Charlotte Booms Amid Bust

City is second-largest financial center in US, with $2 trillion in assets
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Sep 28, 2008 6:15 PM CDT
Panther Statue at Carolina Panthers stadium entrance in Charlotte, NC.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – As the rest of the nation struggles through the mortgage bust, Charlotte, NC, is experiencing a boom, Time reports. The pro-business Southern city—home of Bank of America and eight other Fortune 500 firms—manages $2 trillion in assets, making it the second-largest financial center in the US behind New York. Though Charlotte isn’t as sexy a metropolis as Manhattan, the city is quickly shedding its image as a sleepy backwater town.

In recent years, Charlotte has enjoyed the nation’s lowest office-vacancy rates, healthiest urban housing market, and fastest-growing airport. Its climate and quality of life are luring a new generation of workers. And businesses not only bankroll growth, building everything from a NASCAR Hall of Fame to an African-American cultural center, but also help write civic policy. "We don't mind when the competition thinks we're Mayberry," the mayor says. "We're happy to be America's best-kept secret."