Once known as the epicenter of nightlife entertainment in Uptown Charlotte, the Epicentre is facing a it’s third transition in less than 2 years time. In late 2019, after a string of violent events, the management company of the Trade Street property announced that it would transition from the destination for adult revelry to office space, to meet the growing demand for corporate space in Uptown. Charlotte’s Center City has long had a historically low vacancy rate for Class A and lower office space so this seemed like a good decision.
Then Covid hit and Uptown became a ghost town. With corporations sending their employees to work from home for the year, the shift to office space could not come at a worse time. Add to it the growing sentiment of some businesses to re-evaluate their space needs now found the Epicentre management team in a curious spot. The solution: create series of micro apartments inside the former restaurants, night clubs and the parking garage for tenants that are looking for an affordable place to call home.
The first grouping of these micro apartments is being built inside the former Whisky River, formerly a country music venue, restaurant and sports bar. Now, tenants can lease up to 120 sq ft of cozy space in the heart of Uptown. Each unit features room for a full-size murphy bed, a table and chair, one electrical outlet and access to a shared bath and kitchen. “It really helped that the former restaurant left their old cooktops, ovens and freezers. Instead of removing them, we’re allowing each resident to use at their own risk, provided they sign a waiver and complete a training course.”
To keep construction costs down, the former stage and bars remain in place, with micro apartments in the VIP section marketed as “Penthouse” and “Marque” units. Additional amenities that remain is the mechanical bull, which is free for residents to use and that the Touchtunes pay per play jukebox remains so each evening from 5pm-2:00am, residents can take turn selecting tracks to share with their friends. “I was going through a tough breakup with my boyfriend” said one resident “but I found it soothing that I could play “Goodbye My Lover” by James Blunt on repeat over and over until the pain just melted away.”
Once the space in Whisky River is filled out, the management team is ready to lease spaces in the former Studio Movie Grill (the spaces not on a slant will be at a premium), Strike City and Howl at the Moon. “Our goal is that as the weather warms up, we will begin leasing urban camping plots at the former Rooftop 210 location. How amazing would it be to glamp outside in Uptown on the rooftop of the Epicentre”.