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Fifth Street Pedscape / Ivey's Building Retail Improvements

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Posted

We've watched dozens of decent commercial structures 80-100y old get torn down before our eyes in the last decade.    Bricking up an entrance is hardly a sin to mention, but Charlotte deserves the jokes when they do come up.  

 

 

It is great, though, to live in a city that wants to have a good future, and this is an example of a really decent improvement.

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Posted

We've watched dozens of decent commercial structures 80-100y old get torn down before our eyes in the last decade.    Bricking up an entrance is hardly a sin to mention, but Charlotte deserves the jokes when they do come up.  

 

 

It is great, though, to live in a city that wants to have a good future, and this is an example of a really decent improvement.

I'm not saying some great stuff wasn't demolished, I'm saying there wasn't a great deal of it to begin with.  Charlotte doesn't have the architectural past other cities do.

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Posted

This small renovation to the building and the sidewalk expansion will do more for building up the pedestrian feel of the area than one could imagine.   I really think when done and successful, it will spur others to look at the life (and money) waiting to happen to other buildings if they retrofit them (ok in this case correct a bad retrofit) for street level retail.

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Posted

Regardless of what they do with the windows in that building, it will substantially change the pedestrian feel of that area. I'm sure the owners of Basil and 5Church are happy.

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Posted

My point is that bricking up that entrance was exactly the same kind of decision that was made in 100 other cities across America during that period. There's nothing unique to Charlotte in that. Times change...and initiatives change. It's really not that big a deal that it was bricked up. It's great that it's being returned to a more natural state.

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Posted

Fair enough.  

 

Frankly, the fact that this building remains standing and had adaptive reuse, it the more astounding thing in this city.  This one didn't fare so well:

 

belk-old.jpg

 

I would be happy to have this  with a bricked up entrance than the ugly crap that replaced it:

 

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=aria+charlotte&ll=35.213649,-80.809937&spn=0.306863,0.537643&hq=aria&hnear=Charlotte,+Mecklenburg,+North+Carolina&t=h&z=11&layer=c&cbll=35.226499,-80.842269&panoid=zt9lKwf4iConeSpnpRQfDw&cbp=12,45.12,,0,-11.56

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Posted

This small renovation to the building and the sidewalk expansion will do more for building up the pedestrian feel of the area than one could imagine.   I really think when done and successful, it will spur others to look at the life (and money) waiting to happen to other buildings if they retrofit them (ok in this case correct a bad retrofit) for street level retail.

 

There still seems to be some uncertainty at this point as to whether or not the sidewalk improvements will happen. The way we will know its going to happen is if/when the parking meters get removed. I'm still hopeful.

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Posted

Thanks for the update, although that would be slightly infuriating if the private business finally stepped up and matched a positive policy based on a city planning concept and was baked into city plans, but then the most significant part of the change (the wider sidewalks) not done because of some lack of coordination or funding.

 

This is a very visible and traveled block given it's proximity to the heart of town.  I hope that sidewalk does not remain that awkward 3 feet with gas meters in the way for too long.

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Posted

Yes - It would be very disappointing to not have the sidewalks expanded as well.  The gas meters, the parking meters, the grates, etc - all make it the side you don't walk on.

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Posted

There's always been an odd smell on that side, too. I suspect it is from one of the tenants along the wall. Conversely, the Basil side always smells amazing because of the kitchen fan pouring the aroma of Pad Thai onto lucky passerbys. Maybe 5Church can mimic the Basil approach.

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Posted

Thanks for the update, although that would be slightly infuriating if the private business finally stepped up and matched a positive policy based on a city planning concept and was baked into city plans, but then the most significant part of the change (the wider sidewalks) not done because of some lack of coordination or funding.

 

This is a very visible and traveled block given it's proximity to the heart of town.  I hope that sidewalk does not remain that awkward 3 feet with gas meters in the way for too long.

 

As a point of clarification, it is my understanding that the City has approved the funding to partner with the developer on the work, but since it's an optional modification the City can't force them to build the sidewalk. There are some significant challenges with that block in terms of utilities (like that large vault with the grates over it) that have to be incorporated into the design. It's an issue of whether or not the developer wants to do the work at this point, and hopefully they do.

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Posted (edited)

Fair enough.  

 

Frankly, the fact that this building remains standing and had adaptive reuse, it the more astounding thing in this city.  This one didn't fare so well:

 

belk-old.jpg

 

I would be happy to have this  with a bricked up entrance than the ugly crap that replaced it:

 

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=aria+charlotte&ll=35.213649,-80.809937&spn=0.306863,0.537643&hq=aria&hnear=Charlotte,+Mecklenburg,+North+Carolina&t=h&z=11&layer=c&cbll=35.226499,-80.842269&panoid=zt9lKwf4iConeSpnpRQfDw&cbp=12,45.12,,0,-11.56

I don't think I would ever call the BofA Corporate Center "ugly crap".  I'm pretty happy with Belk's replacement and it's iconic place in our skyline.  What I DO lament is the loss of the Masonic Temple to build what is now an empty band shell and one time Chick-fil-a for an empty plaza at Wells Fargo.  First Union did it again when it demolished the Federal Reserve Bank on the opposite corner for Three Wells Fargo (one of the ugliest skyscrapers uptown).  

 

As for Ivey's, those windows were bricked up in the early 1960s for more selling space on the ground floor.  

Edited by Miesian Corners

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Posted

Bank of America Corporate Center is around the corner from the Trade Street location of the Belk, right?  The Belk stood where Founder's Hall's is, the facade of which is ugly in my opinion.  

 

Pelli designed the Key Bank HQ in Cleveland around the same time and it is pretty obviously BoACC's sister building, yet adjacent to it is a historic urban structures that remains standing.  

250px-Society_Bldg.jpg

 

In Charlotte, this:

Belk%20Facade004.jpg

 

became this ugly crap:

Belk-1.jpg

 

http://livemalls.blogspot.com/2008/03/belk-downtown-charlotte-north-carolina.html

 

 

SO, in that context, it is really a relief and an anomaly in Charlotte that this:

iveys_dept_store.JPG

 

Became this:

iveys.10105720_std.jpg

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Posted

This is sort of off-topic, but is that the same overstreet mall bridge going into the Belk store?

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Yes, they PRESERVED the Overstreet mall connector, and tore down the historic Belk.   Of course, adding the Overstreet Mall was added to try to retrofit the urban retail infrastructure that still existed in uptown a generation ago with a suburban mall-type unity and indoorsiness.   Ivey's was part of that too, which would have eventually become Dillards if things had not further declined.   This used to be discussed as part of the epic decline of uptown which has take a lot of investment to overcome.  Yet true urban retail is now gone.    

 

Ivey's had to become condominiums and small time restaurants, and struggles to even keep those afloat until more recently.  The Belk complex had become huge, but could have been simply reduced back to the fit into the historic structure shown above.  Instead, the powers that be wanted something more lame and suburban, so they built Founder's Hall, with the façade clearly being an afterthought.   The whole Overstreet, including Founder's Hall has become a "dead mall".  There is very little destination retail left anywhere.   I have lived in Charlotte for 15 years and I have used Overstreet Mall almost exclusively as rain storm avoidance and the occasional soulless lunch.  

 

The Belk uptown may have eventually struggled and failed, but if the façade or structure remained, it would very likely be something actively used.   The Montaldo's building became the Mint Craft+Design and now the Foundations for the Carolinas.  This Belk could have become something else also.  It also could have remained purely as a façade to the current Founder's Hall, which then might actually seem worth entering, unlike now.  

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Posted

Having been born and raised in Cleveland, I must say....I wouldn't compare anything in Cleveland to Charlotte with envy. Sure there is old buildings and "culture" but Cleveland is a dump. Sure some facades look like crap downtown Charlotte but I love the new and modern feel.

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Posted

Yes, they PRESERVED the Overstreet mall connector, and tore down the historic Belk.   Of course, adding the Overstreet Mall was added to try to retrofit the urban retail infrastructure that still existed in uptown a generation ago with a suburban mall-type unity and indoorsiness.   Ivey's was part of that too, which would have eventually become Dillards if things had not further declined.   This used to be discussed as part of the epic decline of uptown which has take a lot of investment to overcome.  Yet true urban retail is now gone.    

 

Ivey's had to become condominiums and small time restaurants, and struggles to even keep those afloat until more recently.  The Belk complex had become huge, but could have been simply reduced back to the fit into the historic structure shown above.  Instead, the powers that be wanted something more lame and suburban, so they built Founder's Hall, with the façade clearly being an afterthought.   The whole Overstreet, including Founder's Hall has become a "dead mall".  There is very little destination retail left anywhere.   I have lived in Charlotte for 15 years and I have used Overstreet Mall almost exclusively as rain storm avoidance and the occasional soulless lunch.  

 

The Belk uptown may have eventually struggled and failed, but if the façade or structure remained, it would very likely be something actively used.   The Montaldo's building became the Mint Craft+Design and now the Foundations for the Carolinas.  This Belk could have become something else also.  It also could have remained purely as a façade to the current Founder's Hall, which then might actually seem worth entering, unlike now.  

Yeah, I appreciate the glassy facelift Founder's Hall got a few years ago during the construction of 1BOA and Ritz compared to the blank slab that was there before, but both designs pale in comparison to the older historic facade. I went to City Smoke for the first time the other day (great food actually) and while it is cool-looking from the street, it was very awkward to actually enter. 

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Posted

I recall being in uptown Charlotte when I was a kid, when Ivey's and Belk were still open, although I have only a passing memory of Ivey's and no memory of Belk.  But if you look at additional photos of the Square, it was UGLY.  There was a Burger King, a Revco, some low-rent women's clothing stores, etc.  The Belk may have been attractive but the entire area now looks much more attractive.

 

It's unfortunate that Charlotte has lost some older buildings, but I think that overall it's better looking now and much more impressive.

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Posted

My first job in Charlotte was with BoA at 101 N Tryon, way back in 2002.  At that time, one of co-workers would joke that, not so long ago, you would not brag about "working" at Trade & Tryon.  I am not exactly sure what she meant, but I gathered that the center of center city was pretty rough at that time (1997?).  While I am personally glad that Ivey's survived as it did, I cannot cry over the the loss of other old buildings just because they were old.  Center city is a place that people want to be because, in part, of its modern/clean/safe architecture.

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Posted

That was the joke before the rebirth of uptown, that standing at the corner of Trade and Tryon meant you were a hooker.  People still sort of say the joke, but most people seem to know instinctively that it is from a bygone era, since it is very respectible part of town now obviously.

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Posted

The joke was "Trying on Trade or Trading on Tryon". Much of the nostalgia for Charlotte's older uptown buildings is just revisionist history. Let's be thankful for what we have and strive to make it better instead of moaning all the time about what is gone. To be honest that joke about "what else would you expect in Charlotte" is just tired and lazy at this point...

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Posted

Let's be thankful for what we have and strive to make it better instead of moaning all the time about what is gone.

Agreed.  Charlotte has one of the South's most impressive downtowns and skylines.  I've lived in Charlotte off and on since the early '90s (and visited at least in the early '80s, if not before), and it's a much more "world-class" and destination city than it was back then, and the changes have been for the better, mostly.  Who'd have EVER thought, for example, in the early '90s that Charlotte would have a Ritz-Carlton or a Tiffany (admittedly only in the winter) uptown?

 

And re: old: I used to like old buildings until I started to have to deal with them in NYC.  Old Prague or Paris architecture is one thing; old US standard commercial and residential architecture is another.

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Posted (edited)

The joke was "Trying on Trade or Trading on Tryon". Much of the nostalgia for Charlotte's older uptown buildings is just revisionist history. Let's be thankful for what we have and strive to make it better instead of moaning all the time about what is gone. To be honest that joke about "what else would you expect in Charlotte" is just tired and lazy at this point...

I always heard the joke told as "If you can trade on tryon, try on trade"

Edited by rworkman09

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Posted

The joke was "Trying on Trade or Trading on Tryon". Much of the nostalgia for Charlotte's older uptown buildings is just revisionist history. Let's be thankful for what we have and strive to make it better instead of moaning all the time about what is gone. To be honest that joke about "what else would you expect in Charlotte" is just tired and lazy at this point...

 

Revisionism is saying something happened that did not happen, but it did happen.   We did not have the grandeur of historical structures that Boston or Philadelphia or Williamsburg, but we still had people building some really great urban structures 80-100 years ago, which are now rubble in a landfill, replaced by some pretty lame 70s and 80s buildings.    Compare the actual photos of actual buildings (or maybe you're saying they did some excellent photoshop 100 years ago).  

 

Most of us are thankful that the city has grown and done a lot of positive things, but it is a pretty soulless thing to do to tear down 95% of the old buildings and build mediocre buildings like Founders Hall, the Charlotte Chamber, etc.   The lazy thing to do is to blithely praise everything this city did in its quest to grow beyond producing the country's tighty whiteys.    If some decent policies had been in place we could have spared the replacement of most of the old structures with surface parking lots for suburban commuters, and replace them with new buildings with an equal or higher quality of pedestrian accommodations and design.   I like a city with a blend of old and new, but in most of our times in Charlotte, we never even saw the quality of the old because they were now in the form of asphalt aggregate.  

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Posted (edited)

Belk basically took up the entire block, the only outlier being the two story Eckerd Drug at the Square (Trade and Tryon).  Belk acquired Efird's Department Store in the early 1960s, which was on Tryon Street.  It then connected the whole complex into one store and added a horrific addition at the corner of College and 5th.  There was an overstreet connector ACROSS Tryon from Belk to Ivey's.  

Edited by Miesian Corners

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