One of the coolest things about the Elizabeth neighborhood is that it is so welcoming to geeks, nerds and culture buffs, despite being a stone's throw away from banker busybody Uptown. The area is home to locally owned businesses like Heroes Aren't Hard to Find, The Violin Shoppe, VisArt, Visulite Theatre and Crown Station, among others. And it's places like these that help foster creativity and innovation — the kind of stuff that helps shape a city's identity and give it a little color, if you will.
The million dollar question in Charlotte nowadays: As apartment development comes a-creeping in, will that change the vibe of the area? Of course it will. I mean, when's the last time you heard someone say, "Man, that shiny new apartment building with its valet trash, ugly parking garage and saltwater pool really gives this area character."
But change is in the air, and it looks like Elizabeth might be losing one of its coolest tenants. Earlier today, Twiggy Cerniglia, owner of VisArt, addressed on Facebook the For Rent sign that is now taped on the video rental store's front window. In a message, she told me that their lease is up in August. Considering the high price of rent and the battle for parking in that area, she says it is "VERY likely that we will be moving."
Cerniglia, who's eyeing a space in east Charlotte, admits she hasn't signed a new lease yet, but wanted to reassure her customers that VisArt is definitely not closing.
That's a relief. Remember when it almost did in 2010?
We already know that Jackalope Jack's and Rusty Rabbit next door aren't planning to stay on that corner across the street from VisArt for much longer. In a few years, that whole area of 7th and Caswell could look different. Then where will the geeks, nerds and culture buffs go?