CHARLOTTE-As Uptown becomes more residential and office space more scarce, property owners are raising rents and closing doors. Ron Goodwin’s Southern Renaissance Restaurant on North Tryon Street is a recent victim. Goodwin has been at Renaissance Place for nine years. Now the owners are trying to sell the land for a major development and Goodwin’t can’t negotiate a long-term lease. His current lease expires Dec. 31.

Goodwin said about 60% of his business consists of Bank of America employees who work in the Odell Building. His restaurant is between the building at Ninth and Tryon Streets and the Tryon Center for Visual Art.

In Charlotte as in other dense urban areas undergoing revitalization activity, large chains with unlimited funds are moving into the market and driving out the independent operators such as Goodwin.

Goodwin’s soon-to-be shuttered restaurant is not the only news along North Tryon Street. Renaissance Place, a 118,000-sf complex of apartments and offices at 631 North Tryon is on a 2.2-acre site, a portion of 17 acres of government-owned land. The city and county are going over proposals from four developers, one of which could be chosen to create an urban village. If the redevelopment occurs, anything nearby would quickly become more valuable.

According to Rob Walsh, president of Charlotte Center City Partners, the owners of Renaissance Place are already looking for buyers for the land. David Kossove manages the investment group that bought Renaissance Place in 1996 for $3 million. He has stated in published reports that the investors expected to reap a profit later on by buying into an area that was on the upswing.

Faison Kuester Jr. and his father, Faison Kuester Sr., bought Renaissance Place, the former Manger Inn, in 1989 when the North Tryon area was trying to shed its image as a blighted, crime-ridden neighborhood. The father and son converted the now 40-year-old hotel to 155 one-bedroom, studio and efficiency apartments and 38 assisted-care units before selling it to Kossove’s investor group.

Goodwin is currently negotiating to take over the old International House of Pancakes off Freedom Drive near Interstate 85, but even if that deal goes through, it will take a couple of months before he can reopen, he says.

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