Charlotte has become a major U.S. financial center and is now the second largest banking center in the United States (after New York). The nation’s second largest financial institution by assets, Bank of America, calls the city home. The city was also the former corporate home of Wachovia until its 2008 acquisition by Wells Fargo in San Francisco CA; Wells Fargo integrated legacy Wachovia, with the two banks fully merged at the end of 2011, which included transitioning all of the Wachovia branches in the Carolinas to Wells Fargo branches by October 2011. Since then, Charlotte became the regional headquarters for East Coast Operations of Wells Fargo, which is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Charlotte also serves as the headquarters for Wells Fargo’s capital markets activities including sales and trading, equity research, and investment banking. Bank of America’s headquarters, along with other regional banking and financial services companies, are located primarily in the Uptown central business district.
Charlotte has eight Fortune 500 companies in its metropolitan area, listed in order of their rank: Bank of America, Lowe’s in suburban Mooresville, Nucor (steel producer), Duke Energy, Sonic Automotive, Family Dollar, SPX Corporation (industrial technology), and Domtar (in suburban Fort Mill). The Charlotte area includes a very diverse range of businesses, including foodstuffs such as Chiquita Brands International, Harris Teeter, Lance, Inc, Carolina Foods Inc, Bojangles’, Food Lion, Compass Group USA, and Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (Charlotte being the nation’s second largest Coca-Cola bottler), motor and transportation companies like RSC Brands, Continental Tire the Americas, LLC., Meineke Car Care Center, Carlisle Companies (along with several other services), and U.S. Airways, along with a wide array of other businesses.
Charlotte is the major center in the U.S. motorsports industry, housing multiple offices of NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord. Approximately 75% of the NASCAR industry’s race teams, employees and drivers are based nearby. The large presence of the racing technology industry along with the newly built NHRA dragstrip, zMAX Dragway at Concord, is influencing other top professional drag racers to move their shops to Charlotte as well. The Metrolina Speedway is expected to bring more local racing along with a skate park, shoppes, restaurants, and an upscale hotel.
Located in the western part of Mecklenburg County is the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which consists of man-made rapids of various degrees and is open to the public year round.
One Wells Fargo Center behind the Latta Arcade in Uptown Charlotte
The Square, Uptown Charlotte
The Charlotte Region has a major base of energy-oriented organizations and has become known as “Charlotte USA – The New Energy Capital”. In the region there are more than 240 companies directly tied to energy sector collectively employing more than 26,400. Since 2007 more than 4,000 energy sector jobs have been announced. Major energy players in Charlotte include AREVA, Babcock and Wilcox, Duke Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, Fluor, Metso Power, Piedmont Natural Gas, Siemens Energy, Shaw Group, Toshiba, URS Corp., and Westinghouse. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a reputation in energy education and research and its Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) trains energy engineers and conducts research.
The area is an increasingly growing trucking and freight transportation hub for the East Coast. The Charlotte Center city has seen remarkable growth over the last decade. Numerous residential units continue to be built uptown, including over 20 skyscrapers under construction, recently completed, or in the planning stage. Many new restaurants, bars and clubs now operate in the Uptown area. Several projects are transforming the Midtown Charlotte/Elizabeth area.
In 2013, Forbes named Charlotte among its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. Charlotte has also been listed as the #20 largest city in the US, and the #60 fastest growing city in the US between 2000-2008.