One of Charlotte’s favorite neighborhoods keeps changing for the better


This post is brought to you in partnership with Savvy + Co. Real Estate. All opinions are our own.

If you’ve spent any time in Charlotte, you know the charm and attraction of NoDa. Short for “North Davidson,” NoDa is filled with hip restaurants, cool places to sip a cocktail, ice cream shops, cool thrift stores, entertainment venues and a vibe that encourages you to stay awhile.

The rise of NoDa

NoDa is a classic Queen City comeback kid. The area first rose to popularity in the early 1900s with the construction of Highland Park Mill No. 3. After enjoying success as a mill town, complete with housing for workers, it went into decline in 1975 after the last mill closed. It would take the care of two young artists — Paul Sires and Ruth Ava Lyons — to breathe new life, and a new identity, into NoDa. With the purchase of the Lowder Building, they continued their quest to renovate and beautify NoDa.

The movement caught fire and NoDa became known as a place for artists, entrepreneurs, musicians and other creative types to get together. With the opening of the now-defunct Fat City Deli, a punk bar/gathering place, NoDa was no longer a place only for those in the know, it was where you sent your friends when they asked where they should go out in Charlotte.

Where people come together

NoDa has always been about creating spaces for people to come together. From Evening Muse to Smelly Cat Cafe, The Dog Bar or Neighborhood Theatre, it’s about going to where the night takes you and making friends along the way.

The opening of light rail in NoDa in March 2018 opened the area up to people from all over the city. Restaurants, breweries, shops and fantastic ways to spend the day for all ages continued to pop up along the rail line.

Today you can find Jeni’s Ice Cream, The Chamber by Wooden Robot, Protagonist, Idlewild and other businesses who are excited to call NoDa home!

Jenni’s Ice Cream

Add to the list the opening of the much anticipated Optimist Hall, the $60 million redevelopment of an old mill on North Brevard Street in nearby Optimist Park, and the big picture neighborhood keeps getting bigger (and hipper).

NoDa’s growth according to the experts

“Since the 2007 opening of the light rail line in South End, we’ve watched incredible growth rapidly transform the landscape of that corridor,” says Lana Laws, Savvy + Co. Real Estate agent.

“The timing seemed to coincide perfectly with the nationwide apartment boom, which fueled construction of hundreds of rental units and, subsequently, attracted businesses responding to the demand created by those residents. We are seeing a similar pattern along the light rail extension through NoDa, but with a twist … timing, location, history, or all of the above are factors that seem to influence a more organic growth in that corridor.”

“Existing local businesses have expanded with new locations in NoDa and new local businesses have cropped up in the wake of the light rail extension. While grocery stores and big business are bound to follow the increase in population, we foresee a more grassroots version of development in what continues to be one of Charlotte’s most multifaceted neighborhoods,” says Lana.

“NoDa is the only neighborhood around the Uptown that has a defined  ‘town center’ where you find great spots. The growth that’s happened in NoDa has been more measured and deliberate than other parts of the city. Most of the new developments in NoDa are the result of the entrepreneurial spirit of people who care deeply about what they do,” says Tim McCollum, Principal of Revolve Residential and developer of Atlas Urban Homes, a new development of 14 single-family homes on the corner of Charles and Whiting Avenues.

“I think the people attracted to the area are invested in the neighborhood are really passionate about maintaining that character. NoDa already has the authenticity that everyone talks about creating and now that the light rail stop is open, it has ease of access to Uptown — that’s a powerful combination,” says Tim.

“NoDa is the neighborhood for people who care about design, who dare to be bold, and want to express themselves,” says Tim. “I want to work somewhere that would value the passion that I put into what I do, and I see NoDa as that place.”

Want to know more about NoDa or Savvy + Co. Real Estate? Click here for more information.


  1. Y’all aren’t going to involve cabo fish tacos in the change of noda? Smh. They started this. Ppl on wait for at least a hour, would wander around looking at other places waiting to get into cabo. Sure, we had differences because of my influence. But they made noda with Amelies French bakery

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  2. Oh no. Pats For One More, the Round Tuit (now Growlers Pourhouse) and some otherplaces actually started/revived NoDa

  3. Where are the art galleries that began the whole renaissance of what is now called “NoDa”? The places that I remember from about 1999 forward (Pat’s Time for One More Tavern, Blue Pony Gallery, Center of the Earth Gallery, Barberia’s, etc., are long gone.). Probably because they made people want to come there and then, once the area became successful, they “quietly” disappeared. Frankly, there are only a few places left there that make it worthwhile for me to go to NoDa, but the parking is so ridiculous now, that I rarely ever visit. $21 to park in December to go to the NT on a Sunday night for 4 hrs. at a local parking deck.


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