Rick Lazes grew up in Long Island and lived in New Orleans for 25 years before moving to Charlotte after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in 2005. The artist and real-estate developer lives at Lake Norman and has three children: Claire, a student at College of Charleston; Scott, a film director in Brooklyn; and Noah, a UNC Charlotte graduate who works alongside Lazes in the family real-estate business.
Lazes’ ARK Group is the developer behind what is now The AvidXchange Music Factory, which opened in 2006. “When we purchased the property, which was one of the last textile mills in Charlotte, we realized the historic relevance of the building and put it on the national historic registry,” Lazes says.
Like everyone else, Lazes has had to adapt to life during Covid. “Perhaps the greatest silver lining is that I have been able to connect with creative people from all over the world — in film, in movies, in theater and in art — who I otherwise might not have been able to collaborate with because they would have been committed to something else.”
Comments have been edited for brevity.
Over the last decade, Charlotte has turned into a big city, and two of the things it has are great food and music. I enjoy North Harbor Club and Hello, Sailor, where they have a really good soft-shell crab. Downtown, I really enjoy La Belle Helene — it’s an amazing culinary experience but also has a beautiful dining room that reminds me of New York or Paris. Barcelona has a great patio, and they have really good mussels and calamari, as well as a really unusual, delicious eggplant dish. I also love Bardo and Alexander Michael’s — it’s a very friendly, down-home place.
Of course, the Mint Museum and The Bechtler. I also really enjoy SOCO Gallery and Sozo Gallery. Paul Veto, Seth Koch, Stewart Milsaps and Dana Gingras are all great local artists. Part of my arts routine is to go to the Art Factory, which is located on Bancroft Street right near Camp North End. There are graphic artists, painters, sculptures and video artists who are located there. Hannah Blanton of Sozo Gallery gives regular tours of the Art Factory, by appointment only.
I love everything about the lake: There is a really nice breeze. I swim to a small island in the late afternoons with my daughter. At sunset, you will see deer swimming from the island to our yard. I think the sunsets on Lake Norman rival that of one of my favorite vacation spots, St. Barts.
Music is one of my favorite things about Charlotte, specifically at The Fillmore. I think the most challenging part of COVID-19, for me, has been not being able to hear live music or go to music festivals. Also I love Middle C Jazz uptown. I think it’s really nice that Charlotte’s got some rhythm and blues and jazz. The Visulite and Evening Museare two other local favorites.
I really enjoy horseback riding. I have two Tennessee Walking Horses, Angel and Star, that I brought up from my farm in West Virginia. They are at Runnymede Stables in Davidson. I also really enjoy hiking. Rocky Face Mountain, about an hour from Lake Norman, is a great place, as well as Crowders Mountain State Park and Latta Plantation. SP
— compiled by Whitley Adkins