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Plaza-Midwood Projects (Central, Commonwealth, The Plaza)

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Anyone see the final drawings on this? At one point pretty much all of the merchants on Commonwealth were unhappy with the plans because the city was going to take land from the businesses, like the dedicated parking spaces in front of Common Market and the vet, and then create on street parking with this land.

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Anyone see the final drawings on this? At one point pretty much all of the merchants on Commonwealth were unhappy with the plans because the city was going to take land from the businesses, like the dedicated parking spaces in front of Common Market and the vet, and then create on street parking with this land.

Here is the project webpage as well as the concept plan for the project.

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So the businesses are losing their parking? The concept plan is hard to read and fuzzy, but it looks there is reverse diagonal spaces in front of the shops and they are all losing their dedicated spaces. Right?

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^Yes, but they're gaining public spaces. That's the double-edged sword of a successful business district, with multiple destinations in close proximity.

The City's zoning code has a lower off-street parking requirement for such PED overlay districts, but also requires enhanced streetscape to encourage walking. If the area were not such a successful "park-once" environment, then the businesses would need a lot more private parking to meet suburban standards.

It's a painful transition, and you can't have it both ways. The area should evolve into a cool main street with more on-street parking. What helps make this area unique is that it is NOT a suburban place with parking at each separate door.

Edited by southslider

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Anyone see the final drawings on this? At one point pretty much all of the merchants on Commonwealth were unhappy with the plans because the city was going to take land from the businesses, like the dedicated parking spaces in front of Common Market and the vet, and then create on street parking with this land.

It doesn't look to me like the city is taking any land. I think they are basically taking away curbcuts which exist on city owned land. In many instances these curbcuts are 40-50 feet long and essentially extend the parking lots across the sidewalk and planting strip.

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I was momentarily worried until I saw the diagonal spaces. That should be a net increase of parking for the area, and be more attractive, and helps reduce the anxiety of whether a closed business (like the vet at night or the bars during the day) will tow.

The Diamond will gain parking and a patio because they'll obviously be able to have diagonal spaces on their lot on both sides of the their driveway on the vet side, so I think they keep the same number of spaces with the 2 public spaces. The vet swaps 9 spaces for 9 spaces in front of them. Petras goes from 4 to 3. Common goes from 5 to 3 but then there are 2 new spaces on the firehouse land, so that is a wash. The other side of the street is harder to tell because of all the gravel lots. But they gain a lot of new street parking on the empty lot closer to Pecan. Plus, it seems like the ones with side lots will simply just need to repaint their spaces based on the changes and be ok.

Overall, it looks like a great improvement. My only complaint is, I'm sure that sorrento red that the spaces will be will almost certainly not be the brick color, but painted (or whatever) asphalt which wears off and isn't maintained after a few years.

Too bad with the savings they didn't add to the scope like adding some sidewalk improvements and street trees to Gordon.

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Please God....let them rip up the bone-jarring and poorly-laid brick sidewalks at the corners of Central and The Plaza, Thomas, and Pecan. I'd like to take the workers who laid those sidewalks and force them to drive back and forth over them 100 times a day every day.

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Anyone have any updates on Penguingate now that we have had time for everything to settle down? I have not been back to the bird since the management change, does anyone go anymore?

As an aside, The Diamond looked pretty good when it was used for a scene in Homeland.

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Anyone have any updates on Penguingate now that we have had time for everything to settle down? I have not been back to the bird since the management change, does anyone go anymore?

As an aside, The Diamond looked pretty good when it was used for a scene in Homeland.

From what I hear from friends that still live in the QC, they have had to cut hours because business is so bad.

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Anyone have any updates on Penguingate now that we have had time for everything to settle down? I have not been back to the bird since the management change, does anyone go anymore?

As an aside, The Diamond looked pretty good when it was used for a scene in Homeland.

Every time I pass by it looks like a shadow of its former self, maybe half-full at best. I don't want it to close, but I also have had no desire to go since the management change.

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Anyone have any updates on Penguingate now that we have had time for everything to settle down? I have not been back to the bird since the management change, does anyone go anymore?

As an aside, The Diamond looked pretty good when it was used for a scene in Homeland.

Some co-workers and I made a visit several months after the changeover. We had originally planned to try the Diamond but it was extremely crowded. We walked over to the penguin to find the restaurant maybe half full, a far cry from when there was a line out the door every single day. I found everything to be much cleaner (staff included) our waitress was a semi-attractive blonde with zero (visible) tattoos. We were offered a free trial appetizer that they were thinking about putting on the menu, fried pretzel jalapenos poppers or something (terrible, by the way). The menu seemed the same minus the names of the items such as “full blown hemi” and “winky dinky dog”. The food was fine and seemed like the old penguin but the experience just wasn’t the same, it was like they had sterilized what made the penguin so great….the atmosphere. We were offered another free “trial” for dessert but we declined and have not been back since.

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I haven't been to the Penguin since the management change either. My wife and I used to go there once every month or so before hand. I was really put off by the way the whole thing went down. And it's a shame. It was a Charlotte institution that so many people loved that was overtaken by greed (sounds too familiar these days). And from the sounds of hambone's comments they've basically "corporatized" the place. No thanks. I'll try the Diamond instead.

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Yes. Apparently parking will be provided to residents and it will be hidden by 74/the building.

It was posted on Plaza-Midwoods Facebook page. People did not seem very happy about it.

It is definitely different for the area and it could be better, but I don't think it's awful.

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I don't like it. This is an area where multiple smaller footprint 3-6 story buildings would actually work. I guess this isn't quite a super block, but its still a little out of place in size, and I'm surprised its only 3 stories. Not extending Pecan and Commonwealth retail is a huge missed opportunity, and again, one of the only places in town where this should be a no-brainer right now.

I also predict that the corrugated metal look that so many residential buildings are adopting is going to look insanely dated in 15 years.

Edited by nonillogical
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How is it possible that the city is spending how much on streetscape to further support the Commonwealth{sodEmoji.|}Pecan{sodEmoji.|}Central{sodEmoji.|}Plaza as the neighborhood business district and these clowns add absolutely no retail to the ground floor in the one neighborhood of Charlotte that actively supports its business district?

I am not a fan, and I'm usually pretty open to these things. In fact, someone flashed this rendering to me last night at a restaurant and only really seeing the corner part, I said it looked great. Now I am disappointed in the beigish detail work.

The only thing the redeems it over the lack of street retail are walk out units along the street.

(Edit: tempered my wording. I was really grumpy this morning)

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It'll kill the vibe on that corner, that's for sure. Hopefully the tenants will petition to keep the other side of the street quiet and make the business's shut down earlier too! That my friends, is TRUE urban living...

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Kill the vibe on that corner? It's an overgrown field currently, across Comm Ave its an non-urban closed camera shop, and across Pecan there is a suburban style brake repair place in the middle of a GIANT surface parking lot.

I'll let Conformity defend the design this project as I'm almost certain they are the developer. I will defend the lack of retail. I've mentioned it before in the NoDa, right now you can't get a loan for a project that includes retail, or at least the banks will not give you any credit for rental income from retail units which means it makes them quite a bit more expensive to build.

The design to me is ok, nothing special. More contasting colors would help a lot.

Doors for individual units facing Pecan and Commonwealth make the groundfloor "urban". This was never going to be a small footprint building. I can get why people want ground floor retail, but we are years away from in the economic cycle where that is possible for small scale projects developed by local people.

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They are currently redeveloping that side of the street, which you already know. Why go through all that trouble to add in parking and trees, if its just going to be some front doors???

I also agree that we are years away from small scale retail projects, but a large project like this kills that opportunity down the road. I'd be ok with this project in a lot of different places, on 7th street where they took down all those old houses for example. But this is one of the few areas where ground floor retail would actually do well and probably fill up fairly quickly. Not leaving that option for the future is miss for the city.

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It's a nicer apartment building than most of those built in the University Area. To me, the building doesn't look that much different than many of those built in South End. And compared to any other area, it's a relatively small building.

I do agree that the lack of retail is a shame, but financing for mixed use is limited right now. At least these rooftops will be in walking distance of multiple storefronts, all of which could use the added foot traffic.

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I guess I'm still getting used to this lending bias against including retaill spaces. Although it is irritating to no end.

I tempered my wording above because it isn't as bad as my wording sounded. It isn't particularly bad (ie. ugly), as simply boring compared to what I would be expect is possible in architecture in this eclectic neighborhood. It is not ugly at all. And if we can't get retail, front doors of units ARE an appropriate activating element.

I don't know, though. I always envisioned a classic urban midrise here with street retail and 4-6 stories of residential above. Hard to believe King's can warrant that but the heart of Midwood, couldn't.

Oh well. In the end, residences help the community more than a vacant lot. I just need to remind my brain constantly that expectations have to be low for street retail inclusion now, even in areas that clearly could support it.

Hopefully the final building will be painted something other than beige. Stucco is fine, but we have too many beige buildings that popped up during the boom.

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The Plaza Midwood Facebook page has a site plan for the Edison in addition to the rendering, and most of the residents posting seem none too pleased. Given the footprint is even smaller than I originally thought, I am even more surprised they didn't go higher than 3 stories. There are only about 30 units in the building, and parking is a 1-entrance lot between the building and Independence, no deck. I echo the sentiments of the residents that are disappointed that they're getting a building that looks exactly like all the others built recently throughout Charlotte, and doesn't try to match the character of the neighborhood (save for a misguided stab at an Art Deco vibe to the corner entrance).

https://www.facebook.com/PlazaMidwood

In other news from their FB page, the PM Harris Teeter will close June 4th, with an expected opening of the LEED Silver(!!) new store in Q2 next year.

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