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Everything posted by Cityplanner

  1. Unfortunately the developers of Greenville Mall may think otherwise (as may the developers of all of the new downtown hotels).
  2. Paying for them, in the absence of tenants? Not trying to be snarky, but buildings are generally built when there is demand or expected demand, at in a profitable way. Zoning, economic conditions, competitive advantages of different locations, etc. all factor into this.
  3. The Crescent already has “flexible dining” and lunch north of Washington has been eliminated. ”Amtrak Joe” was already VP for 8 years and Democrats controller Congress for 2 of those years. There is very little to show for that so I’ll believe promises of a passenger rail renaissance when I see it.
  4. I'm all for commuter trains but let's remember what they do well: moving large numbers of people to a dense area. Bringing people into uptown Charlotte is a good use of commuter trains. What they don't do well is move people fast. Commuter trains usually stop every few miles and their average trip times are pretty slow: often around 30 mph. A particularly slow one is NY Penn Station to Dover, NJ: about 40 miles, and 90 minutes by train. That means Charlotte to Greenville, SC would be about 3 hours and 15 minutes. It's simply not competitive with driving and in the Carolinas, where basically everyone has a car, ridership at that speed would be low. To have trains that are fast enough to be competitive with driving and flying takes improving the tracks and often having a separate right-of-way, stations with high-level platforms and, ideally, electrification. I'm all for it, but the cost for a trip between Greenville and Charlotte is likely more than governments these days are willing to spend. The Piedmonts and Carolinian are pretty cost-effective: somewhat improved tracks and some stations with high-level platforms. Building more routes like them is probably the most realistic, if people are intending to have intercity trains.
  5. I love trains and took the Crescent so much earlier this year that I got Select status on Amtrak, but respectfully: state planners need to get a reality check. Amtrak just cut back the Crescent to three times a week in each direction. Greenville now doesn't even have once-a-day Amtrak service any more. Start with the basics: find a funding source to make the Crescent daily again (as who knows if Amtrak's promises to restore daily service in 2021 if various metrics are met are worth anything). And maybe extend some of the NY-Charlotte trains to Greenville and Atlanta. Then, once we have at least some bare-bones rail service, then come up with plans for a high-speed system that, while desirable, has little hope of ever getting done, given the costs and given SC state government's lack of interest in passenger rail and lack of funding from Amtrak. Or maybe try to get Brightline to come to SC. Brightline is a wonderful train system- much flashier and much more luxurious than Amtrak, and it is expanding in FL and NV.
  6. And Northlake Mall has a tattoo parlor?
  7. I looked at the directory (I haven't been there in ages) and Anthropologie is gone, too. Ouch. Looks like a bunch of no-name stores have moved in, too.
  8. FYI rents on Main Street in Greenville are about the same or higher than in other retail areas in town. So the economics are likely similar. Charlotte seems to have people in it who are afraid of going uptown. I've never heard of anyone in Greenville being afraid to go downtown, but perhaps they exist. Maybe that's the difference: fear?
  9. I agree with the posts above. As I've said for years, if Greenville, SC has plenty of "upscale mall chain" clothing stores in its downtown area (Brooks Brothers and many more), Charlotte can, and should. I'd think that most people uptown are too old to be interested in going clubbing at the Epicentre; surely there are better uses for the space.
  10. And Brooks Brothers has closed? That's really unfortunate.
  11. If downtown will have any issues post-Covid-19, I'd think that any large traffic generator such as a convention center would help. Wouldn't downtown being outdoors (instead of being all inside like Haywood Mall) help, too?
  12. The Brooks Brothers flagship in Manhattan seems to be closing; the merchandise is gone and the store fixtures are all piled up on the ground floor. Hopefully this isn't a repeat of Lord & Taylor's demise (the flagship closed, and then the rest of the chain) and hopefully the Greenville location will stay open. It's such a beautiful store (the Greenville one, not the flagship) and seems to be busier than the flagship.
  13. gman430, those are great pictures (in this thread and others). Thank you very much for sharing them. I'm intrigued by seeing that the stone surface on the courthouse is just a thin layer, applied on top of another surface. That indicates how easy it should be to re-clad buildings with aging exteriors that need upgrades, such as the Daniel Building and the BofA building across from First Presbyterian. There is hope!
  14. Sorry, everybody. I'll hush up. I'm not looking to argue; I respect and appreciate everyone's perspective, particularly when others' views differ from mine. Thanks for letting me vent for a bit, and I'm all done.
  15. I don’t view “the world is not ideal” as an excuse for continuing to accept bad public policy in all situations, but to each his own. Also, I'll go back and contradict a statement that I made above. If government spends $20 million in connection with this project and tax receipts go up by $20 million or more, in a sense the government is being paid back through increased tax collections. But the developer isn't "paying the government back" because if the project and the ancillary improvements are done, tax collections would increase regardless of who paid for the ancillary improvements. It would still have been better for private funds to have been used.
  16. But if the government hadn't spent money helping suburban real estate development for decades before the 1980s, downtown wouldn't have died in the first place and no public funds would have been necessary to build a hotel so that downtown would have a hotel. It's good that the developer is repaying the funds via increased property taxes; I'd still prefer that government be neutral and let the market decide what to fund. That is most economically efficient. In short: real estate is something that private investors have been funding for millenia. Real estate would be developed even if government didn't fund a cent of it. Government should stay out of it (it shouldn't fund improvements so that suburban malls and office parks are built, either) and let the market decide.
  17. Let the developer fund improvements, whether they're on the project's premises or otherwise done in connection with the project. That's how plenty of larger cities do it; NYC, for example (while certainly not a model of taxation or proper treatment of businesses) often requires developers to improve neighboring subway stations when they build buildings. The neighboring improvements would not be done but for this project and will enhance the profitability of the project, so let the developer pay for it. In addition, there is a ton of available cash for investments these days, and if a private developer can't find enough private-sector funds for its projects, then it needs to re-think its business model and come up with projects that can be financed with private-sector cash. I'm "progressive"--I favor progress towards a better future of freedom and right-sized government. Leftists don't have exclusive use of the concept of progress, so I reject the term "progressive" when it is equated with left-wing politics.
  18. I would have thought that people in the conservative bastion of Greenville County would assert that funding real estate development is not a proper purpose of government. If they won't, I will.
  19. Thanks, heyitsme- I didn't realize that Belk had a 25 year lease and they just let it go to the end. That makes sense. Funny to think of Parisian as being relatively downscale, but I guess that's Phipps Plaza. I loved it (there was one in Greenville, SC for a few years) and Lord & Taylor and both were nice stores, and certainly nicer than Belk, but certainly affordable, at least for me.
  20. Thanks- good to know that more retail is coming. I wonder if Belk at Phipps was ever a cash cow. People from other states would drive to Phipps to go to stores that don't exist in their hometowns. There's no reason to drive all the way to Atlanta to go to Belk. (Or Lifetime Fitness, for that matter.) I also wonder why Neiman Marcus didn't originally locate at Phipps. An anchor lineup of Saks, Neiman Marcus and at the time Lord & Taylor would have been exceptional.
  21. I'm curious as to why Belk closed at Phipps Plaza and Simon replaced it with non-retail uses. Was the Belk underperforming, or did Simon just figure it could make more money by buying out Belk and building something else in its space? And why did Simon pick non-retail uses instead of replacing Belk with new upscale retail stores? I'd usually see a department store anchor transformed into non-retail uses because the mall failed. But that's clearly not the case with Phipps Plaza, unless I'm totally missing something.
  22. That's way too many stations overall between Charlotte and Raleigh if the goal is to have a fast train, competitive with driving. Some of the smaller stations ought to be served only by some, but not all trains. There could be a mix of locals and expresses on that route, just like the Washington-Atlanta line had until the 1960s.
  23. Having grown up in Greenville in the '70s and '80s, I never thought I'd see the day when Haywood would have occupancy issues and downtown would be packed. At least Haywood is owned by Simon, which is has more resources than CBL and some others, and thus has potential for a rebound.
  24. Thanks for the info. I looked up the stores and restaurants that closed at Magnolia Park as listed above and it looks like those chains all just had problems. At least Haywood can find relief in that it’s not the only shopping center that has vacancies, I guess.
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