Charlotte, North Carolina known for its McMansions?

A book review of a new novel about an old money family in Charlotte, North Carolina suggests the city is known for its McMansions:

The city of Charlotte, with its social-climbing bankers and developers, its flock of mega-churches and its McMansions – where, as the old saying goes, folks believe in the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man and the neighborhood of Myers Park – has always made an inviting target.

And now, with “Lookaway, Lookaway,” Wilton Barnhardt has scored a palpable hit. With his first novel since 1998’s “Emma Who Saved My Lie,” Barnhardt delivers a knowing, wry and delightfully catty satire, an acid-etched portrait of one of the Queen City’s downwardly mobile Old Families.

This review hints at one reason for the abundance of McMansions in Charlotte and I think this is related to another reason:

1. McMansion here might be shorthand for new-money families as contrasted with old-money families. This is more noteworthy in the South with its emphasis on tradition and honor. Established families live in more established homes in older neighborhoods while those with new money live in big subdivision houses.

2. Related to the new money in the city is its Sunbelt population growth after World War II. In 1940, the city had just over 100,000 residents and today the city has over 731,000 and the metropolitan area has around 2.3 million residents. In other words, one of the notable traits of Charlotte in recent decades is its growth which then includes new houses and new residents.

At the same time, I haven’t yet run into any news stories about teardown issues in Charlotte or too many concerns about sprawl.

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