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About MarcoPolo

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  1. Well said Phillydog Knowledge is the basis of mindfulness, stewardship, practicality, and even caring....... core values for those engaged in making the world a better place. Ideology is the basis of escapism.... and is for the lazy, who have no such inclination.
  2. Cathay, Singapore, Emirates and Etihad. First and Business so good that many times I lament landing and having to disembark at my destination.
  3. Defending all capital investments as good/beneficial economically at the community level can be shortsighted in some instances especially where real estate is concerned. The same is true at the individual building level, too. History, shows, that unintended, often hidden consequences do result. Eventually the results become not so hidden for both the community and the building. One need only look back at the late 60’s, 70’s and all the 80’s as building after building received “upgrades” by developers and cities, covering over and, or removing brick, granite, marble, frescos, tile, stain glass, copper, ornate parapets….I can go on and on…. with plastics, cement block, metal siding, faux brick, dryvit, asphalt shingles, and yes, the occasional “craptatsic” sign (krazeeboi), in the name of investment and jobs. Individually these acts of improvement were innocuous and did represent investment/jobs. However, taken together over time the accumulation of these “improvements” ended up devaluing local area real estate markets when compared to markets of similar land use and building inventory, which did not receive such “improvements”. In fact, the per square foot and per acre valuations remained higher for buildings and local area markets that did not “upgrade” as described above, even if they struggled with higher vacancies and building maintenance issues, in comparison to those places that did upgrade and achieved higher occupancies. That may seem counterintuitive, but the numbers bear out. Snapshots of tax valuations pre and post “improvements”, holding other attributes constant, are measurable, impactful over time, and important for the following reason. In North Carolina, at the community level, as we all know, property taxes represent the vast majority of municipal revenue; more than fees, utilities, retail sales, etc, combined. The proxy of “employment generation” is not a clear indicator of return on investment at this level of analysis. At the scale of the building, valuation is also important and one of several reasons why in the late 90’s and the 00’s developers pealed back most of the “upgrades” pasted, nailed, glued and taped, to buildings that had received them. Appearance matters because it does have implications on value, taxes and therefor revenue. Appearance of the public and private realms in a community are major ingredients in the “secret sauce” that separates “world-class” from “also-ran, poser” communities. As regards the Truist sign, offering the bank a pass because they are bringing jobs without incentives does not fully reconcile the implications of the “upgrade” attached to their building. The key word here being “attached”, as opposed to “incorporated”. It is not that the presence of a sign is, by itself, problematic. A fun and spirited debate can be had between us all as to whether a building that could be considered a “sign/symbol” unto itself, requires additional symbolic embellishment. In fairness, I was actually keen to see the outcome. What is not debatable is the outcome (as has been expressed by many on this thread). The architectural style selected for this building necessitates a glorification of setbacks and materiality vis-a-vi its own facade plains, and that of the sky silhouetted by its profile. The attached sign vandalizes the essence of the buildings architectural purpose, breaking all the fundamental lines that compose its character. It did not require rocket scientists to properly do what they intended to do. It required care and thought. The outcome displays lack of both and is, unfortunately for Charlotte, prominently visible. Is the Truist sign the end of the world for Charlotte? No, not yet. But it does represent another of those “one step back” moments that need to be called out and remedied. Lack of care and thought begets more of the same. A Queen should not accept so many back steps on her march to greatness.
  4. Oh my As superficial as "signage" is often thought to be, when properly executed it serves to convey a visual manifestation of underlying character, ie: elegance, sophistication, etc. Charlotte manages to take one step forward on so many fronts, only to take one step backward on so many others. A very uncomfortable feeling that happens too often, in my opinion. So I guess we'll have to tolerate/ignore this step backward until the criticism fades and the act remedied quietly by those responsible?
  5. One insight that may inform the discussion. The goal of the submission was to up-zone the property for higher valuation purposes and property sale.
  6. Always entertaining to imagine the Queen City's possible futures, being blessed as it is with economic advantages the envy of its peer group, and which lend themselves to fanciful thoughts. I have no doubt a few more Ferraris and Rolls Royces are in its future, but these are not necessarily the cars of choice for billionaires and unfortunately Charlotte shares this same attribute, in that it is not necessarily the city of choice for those of that wealth class either. Not a knock on Charlotte, because as a few have already replied, being on such a list is not a pressing "check the box" item that will make, or break its future. I'm sure within the region there is at least one, or two who already call Charlotte/western NC home. Hard working and scrappy is the character of Charlotte's class of "wealth" generators. The backbone of the City. If it can continue to successfully grow and support this class Charlotte will do very well. The players that revolve around, and feed off, the billionaire class have a very particular ecosystem that enables them to survive and prosper. The City is not a fabulous resort, or port of entry, nor a wealth creating center with little to none of the support/management systems tailored to these activities, nor is it an "entertainment/media" center, regional/global center of politics, or natural resource controller. Charlotte will continue to land the occasional middle American type headquarters (Honeywell), and hopefully continue to innovate within the business categories that have set up shop, (such as fin-tech), and support and nurture the homegrown ones (energy and energy spinoffs vis-a-vi Duke Energy). These are solid industries, with support needs in the upper levels of white collar legal and accounting worlds........ more than enough capacity to churn out a few millionaires with their Ferraris and occasional Rolls Royces. What they do not churn out are billionaires and, for arguments sake, even if they did those within the companies that reach the requisite number of zeroes, would find themselves moving away, or spending most of their time away, to the places that participate in the ecosystem that supports their needs. A very complex system for a very finite and mobile group of people. Within stone's throw Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Dallas, and DC, all three to four times the size of the entire consolidated Charlotte Metro, average at the bottom of the global ranking if you look at them from a weighted tier perspective. We could get one or two more who move to the area (western NC), but Charlotte is not in the ecosystem that would support many more, and barring world upheaval the City will be hard pressed to find the means to join such a system.
  7. Cltcane and clt2014 are correct. While I enjoy the daydream of a world where Charlotte joins the profit generating jet set of global finance, the reality of the industry's momentum and infrastructure continue to point to the City being a process hub for profits and value generated at global financial centres. By definition there can only be a handful of such places around the world....and they are already firmly entrenched (do not accept the self serving arguments of some about the impacts of Brexit on London......it will take much more than Brexit to diminish the City's stature in this regard). Nothing wrong with being a processor of wealth. It has allowed Charlotte to punch above its weight very impressively, and secure a position as a major fintech center, which is a strong growth industry. Our international flight options will continue to be supported by the industrial hinterland that Charlotte reigns over and as a routing option, due to its low cost, for leisure/seasonal travel to holiday destinations. Neither of these bodes well for supersonic travel unfortunately.
  8. I believe we are all in agreement that the proposed replacement for Hall House is not a worthy one. This should remain a most pressing discussion with every effort made to prevent its demolition. Not because it represents an architecturally significant building in the context of the body of work for buildings of its era, but because it represents one of the last remaining connections the City of Charlotte has to a past that matched the prosperity and aspirational ambitions of the City today. It is a solid, well executed fabric building in a city desperately in need of more, from any era. The City’s collective negligence has made it significant. Years ago, if Charlotte leaders, developers, and citizens had understood the importance of acknowledging the efforts of their predecessors, there would be more “Hall Houses” in downtown, doing what they do so fabulously well in good and great cities all over the world; absorbing, evolving and supporting the needs of the urban present with the dignity and quality of their historic past. In a time when so few know what cities really are, and even less about how architecture and development create and nurture them, any community claiming to be ‘world class’, better have at a minimum, a solid stock of “Hall Houses” to back up the boasts. There are only so many lost opportunities a city can accumulate in preserving and dignifying its history before the opportunity to become a great city in the present is lost. Charlotte has a poor record of architecture and urban preservation. It also has a poor record of replacing what it has destroyed with buildings of value. I’m as excited about the hustle and bustle of cities…and of tall buildings, and of great vitality and of progress, and the new, as everyone on this forum no doubt are. I’ve committed my entire life to designing, building and exploring them. But, Charlotte will need to mature in the coming decades and fully leave behind its “try everything to see what works” approach to city development and design if it wants to live up to its own hype. Examples of what works, and long track records of proof of concept, abound. There are in fact wonderful places in the City already, thriving, in spite of itself. These give me hope. The fate of Hall House should add to the hope, not diminish it. It is a bit parochial to be flailing about as Charlotte is doing regarding this building specifically, and urban design & development more broadly. Not very world class of a queen. In the context of what can be done with Hall House, arguments in favor of demolition that rely solely on land values and costs are straw man arguments made to distract from the fact that those involved do not care to spend the time to do what is necessary. What is proposed is an ‘expedient’ solution resulting from a failed process, populated by close minded participants lacking vision, communication skills, and technical expertise. Those of you in the biz know what I mean.
  9. MarcoPolo

    UP Forum Meetups

    I may be able to swing a Zoom Bar gathering, if still an option.
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