Missmylab4

Charlotte Observer Relocation and Site Development

1079 posts in this topic

I have noticed the declining revenue at the Mclatchy Company. Most print media has had trouble keeping up with the times specifically the Charlotte Observer.

Basically, I think the site is too valuable for them not to cash in. The point WILL arrive where they will need equity to continue operation and that will mean selling the building and going somewhere cheaper. I wonder how long it will be before they sell, my over/under is five years. Also have any other city papers started to sell their buildings?

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Newspapers have really downsized recently, while I am sure there are papers that have sold their buildings I'm not aware of any. One trend I am aware of is papers micro-leasing their open office spaces. It would be very costly for the Observer to move, however micro-leasing their open spaces is basically free positive cash flow.

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^ Newspapers have been selling their downtown buildings, there has been talk about the Raleigh News and observer (also McClatchy) and the Greensboro News and Record selling their sites -- but this is still just talk. I do believe that the Chicago Sun Times sold its River North parcel back in 2006 (?) so it certainly does happen.

 

I drove by the Observer building today and did think that the site (particularly where the presses are located) is begging for a more intensive use.

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^ Newspapers have been selling their downtown buildings, there has been talk about the Raleigh News and observer (also McClatchy) and the Greensboro News and Record selling their sites -- but this is still just talk. I do believe that the Chicago Sun Times sold its River North parcel back in 2006 (?) so it certainly does happen.
The Sun Times building in Chicago was bought to be demolished for the new Trump building which is now complete. That was a very valuable piece of property.

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My dream for the site is a tall 40+ story tower built within the shell of the current Observer building.  The first two floors would be a museum (extension of the cultural district) to the media in the South particularly the Carolinas and Charlotte.  I also would like to see the Film Factory moved here with both exhibits and an arts/independent theatre.

 

The tower itself would host media companies.

 

Anyway - just a dream. :shades:

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My dream for the site is a tall 40+ story tower built within the shell of the current Observer building.  The first two floors would be a museum (extension of the cultural district) to the media in the South particularly the Carolinas and Charlotte.  I also would like to see the Film Factory moved here with both exhibits and an arts/independent theatre.

 

The tower itself would host media companies.

 

Anyway - just a dream. :shades:

Your suggestion reminds me of the Newseum in DC....basically a museum dedicated to News. It's better than it sounds and def. worth checking out. A version of that dedicated to news media in the South would be a nice addition to the Charlotte cultural scene I think. Good idea!

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Could have sworn we had a Charlotte Observer forum, but it seems the Observer has purchased a new printing facility in UCity.   They feel the current location no longer meets their needs and will probably relocate their offices in and around uptown.   That would hopefully leave the current building up for sale and hopefully redevelopment.

 

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/12/05/4521279/observer-buys-dow-jones-facility.html#.UqB5FXazKph

Edited by rjp212

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Could have sworn we had a Charlotte Observer forum, but it seems the Observer has purchased a new printing facility in UCity.   They feel the current location no longer meets their needs and will probably relocate their offices in and around uptown.   That would hopefully leave the current building up for sale and hopefully redevelopment.

 

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/12/05/4521279/observer-buys-dow-jones-facility.html#.UqB5FXazKph

Wow! That's extremely exciting. They have over 9 acres between the two blocks, so this could potentially be even more transformative than Crescent's project.

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Wow! That's extremely exciting. They have over 9 acres between the two blocks, so this could potentially be even more transformative than Crescent's project.

 

Without even reading the article, my first thought was another transformative block of redevelopment. If they do move, I can't imagine this parcel(s) staying in its current form very long. 

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Dan Morrill proposed having the Obvs building named a local historic landmark.  I don't remember is city council passed it or not, but the effect would only be a 1 year delay in demolition from the time the demoliton permit request was made.

 

That said, I'm torn.  I would hate for us to tear down one of the few decent examples of brutalist architecture, but the siting so far back from the curb makes it really hard to put in a better urban context.

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Redevelop the block(s) but have the ground floor be an homage to print media. A homegrown museum in brutalist style?

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Could you imagine if they developed that whole parcel, removing W Hill street and having that whole area be transformative......oh the possibilities.....along with a cap over 277  :whistling:

Edited by Jayvee

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That said, I'm torn.  I would hate for us to tear down one of the few decent examples of brutalist architecture, but the siting so far back from the curb makes it really hard to put in a better urban context.

"Decent Brutalist architecture" is an oxymoron to me but I guess its not the worst. I still would not mind seeing it go at all. 

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Could you imagine if they developed that whole parcel, removing W Hill street and having that whole area be transformative......oh the possibilities.....along with a cap over 277 :whistling:

I'm still trying to imagine crescent...

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Second the museum idea, and absolutely do not demolish this building.

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Could the building be gutted and used for retail? It may be a cheap way to bring more retail space into center city. Or is the building not suited for this type of repurpose?

Edited by ajfunder

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I suppose there is some merit to preserving architectural styles, but I hate this building and would love to see it torn down. The lack of activity outside of work hours makes it a prime candidate for redevelopment considering it is really the entrance to South End.

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At 360,000 sq ft, it is way too big for a single merchant, and the way it is configured I doubt that it could be functionally redone for much else.  It was built in 1971, so a 43 year life span for a built to suit building would suggest that the land would be better served as almost anything else.

 

While i understand the want to keep historic buildings, this is too big of a chunk of downtown to be ignored for redevelopment.

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I agree, the building needs to go. Its 1) ugly and 2) ridiculously low density given its location.

 

My completely unrealistic suggestion of the day: The confluence of the Portman tower, the transformative mysterious crescent project, the Observer sale and the Panther's impermanence gives Charlotte the opportunity to run dedicated ROW LRT part of the way to the airport by spiting off the blue line at Portman (running under the tower), under the crescent and observer projects (before they are built), past the South gate of BofA and then along the edge of the pipe factory storage land. Stops would be possible at Tryon, BofA (game days only) and Cedar st (an area that could really use some TOD). As a bonus this route would give the city / Richardsons some ability to redevelop the stadium land when the Pathers move to Los Angeles in 2017 :dontknow:

 

Its a shame that transit planning is so glacial.

 

Bonus stupid idea: Built the new Charlotte intercity rail station on the redeveloped BofA stadium site so its connected to the LRT network by my airport line.

Edited by kermit
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There once was a rail corridor directly through this site which connected the current LRT corridor to the old Southern station. The demolition of the building could allow for a lot of possibilities. I would like to see a transit/pedestrian mall similar to the one in Denver, only with LRT instead of buses.

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There once was a rail corridor directly through this site which connected the current LRT corridor to the old Southern station. The demolition of the building could allow for a lot of possibilities. I would like to see a transit/pedestrian mall similar to the one in Denver, only with LRT instead of buses.

 

Interesting. Is the spur that still runs to the Observer printing facility a legacy of that connector?

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I agree, the building needs to go. Its 1) ugly and 2) ridiculously low density given its location.

 

My completely unrealistic suggestion of the day: The confluence of the Portman tower, the transformative mysterious crescent project, the Observer sale and the Panther's impermanence gives Charlotte the opportunity to run dedicated ROW LRT part of the way to the airport by spiting off the blue line at Portman (running under the tower), under the crescent and observer projects (before they are built), past the South gate of BofA and then along the edge of the pipe factory storage land. Stops would be possible at Tryon, BofA (game days only) and Cedar st (an area that could really use some TOD). As a bonus this route would give the city / Richardsons some ability to redevelop the stadium land when the Pathers move to Los Angeles in 2017 :dontknow:

 

Its a shame that transit planning is so glacial.

 

Bonus stupid idea: Built the new Charlotte intercity rail station on the redeveloped BofA stadium site so its connected to the LRT network by my airport line.

 

It's unrealistic in the sense that the Panthers aren't moving anywhere  :offtopic:

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It's unrealistic in the sense that the Panthers aren't moving anywhere  :offtopic:

 

 

This x 1,000,000

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Yes, unrealistic.

 

While the relocation of the Panthers remains an open question, it is inevitable that the organization is going to come back to the city to ask for more money. The city could condition these subsidies on things like LRT ROW, or (in the case of a full stadium rebuild) building an inter city rail station under the stadium (just like Boston North Station).   While I admit that none of these ideas are realistic (or even practical) I do think the city needs to think about what it wants in return for its next round of subsidy payments. The last round of subsidies only netted the city 5 'rent free' days in BofA -- that was a laughably small ROI. The city needs to do better next time, perhaps making the Panther's contractually obligated to give the parcel back to the city in the event that they move would be a good start.

Edited by kermit

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Wow that was a little quicker than I imagined. That is a great site. I hope the buyer will add another transformative project to the block. Maybe a new mini retail cluster combined with the crescent project..... Maybe even a small stroll district. Another point to note now maybe the observer can go to Grubb, Crescent, or Portman and help get one of their spec office buildings off the ground since they will need new space. My guess is the Portman deal.

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