Today, that banktown identity has been shaken by a high-flying financial system that discovered gravity the hard way. The crash exported one of our hometown banks to San Francisco, put the CEO of the other in a house in Boston, and sent legions of talented local white-collar strivers into the ranks of the unemployed. Add to that shuttered companies, large and small, and a population of other out-of-work transplants who followed rainbows of pixie dust from as nearby as Gaffney and as far away as Guadalupe and you've got something of an economic meltdown. Three years ago, some 54,000 people in Mecklenburg County were in finance jobs. Today, that has sunk to 2003 levels, at around 48,000.
That's from an introduction to an on-going column that might best be described as a regional pep talk. Charlotte is desperately seeking reinvention. Can the city escape the past?
Charlotte's recovery will be one to watch. I'm curious to see if browning greenfields matter or not. My guess is that it won't be able to successfully economically diversify quickly enough to recapture some of that lost magic. I'm trying to imagine a New Charlotte and I can't make it out.