Charlotte's Sedgefield neighborhood is once again the next big thing
Less than a decade ago, Charlotte’s South End community was poised to become the next big close-to-Uptown thing.
A new light rail line brought the promise of development. Homebuyers eyed nearby neighborhoods.
“Then,” says Charlotte real estate agent Michael Seaton, “everything stopped.”
Now, with Charlotte’s post-recession economy revving up again, homeowners and others are once again casting their eyes toward neighborhoods like Southend’s Sedgefield. The attention is coming from well beyond Charlotte, too.
National real estate market researcher Redfin named Sedgefield one of the country’s 10 “Neighborhoods That Are Warming Up.” Redfin cited Sedgefield’s affordability, with a median list price is $288,950, and beautiful lots with mature trees.
Seaton doesn't just lists those Sedgefield homes, he also lives in one.
The neighborhood’s appeal, he knows, comes from its proximity to Uptown and the popular Dilworth community.
Mary Beth Fields saw similar benefits when she moved there in 1988. “Sedgefield was a leap of faith for us, because of the poor condition of many properties, mostly rentals," she says. "But we felt that the location was the best and, at the time, the price of a home was so much less expensive than Dilworth. Houses then were considered small for families, but parcels are quite large.”
Sedgefield's lots also are larger than in other neighborhoods a similar distance from Uptown. And, of course, there’s Charlotte’s Blue Line light rail, which connects Uptown to South End and South Charlotte.
"Light rail brought on a lot of new construction," Seaton says. "With all the new retail going up, it's snowballing."
As with many neighborhoods near Charlotte’s Center City, buyers have their eyes as much on Sedgefield’s lots as the 50- to 60-year old houses that stand on them.
Seaton has seen a “good deal” of teardowns — about one per block, he estimates — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “A lot of what’s gone away are not good-looking houses,” he says. “I see it as progress.”
With progress comes challenges, such as more traffic on that short commute to Uptown, and more to come with the addition of nearby apartment complexes. But Seaton and his Sedgefield neighbors don’t mind the 13 percent appreciation in home prices since 2007.
“One very important aspect to ensuring a thriving neighborhood is an extremely dedicated and active Sedgefield Neighborhood Association," says Fields, a former association president. "From the new Sedgefield Park to the annual Sedgefest, traffic calming efforts to advocating with planning and zoning to protect our neighborhood, we have worked tirelessly to promote and improve Sedgefield.”
This time around, with Charlotte on the right side of the recession, he hopes Sedgefield and South End continue to realize the promise of a decade ago. “As long as Charlotte is desirable, this neighborhood will stay popular,” he says.
Right now, both are hot once again.