cultural backgrounds, Denver is an area that sees people celebrate and experience many different religions, festivals, celebrations, and ways of life.”

In addition to that widespread diversity, Denver also boasts its world class Performing Arts Complex -- the largest such complex under a single roof in the whole country -- and a generally exploding arts scene. The city’s ABC affiliate says that while the Mile High City’s fine art offerings “are modest compared with the major art meccas on both coasts,” they quote one local gallery owner “who came to Denver five years ago after living in New York, Toronto and Atlanta, (and) says he never has seen a scene take off quite like here. ‘In Atlanta, you'd never get 5,000 people out unless it's a football game.”

“The City has begun to transform,” the article continues, “in the midst of a decade-long comeback, fueled in part by the emergence of the now-vibrant LoDo entertainment district. The roots of Denver's cultural emergence go back as far as 1988, when voters in the city and surrounding counties passed a 0.1% sales tax to fund cultural organizations, something that is rare in major cities.”

Part of that comeback is encapsulated in the downtown Barnum neighborhood -- named for circus magnate P.T. Barnum, no less -- which Redfin has declared the city’s “hottest” in 2016, according to the Denver Business Journal: Why Barnum? “With amazing views of the city from Barnum Park and plenty of restaurant options along Federal Boulevard, this neighborhood offers a lot for people looking to buy a 1950s-era single-family home close to downtown.”

It’s a turnaround for a neighborhood where Denver’s Westword magazine recently described the aforementioned Federal Boulevard as “Barnum's ramshackle, second-world-looking eastern border. There you'll find an assortment of grimy liquor stores and used-tire merchants, plus my favorite weird business combo in town, the Quick Stop Food Mart and Bail Bonds.”

That overview of the neighborhood -- before becoming one of the “hottest” in the west -- concludes by saying “its charm is its lack of pretension. And I like that...I wouldn't trade it for a million handmade organic soap shops, not no way, not no how.”

Patch of Land is investing in the Mile High City too, with over a half-dozen recent projects, including a fully funded residential near that “hot” downtown, flips, buy and holds, and several rental properties.

The markets are heating up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay smart and cool when investing in them. Or as Lombardi-trophy hoisting Peyton Manning -- who, at 39, is the oldest quarterback to have won a Super Bowl -- once famously remarked, “pressure is something you feel when you don't know what the hell you're doing.”

Neither Denver, nor Charlotte, seem to be places feeling too much “pressure” lately -- the innovation, renovation, and liveliness of each metropolis shows they know exactly what they’re doing. Not just on the field, but for many miles around it.

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