Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2010 population of 1,758,038. The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a wider thirteen-county labor market region or combined statistical area with a 2010 U.S. Census population of 2,402,623. Residents of Charlotte are referred to as "Charlotteans." The city is a major U.S. financial center, and is now the second largest banking center in the United States after New York City. The nation's second largest financial institution by assets, Bank of America, calls the city home. The city was also the former corporate home of Wachovia until its purchase by Wells Fargo in 2008; Charlotte became the headquarters for East Coast Operations of Wells Fargo. Charlotte is also home of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
Charlotte's central location between the population centers of the northeast and southeast has made it a transportation focal point and primary distribution center, with two major interstate highways, I-85 and I-77, intersecting near the city's center. Charlotte's beltway, designated I-485 and simply called "485" by locals, is partially finished but funding has been slow in coming. The new projection has it slated for completion by 2013. Upon completion, 485 will have a total circumference of approximately 67 miles (108 km). Within the city, the I-277 loop freeway encircles Charlotte's uptown (usually referred to by its two separate sections, the John Belk Freeway and the Brookshire Freeway) while Charlotte Route 4 links major roads in a loop between I-277 and I-485. Independence Freeway, which carries US 74 and links downtown with the Matthews area is undergoing an expansion and widening in the eastern part of the city.
"As an owner of a New Car Dealership in Charlotte, I noticed a huge increase in new cars sales after the Charlotte Auto Show each year. Even talking to other dealers, sales were still pretty strong months after the show. From my conversations with other Charlotte Automobile Trade Association directors, colleagues and friends in the business, the show performed its function exceedingly well-and they're seeing results in their dealerships. That translates to more sales for the dealer and better deals for the consumer. It's why this show has worked as well as it has for more than a century." Jonathan R. ~ Charlotte, NC
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