Reaction to Wednesday’s announcement that the old Philip Morris buildings would be torn down was pretty quick and varied from our readers, especially on social media. Let’s start the Friday Five with some of those.


No more houses. Dozens of social media posts lamented the possibility that the industrial buildings and warehouses would be replaced with more houses. It seems once people get themselves a house in Cabarrus County, they want to close the gate and keep others out.

Building houses on this industrial land is unlikely. The property is simply too expensive to build houses. That’s not to say there won’t be some in the fringe areas around the industrial complex. It’s almost certain there will be residential components toward Union Cemetery Road and in the buffering areas near already residential areas.

“Send that Philip Morris/Alevo story to (Carolina Panthers owner) David Tepper!” is the text I got from my daughter, Jordan, when she saw the story on-line.

Another person suggested it would be a great spot for a domed stadium for the Panthers.

Speculation is that Fort Mill and South Carolina will lock up a Panthers office complex and training facility. South Carolina practically gives away the farm when it comes to incentives for projects like this.

As far as a stadium, does anyone believe the powers that be in Uptown Charlotte will let the stadium get out of town?

One issue that eliminated the Grounds at Concord (new name for the complex) from the Amazon headquarters sweepstakes was transportation and roads. Any major project will face that issue, but it does have a rail spur and reasonably good access to I-85 and N.C. 49.

Concord Realtor Dale Cline, long-time editor of The Concord Tribune and the Independent Tribune, made a good point: the tax value of the property is $56 million and $24.3 million is in the buildings.

“Seems like by demolishing the building, they would cut city and county taxes nearly in half. That might be a factor, along with making it more marketable,” Cline commented on a Facebook discussion of the announcement.

Others mentioned additional land is being added to The Grounds at Concord through purchases of nearby properties.

So far we don’t have any conspiracy theories associated with the latest owners of the property, but one person made sure to mention the previous theory circulated about Alevo being a money laundering operation for the Russians. There are people who are dead serious about this.

But the vast majority of comments were “no more houses.”


A walk in the park. I renewed my lease on a plot in the community garden at Frank Liske Park and had a chance to catch up on a few things happening over there. There are plots available if you are interested. It’s $25 a year. The raised beds are over near the tennis courts.

community garden sign.jpg

Just down the hill, a new bathroom building is under construction. The wet weather has construction a little behind schedule, but it should be ready sometime this spring.

New bathroom

One parking lot at Frank Liske Park is closed while worker build a new bathroom facility near three picnic shelters Mark Plemmons/

It is near the N.C. Wildlife Commission, Vulcan Materials and Philip Morris picnic shelters. The sign says March 11 for reopening of the parking lot. It might take a bit longer.

Park shelters

A new bathroom facility is being built to serve park patrons near these shelters. Mark Plemmons/

The lake was stocked with 1,200 trout back in December. For a couple weeks, local fishermen had a great time, but gulls figured out the fish were there, and they have taken their toll on the trout population.  Rangers are working on a way to control the pesky birds.


Drifting over from Mount Bruton? I wonder if the birds came over from the landfill and what I like to call Mount Bruton. Landfills and construction sites always attract a lot of birds, including seagulls.

Once again I ask the question: how high will the mountain of trash go? It’s become one of the highest points in Cabarrus County and thus should have a mountain title.

I call it Mount Bruton for Charlotte Motor Speedway founder/developer Ollen Bruton Smith. The kids at Jay M. Robinson High School and some of the neighbors call it Mount Trashmore.

There’s a few more things to call it #@$%^&* on days when the wind is blowing the wrong way. It stinks.


Cabarrus County’s Woodstock? Steven Winecoff pointed out to us that The Eagles were a no show for the August Jam at Charlotte Motor Speedway back in 1974.

“We had a great time. My brother came in from Raleigh and we went together,” Winecoff said.

August Jam

The Eagles were a "no show" but seemed like everybody and their brother did come to August Jam at Charlotte Motor Speedway back in 1974. Photo courtesy of Charlie Isenhour

The brothers brought a tent and camped like many others. They entered the Speedway Friday morning and didn’t come out until Sunday morning.

I asked him what was his favorite performance. “Emerson Lake and Palmer were great and so were the Allman Brothers and all the smaller bands and Foghat. It was all great. It’s something I’ll always remember,” Winecoff said.

There were estimates of more than 200,000 people in attendance. Wilkipedia says it was the largest concert in North Carolina history and one of the largest in U.S. history at the time.

August Jam

The Eagles were a "no show" back in 1974. Photo courtesy of Charlie Isenhour

“The promoters and the Speedway were woefully unprepared for the size of the crowd that showed up,” Winecoff said.

Charlotte radio stations Big WAYS and WROQ sponsored August Jam.


Changes at Carolina Mall. Two stores have left the Carolina Mall since Christmas.

Vacant cookie store

Great American Cookies has left the Carolina Mall. Mark Plemmons/

Great American Cookies is gone. Now where are we going to get our cookie cakes? I think there is a cookie place still out at Concord Mills.

Over the years, that had been our go-to place for birthday cookie cakes. Of course, we’ve gotten countless cookies on other trips to the mall too.

It might be a good thing. Many of those trips were to get some steps in and the cookie was a treat as we left. Chick-fil-A and Subway both have cookies and of course we can get a treat at the DQ.

Vacant store

Verizon left this location at the Carolina Mall earlier in the new year. Mark Plemmons/

Verizon Wireless left the spot up toward Sears across from Shoe Show. I never saw many people  in there, maybe a couple of salespeople sitting at their desk looking bored.

Customers were being referred to the Verizon Store on Concord Parkway near Golden Corral. I was in there last week and it was packed.

There weren’t many people in the mall Monday evening, granted that is probably the slowest time of the week. I felt sorry for the fellow who runs Just Casual, standing in front of his business with no one inside. He looked so sad.

I worry about Sears-Roebuck. Every time there’s a closing list, I scan it to make sure our Sears is not on there.

Does anyone else miss the days where Sears was the place to shop? I got my first baseball glove at the Sears in downtown Asheville. That’s where my brother Luke and I would see Santa Claus. My dad always bought us blanched peanuts or redskin peanuts from the candy/nut counter.

Most of the checkout points have closed in Sears. More than once, I have been approached by customers wanting help or to check out. They see my lanyard around my neck (my Independent Tribune key card and ID) and think I work there. I try to point them in the right direction.

One good sign Monday in Sears was the stacks of boxes being opened for display on the sales floor in the lawn and garden section. At least Sears will be here for the spring. Let’s hope longer.

If you have a Friday Five, something I can complain about, or other comments email

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