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5 Things to Know: Blue Blaze Brewing to Close Following Landlord Dispute

...and four more stories from Feb. 11-17, 2024

Figures in motion are blurred in this time lapse photo of the taproom at Blue Blaze Brewing.
The taproom a Blue Blaze Brewing. (Courtesy of Blue Blaze Brewing)

Blue Blaze Announces Closing Due to Rent Increases

Blue Blaze Brewing announced in a social media post on Feb. 10 that they will close their doors for good on March 18. 

Blue Blaze owner Craig “Unca Keg” Nunn says the company has been forced out of its location at the end of the Stewart Creek Greenway in west Charlotte’s Smallwood neighborhood due to rising commercial rent, which has been taking a toll on other small businesses across the city. 

In January 2023, a judge granted Blue Blaze Brewing a reprieve that saved it from eviction by its landlord, Atlanta-based firm Portman Holdings, after Portman tried to raise the rent by 376%.   

“Over the years, we’ve poured our passion, creativity, and dedication .. our blood, sweat, and tears into crafting exceptional liquids and fostering a vibrant community of beer, music, and outdoors lovers,” Nunn wrote in a farewell statement on the brewery’s website

“The journey over the last 10 years since I began this idea has been nothing short of extraordinary, exceptional, and life-altering; and we are deeply grateful for the unwavering support and friendship you’ve shown us along the way. We very much wish that our place here could have continued to be available to us into the future.” 

Nunn opened Blue Blaze Brewing in 2016 with his father, who passed away two years ago from brain cancer.  

“Each and every moment has been testament to the power of good beer, of great company,  and of family,” Nunn’s post read. “We take pride in the legacy we’ve created and the indelible mark Blue Blaze has made on the craft beer landscape and in our hearts & lives.” 

The brewery is hoping to find a new location and temporarily contract to serve its beer with another brewery in town in the meantime, according to Nunn’s statement.

Judge Drops Charges Against Bridges

A Mecklenburg County Superior Court judge on Tuesday dismissed three criminal charges against Hornets star Miles Bridges related to an incident that occurred in October 2023 due to “insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution,” according to a court filing. 

Bridges is currently serving three years of probation after pleading no contest in exchange for no jail time in relation to a June 2022 domestic violence case involving the mother of his two children, who accused him of assaulting her in front of their children. 

Bridges was charged in 2023 with violating a protection order, misdemeanor child abuse and injury to personal property.  

In that incident, Bridges’ ex-girlfriend alleged that he threw billiard balls at the windshield of a car that his children were in while also telling her that he would withhold child support and “take everything from her.” Prosecutors said Bridge’s ex-girlfriend gave police conflicting statements about that incident and later said she was unsure how the damage was caused.

Bridges was previously suspended for 30 games without pay by the NBA, which considered 20 of those games served due to the fact that he sat out the full 2022-’23 season as an unsigned free agent. He served the remaining 10 games of his suspension of the 2023-’24 season with the Hornets.

Buttigieg Announces Airport Investment in Charlotte

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg held a press conference at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) on Thursday to announce that the city will be receiving $27 million in federal funding to replace up to 16 of the airport’s jetway bridges, used by passengers to get on and off planes. 

Four North Carolina airports will receive a combined $45 million in federal grants. Aside from CLT, federal funding will also go to Raleigh-Durham International Airport ($12 million), Wilmington International Airport ($4 million) and Spruce Pine’s Avery County Airport ($2 million).

At the press conference, Gov. Roy Cooper emphasized the importance of such investments to the state’s economy, as North Carolina’s 72 public airports contribute $72 billion to its economy, support 330,000 jobs and return $3.7 billion state and local tax revenues. 

Pete Buttigieg tours Charlotte Douglas international Airport with Haley Gentry, the airport’s CEO. (Photo courtesy of CLT Airport via Facebook)

In January, CLT reported that it saw record-breaking travel in 2023, surpassing its all-time passenger record by servicing 53.4 million passengers over the year, a 12% jump from 47.8 million passengers in 2022 and 6.5% above the previous record of 50.2 million passengers in 2019.

In total, $970 million from the Airport Terminal Program, one of three aviation programs created by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will be spread to 114 airports across the country. 

The goal of these investments is to create well-paid jobs while spurring the modernization of airports by improving passenger experiences, accessibility and sustainability.

Siemens Announces First US Manufacturing HQ in Charlotte

The city of Charlotte on Tuesday announced that Siemens Energy, one of the world’s leading energy tech companies, has selected Charlotte as the site of an advanced manufacturing facility to produce large power transformers. 

The company will invest $149,859,000 and bring 475 new jobs to Charlotte, according to a release from the city. Siemens plans to expand its current facility located off Westinghouse Boulevard, creating job opportunities in a range of fields including logistics, mechanics, assembly, maintenance, engineering, project management and supervisor, with an average yearly salary of $82,052.

A Siemens Energy plant
Siemens plans to expand its existing west Charlotte facility into a manufacturing headquarters. (Photo courtesy of Siemens Energy)

“Siemens Energy is bringing even more great energy manufacturing jobs to the Charlotte community, and this latest expansion demonstrates once again their confidence in our state and its outstanding workforce,” said Cooper. “Bringing production of these high voltage transformers onshore not only creates American jobs but makes our electric grid more resilient and ready for the transition to clean energy.”

The Westinghouse expansion will be Siemens’ first large-scale manufacturing headquarters in the United States. The site will build large power transformers. More than 90% of consumed power passes through high-voltage transformers, though the company pointed out in its own press release that only 20% of U.S. large power transformer demand is met by domestic supply with lead times of up to five years. 

“Manufacturing large power transformers in the United States will strengthen and expand our electrical grid to incorporate more renewable energy and meet growing energy demand,” said Tim Holt, board member with Siemens Energy, in the city’s press release. “We are excited to do that in Charlotte, North Carolina where our existing factory and incredible team is answering the call of our customers and policymakers to help protect our nation’s energy and national security.”

City Sees Five Gun Murders in Three Days

Five lives were lost to gun violence on Charlotte streets in just three days this week, bringing the total number of homicides recorded by Queen City Nerve this year in Charlotte to 17. That’s four more murders than the city had seen at this point last year.

Shortly after 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, police responded to a shooting call on Camden Creek Lane in the Stone Ridge Apartments in southwest Charlotte, where they found 39-year-old Michael Burroughs dead from a gunshot wound.

Just after 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, police responded to a shooting call on Little Rock Road near its intersection with Tuckaseegee Road, where they found 21-year-old Natajah Demetrius Johnson suffering from gunshot wounds. Medic transported Johnson to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Shortly before 10 p.m. that night, police responded to another shooting call on Country House Street in the Steele Creek area of southwest Charlotte, where they found a woman dead from a gunshot wound. Police quickly located a “person of interest” nearby and later charged the 45-year-old man with murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle. It’s unclear if the homicide was an incident of domestic violence, though detectives did say it was not a “random act of violence.”

Just before 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, police responded to a call to assist Medic on Wilkinson Boulevard near Hargrove Avenue in west Charlotte’s Westerly Hills neighborhood, where they found 24-year-old Jaziyah Joseph Haigbea-Boone dead from a gunshot wound.

At approximately 3:21 p.m. that afternoon, police responded to a shooting call on Cataline Avenue in north Charlotte’s Tryon Hills neighborhood, where they found a man suffering from a gunshot wound. Medic transported the victim to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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