NODA – The NEW hippest area in Charlotte

BY STEVE BOUBOULIS
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NoDa (short for “North Davidson”), which area surrounds North Davidson and 36th streets, is the NEW hippest area in Charlotte, approximately two miles north of the Charlotte city limits.  This area shares the same geography as Historic North Charlotte which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The North Charlotte neighborhood was developed back in 1903 by a group of well to do textile leaders who envisioned an autonomous industrial district.  The village consisted of Highland Park Mill No. 3 (the first constructed mill), the Mecklenburg Mill (north of 36th Street), a hotel (3020 North Alexander Street), the Hand Pharmacy drug store, a doctor’s office, the Bank of North Carolina, a few grocery stores and housing for the mill workers and their families.

In 1953 and after the depression, the mills were sold and the decline of the NoDa neighborhood started.  Jobs were lost, houses were sold and the neighborhood atmosphere changed. To make matters worse, Matheson Avenue, a four lane road, was built which required the demolition of several homes, and lead to the segregation of neighborhood streets and significantly increased the amount of traffic.

But, in 1974, after many houses were vacant and dilapidated in the area, the Housing and Community Development Act (HCDA) of 1974 was enacted, which was to revitalize the NoDa area.  Despite the HCDA, the area was still in need of improvements and was still declining.

It wasn’t until the 1990s were NoDa started to truly revitalize.  Artists started coming to the neighbor and setting up art galleries and studios.  Two artists, Paul Sires and Ruth Ava Lyons, bought and renovated the Lowder Building and renovated it and several other buildings.  They created the first artist establishment known as “Center of the Earth Gallery”, an award winning gallery. For their efforts, they received the Governor’s Award for Businesses in the Arts and the Historic Charlotte Preservation Award.

NoDa quickly became a booming arts district; the former mill village was transforming, and people were taking notice.  New residents were now flocking to the area. People were spending money on renovating and improving the old buildings and expanding the area.  

The historic Hand Pharmacy building was renovated and now houses the infamous Cabo Fish Taco restaurant.  There are several outstanding eateries, coffee shops, swanky art galleries, bars, music venues and so much more.  And, there are several events that are going on at any given time - Softball is played on Monday nights at the North Charlotte Park and movies are played the first Wednesday of the month.

And, if you have time to shop?  There are plenty of art galleries from which to buy that unique and one-of-a-kind piece of artwork.

NoDa, the once branded city’s arts district, how now reclaimed its title.  It is not only one of the most fabulous arts district in Charlotte, but it is also one of the hippest areas in Charlotte.

To see more of what is in store for NoDa, visit: NoDa Vision Plan 2030