Missmylab4

Legacy Union (former Charlotte Observer redevelopment. BofA Office Tower + ???)

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

 

No, that was built after the removal of the connector. The connector was removed around the time I-277 was constructed as the switch was located near the center of where the current LRT bridge is now. The grade is still visible from its connection with the modern NS mainline to where it crossed S. Graham Street. The abutment for the bridge that once carried the tracks over Graham Street and the P&N tracks is still there. Here is a photo of the grade using Google Earth. The green line is where the spur I have mentioned was located. The Red is the current Charlotte Observer spur, the blue is the Blue Line, and the pink is the NS mainline and former P&N track. I find it a neat bit of Charlotte Railroad history. Before the I-277 loop downtown was boxed in with rail lines.

Alex

post-27163-0-86355500-1386280688_thumb.p

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There are still tracks running through the BofA parking area. I assume that the railroad still has an easement through there.

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Yeah that's just the spur for the Observer... but if you follow the tracks out of the parking lot you can see they're not continuous all the way to the building anymore anyways, though the crossing is still there.

 

Makes me wonder how many years it's been since the Observer got cars there.

Edited by TotalLamer
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I love others mentioning of making a museum component out of part of the Observer site which just makes sense to me (location wise).  I am not in the camp though that feels the building itself needs to be preserved.

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If you haven't read the Dec 12 Meck Times article about the Observer site, here is an excerpt of an audacious plan for the site:

http://mecktimes.com/news/2013/12/12/observers-university-purchase-could-open-up-prime-uptown-space/

 

"...the idea, first introduced in 2009 and revived again early this year, of putting a three-block-wide “cap” over the freeway that would support development linking uptown and South End, has been getting a lot of recent buzz, too. The Observer property occupies two-thirds of the Uptown landing of the planned bridge, which would span the freeway from Church Street to the Blue Line tracks."

 

A "cap", bridge, or platform, aka a reverse BIG DIG for I-277 would cost a heck of a lot of $$$...

 

Instead of having the public pay for that, they should give us what we really want:  an Airport LRT line that connects BofA Stadium (south lot), Observer, Crescent, and Portman/Stonewall:Blue Line with a terminus in the empty lot west of South Blvd so all that land could be developed... 

 

With Atlanta building a new retractable roof stadium with an underground MARTA connection, Charlotte has to think of something similar for BofA stadium and the surrounding properties if it wants to stay in the big leagues...

 

@ AJFunder and Kermit:  You guys are on to something.  A pedestrian mall with Airport LRT would be a dream...

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So sad, but was even sadder when they tore down the original 1927 building. I remember that one well as I was delivering The News back then. 

Edited by Windsurfer

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So sad, but was even sadder when they tore down the original 1927 building. I remember that one well as I was delivering The News back then.

So what happens to the site/building now?

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No immediate plans but I wonder how how long before someone presents a proposal to level it and build something in its place. It's the Charlotte way.

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When the Observer and Education Center buildings, with their late 60's gun slit windows and fortress style architecture are demolished it will be a better day.

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Too bad we can't demolish it, subsidize to build a row of small 2-4 story buildings (like those in any given small town, plaza, NoDa or Latta) and let the back of the parcel be the standard skyscraper (hey, it's way cheaper than building amateur sports or Studio Charlotte).

It'd be cool to use this site as a building block for stroll retail :) near the Panthers, Knights, Romare, Crescent & Duke Energy, Betchler/Gantt/Mint/Knight cultural campus, convention center, Light Rail Station and NASCAR HOF. The cool thing about Stonewall you have hardly any office towers sans retail spots nor parking decks making it easier to make a strollabe as opposed to south College, Tryon, Church etc.

Edited by AirNostrumMAD

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I spent the afternoon yesterday in Franklin, TN and how I'd love to cap 277 and bridge the gab between southend and downtown with Main Street in Franklin. That'd be my ultimate pipedream. We'd start by demoing the observer site and crescent would have to have a interesting street front.

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Too bad we can't demolish it, subsidize to build a row of small 2-4 story buildings (like those in any given small town, plaza, NoDa or Latta) and let the back of the parcel be the standard skyscraper (hey, it's way cheaper than building amateur sports or Studio Charlotte).

It'd be cool to use this site as a building block for stroll retail :) near the Panthers, Knights, Romare, Crescent & Duke Energy, Betchler/Gantt/Mint/Knight cultural campus, convention center, Light Rail Station and NASCAR HOF. The cool thing about Stonewall you have hardly any office towers sans retail spots nor parking decks making it easier to make a strollabe as opposed to south College, Tryon, Church etc.

 

Maybe the Knight Foundation could do this development and funnel the leasing revenue to a sustainable funding stream for the foundation.  

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That would be great. This is the only way I see retail happening realistically anytime soon that or a casino. Maybe a Denver Pavilion, somewhere like 300 South Tryon.

I am starting to think that pushing the stroll district on Brevard will Never materialize and turn into a Levine "white elephant." The city needs to add incentives for converting ground floor space to retail.

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http://m.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/real_estate/2014/02/extra-extra-more-thoughts-on-the-observers-uptown.html

I wonder if they could retrofit it for retail.

Eliminate Hill St. Put a parking deck there and reserve the back of the lot for future development?

How many sq ft. is the building?? Could you imagine this becoming one massive retail development?? As much as I would love street retail all over the city, one giant mecca for it would be an awesome start.

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That location deserves far more density IMHO. No reason to save that building.

Inclined to agree with that more. I was saying if they save it, retrofit as a giant retail (something) would be awesome. But if I had to choose, make way for something new.

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Inclined to agree with that more. I was saying if they save it, retrofit as a giant retail (something) would be awesome. But if I had to choose, make way for something new.

Just hope it doesn't become a parking lot in the meantime. How else would they generate revenue on that lot if CO largely abandoned it?

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How many sq ft. is the building?? Could you imagine this becoming one massive retail development?? As much as I would love street retail all over the city, one giant mecca for it would be an awesome start.

 

360,000 sqft... More than enough for a sizable retail development if it were to be redeveloped.. Though, from everything I've read it would call for a big chunk of money if the site were to be sold. It was assigned a $21M tax value a few years ago. 

Edited by wend28

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And an all cash deal. Wonder if the city would do something?

So I wonder once CO packs up what would the owners do? let the building sit? No revenue?

Bulldoze it and make it a parking lot (if that's allowed anymore)?

come up with a plan to make it more attractive to buyers?

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360,000 sqft... More than enough for a sizable retail development if it were to be redeveloped.. Though, from everything I've read it would call for a big chunk of money if the site were to be sold. It was assigned a $21M tax value a few years ago. 

boo.

You are basically advocating a mall. This is the opposite of what we should want.

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boo.

You are basically advocating a mall. This is the opposite of what we should want.

Why not a "mall"? Make the back side a lobby/ball room/meeting space for future Highrise development and parking. The front and sides could be outward facing retail 2 stories. Combined With Crescent & Duke tower, that's a huge retail area.

Of course not that we could even absorb all that retail space or crescent happens or the CO site ever becomes retail.

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