Charlotte Skyline

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Charlotte Skyline

by Michael O'Brien

One of the largest cities among Mid Atlantic coastal states, Charlotte, North Carolina has a settlement history dating back to the 1700s. Founded by Thomas Polk in 1755, Charlotte has seen tremendous growth over the last 300 years as evidenced by its modern skyline. Thomas Polk was the uncle of United States President James Polk and built his home on land located between the Catawba and Yadkin rivers. Today, skyline pictures and panoramas of Charlotte offer spectacular views of this contemporary city.

The Charlotte skyline is home to many of the world's financial powerhouses. In fact, Charlotte is regarded as a national banking center rivaled only by New York City's Financial District. Along the Charlotte skyline, the Bank of America Corporate Center stands out as the tallest building in Charlotte. A true member of the skyscraper class the former Nation's Bank Corporate Center building stands over 870 feet above North Tryon Street. Constructed in 1992, the Center ranks as the 24th tallest building in the United States.

Like many growing cities in the United States, development of high rise buildings often conflicts with other infrastructure concerns. In the case of the B of A Corporate Center, the Federal Aviation Administration was concerned that the height of the building would interfere with the flights paths established for the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. The issue was resolved, allowing construction on the complex to commence in 1989, ensuring that the B of A Corporate Center would grace the Charlotte skyline for many years to come. The top of the structure features a spectacular lighted crown that is illuminated from within the crown that can be seen for miles on a clear night.

Another spectacular feature of the Charlotte skyline is the Hearst Tower. The most and unusual and striking design feature of this skyscraper is the reverse base design. The top floors of the building are actually larger in area than the lower floors. Construction of the Hearst Tower began in 1999 and took over three years to complete. The Hearst Tower officially opened in 2002 and stands nearly 660 feet over North Tyron Street not far from the Bank of America Corporate Center. The nighttime skyline of Charlotte is greatly enhanced by the graceful and sweeping lines of this unique skyscraper.

With its modern design and unique arched top, One Wachovia Center is third tallest building on the Charlotte skyline. The forty two story structure tops out at nearly six hundred feet and feature nearly 1 million square feet of office and commercial space. Located on South College Street, construction of the Wachovia Tower began in 1988 and the building took three years to complete.

There are other notable buildings that add to the beauty of the Charlotte skyline averaging more than 450 feet in height. Included in this list are the Bank of America Plaza, the 121 Trade Plaza, 3 Wachovia Center, 201 Tyron and Two Wachovia Tower. As a growing metropolis, the skyline of Charlotte is ever-changing with several new high rise buildings either in the process of being built or in the planning stages. Most notable among these structures is the new Wachovia Corporate Center that will feature 48 stories, standing over 760 feet tall. When completed, the new Wachovia Corporate Center will be the second tallest building on the Charlotte skyline rivaled only by the Bank of America Corporate Center.

Called simply The Vue, this new skyscraper will be taller than the Hearst Tower and is designed to stand over 670 feet above the intersection of Fifth and Pine Streets. The Vue is scheduled to open sometime in 2010 and will closely resemble the reverse base floor plan used in the design of the Hearst Tower. Most of the buildings 51 floors will be used for luxury residential space.

The beauty of the Charlotte skyline has been captured in many pictures and panoramas and city's rich history adds to its charm. During the American Revolutionary War, this historic city was scene of many skirmishes between the city's residents and forces of the British colonial army. The tenacity of the local colonials earned the city another nickname, that of Hornets Nest, a name used by the commanding British general. It is no coincidence that Charlotte's professional basketball team took up the name Hornets.