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Legacy Union (former Charlotte Observer redevelopment)


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As for strollable retail, who says the old Duke Energy building needs to stay there?  If'n that were to go as well you could see a significant street impact including the Duke Energy Tower base and Mint base.

 

Long time away I am sure!

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All of UP looking at this post.  

Sorry I’m late. Traffic was a mess. All of those damn protestors from Atlanta and Winston-Salem that are upset.    

Are you the key master?  I am the gate keeper.

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What a wonderful opportunity for a huge structure, i.e. ten floors businesses, ten floors hotel, ten floors, condos,  with two bottom levels (possibly subterranean) of retail, I.E., very cool boutiques, a very appealing international food court, cafes, bars, and unique retail shops (camera shops, bookstore,  jewelers, etc.) not available uptown. It could be something like you would see in Montreal or Munich. This would be the icing on the cake in my humble opinion. I just hope this happens before I am too old to fully enjoy this kind of thing.

 

No underground retail or retail that is hidden away. Go see how the retail in Peachtree Center are doing on the weekend (hint: dead). Southern cities simply can't have retail hidden away and honestly major retailers that are going to be big drivers of customers won't like that location either. If the project has any retail beyond 2,000 SF retail bays, it would have to have iconic positioning within the development and would only get a B retailer, in my opinion.

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Heres what i'd do. I'd want to keep it at a very human scale. 

• 2 Hotels. 250 rooms and 400 rooms, respectively. 

• 1 Hotel and Apartment Combo 150 rooms hotel 150 residences. 

• 18 floor residential with 350 apartments

• 15 floor residential with 250 apartments

• 2 ten floor residential with 100 apartments each

• 5 floor brownstone type development fronting a hill steet linear park with ground floor retail. 

• Small scale residences sprinkled everywhere on top of a network of retail.
• A large 2 acre park fronting Mint Street. 

• A large connected office complex with a 5 floor podium connecting a 10 floor office building and 42 floor office building. 

 

So the stats would be. 

900 hotel rooms + 50 Townhome/Brownstone/small scale flats

950 apartments and condos

1,500,000 million sq feet office

100,000 sq feet of retail.

2.5 acres of park land

 

6,000 subterranean parking spaces.

 

Here is my siteplan (time to actually do work, at work)

post-17104-0-47840300-1420647764_thumb.p

 

Sorry that the perspective is slightly off, I did the Mint street portion first, and then figured it out when it was too late.

Edited by Guest
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Heres what i'd do. I'd want to keep it at a very human scale. 

• 2 Hotels. 250 rooms and 400 rooms, respectively. 

• 1 Hotel and Apartment Combo 150 rooms hotel 150 residences. 

• 18 floor residential with 350 apartments

• 15 floor residential with 250 apartments

• 2 ten floor residential with 100 apartments each

• 5 floor brownstone type development fronting a hill steet linear park with ground floor retail. 

• Small scale residences sprinkled everywhere on top of a network of retail.

• A large 2 acre park fronting Mint Street. 

• A large connected office complex with a 5 floor podium connecting a 10 floor office building and 42 floor office building. 

 

So the stats would be. 

900 hotel rooms + 50 Townhome/Brownstone/small scale flats

950 apartments and condos

1,500,000 million sq feet office

100,000 sq feet of retail.

2.5 acres of park land

 

6,000 subterranean parking spaces.

 

Here is my siteplan (time to actually do work, at work)

attachicon.gifWhatIdDo.png

 

Sorry that the perspective is slightly off, I did the Mint street portion first, and then figured it out when it was too late.

If only Lincoln Harris & Charlotte had your vision :(

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I think a ton of studios facing Panthers Stadium would sell very well for those who want to 'tailgate' with a few extra amenities. This has been a popular concept at many colleges around the US for people who come in long distances for games and don't want to pack up all the grilling equipment, etc. each week.

 

Other than that, I wouldn't face too much residential towards the stadium. All of those residents would be OFF the grid during any game unable to use their cell phone. 

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While anything is possible, I don't see Stonewall as a stroll retail street at all aside from this project and Tryon place, and I'd bet that will just feel more like clustering around Tryon. It's kind of an arterial street at rush hour so a road diet will not be happening, and past the Tryon Place site you have a big dead zone on both sides of the street at the convention center and Westin (though helped a bit by having the lightrail stop there admittedly), and then past that it becomes dauntingly wide and has the imposing intersection at South/Brevard. Any retail at the other Crescent site will be on a bit of an island then, so while I think the rumored Whole Foods or something similar definitely works, I wouldn't expect a lot of smaller storefronts to survive there. 

 

Has any notion of Stonewall as a retail corridor been acknowledged aside from our daydreaming here? Assuming Brevard to be a lost cause, I'd much rather see that attention go to West Trade (streetcar, a few older unique buildings, more inviting scale of street, central to lots of other interest points), or the 1st Ward Park area (blank slate with several suitable streets and existing interest from the 7th street market, park, and lightrail).

 

Sorry for going off topic but I've been a little perplexed every time this discussion about Stonewall crops up. 

 

I can't speak for everyone, but my opinion is that every street in uptown deserves the high quality architecture and urban design treatment so that pedestrians want to be there. The fact that there is a lot of vehicular traffic makes it all that much more important to have a higher quality pedestrian environment. I view all of uptown as the 'stroll district' and that concept should not be confined to one or two streets. It may not always take the form of a 'retail' street (which is generally what is meant by a 'stroll district'), but as long as there are active building fronts (read: doors and windows to businesses and residences - even if it's a lobby) then it will feel good to walk there - and more importantly, it will feel better than it does today.

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I can't speak for everyone, but my opinion is that every street in uptown deserves the high quality architecture and urban design treatment so that pedestrians want to be there. The fact that there is a lot of vehicular traffic makes it all that much more important to have a higher quality pedestrian environment. I view all of uptown as the 'stroll district' and that concept should not be confined to one or two streets. It may not always take the form of a 'retail' street (which is generally what is meant by a 'stroll district'), but as long as there are active building fronts (read: doors and windows to businesses and residences - even if it's a lobby) then it will feel good to walk there - and more importantly, it will feel better than it does today.

I completely agree, and I wasn't arguing to give up on Stonewall or anywhere else. Just that maybe we need to manage our expectations a little bit, as it doesn't seem like the most likely candidate to turn into a retail utopia.

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I completely agree, and I wasn't arguing to give up on Stonewall or anywhere else. Just that maybe we need to manage our expectations a little bit, as it doesn't seem like the most likely candidate to turn into a retail utopia.

I think it is the most likely "retail utopia" that can support big chains and a big parking garage. I wouldn't call the Metropolitan area a "stroll district" but it is a solid retail center.

Also I think it would be more convenient for surrounding neighborhoods to have retail along 277 than on Trade Street.

I still don't think anything happens with this property this decade anyway. Its a very valueable, large piece of land.

Edited by AirNostrumMAD
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I still don't think anything happens with this property this decade anyway. Its a very valueable, large piece of land.

I disagree with the last statement. I doubt anything happens with this property on the Stadium Sid in the next 10. I think something absolutely happens with the Tryon Frontage in the next 5 years. They are on the ROI business, unlike Daniel Levine. They will develop something to that makes money, to justify owning the other 4.5 acres.

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Johnny Harris has a record that speaks for itself. He's been instrumental in the development of South park & Ballentyne& he has helped Charlotte land events like the Final Four, Wells Fargo Championship etc. I doubt he spends 30 million plus on a piece of land& does nothing for 10 plus years

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Johnny Harris has a record that speaks for itself. He's been instrumental in the development of South park & Ballentyne& he has helped Charlotte land events like the Final Four, Wells Fargo Championship etc. I doubt he spends 30 million plus on a piece of land& does nothing for 10 plus years

This land purchase really puts some strain on the cities ownership of the reclaimed highway parcels. I know there are plans for one of them, and they are building on another, but Its going to be hard for them to gain traction with any of the others in the cycle. I wonder why nobody is buying the City properties, there is far less work to be done on those parcels than the Charlotte Observer site.

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Johnny Harris has a record that speaks for itself. He's been instrumental in the development of South park & Ballentyne& he has helped Charlotte land events like the Final Four, Wells Fargo Championship etc. I doubt he spends 30 million plus on a piece of land& does nothing for 10 plus years

Well, the end of the decade is 5 years not 10+.

I don't see an office tower starting construction within 5 years assuming Tryon Place is built. I am skeptical of a large residential being built, Maybe a large hotel, but I'm not sure depending on the other projects uptown.

A base, like epicenter, that was built to support future Highrise development I could see. Maybe a Lowrise apartment complex near the Panthers stadium like Woodfield on Graham.

That's my opinion though.

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Well, the end of the decade is 5 years not 10+.

I don't see an office tower starting construction within 5 years assuming Tryon Place is built. I am skeptical of a large residential being built, Maybe a large hotel, but I'm not sure depending on the other projects uptown.

A base, like epicenter, that was built to support future Highrise development I could see. Maybe a Lowrise apartment complex near the Panthers stadium like Woodfield on Graham.

That's my opinion though.

I agree that no high rise office tower gets built but I can see some form if retail& maybe even the long sought after flagship convention center hotel
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Who foresaw three and maybe four office towers being built, as it appears possible right now ?

Many of us had been complaining for a couple years there was no office projects Breaking ground. So I'm not sure "foresaw" is as accurate a term as much as "it's about time."

The current proposals are no brainers.

On a fantasy note; hope that if we do get a super large hotel... It looks like Westin Atlanta. Love, love, love Westin ATL. And Speaking of Atlanta, mine as well wish for an Aquarium to.

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Many of us had been complaining for a couple years there was no office projects Breaking ground. So I'm not sure "foresaw" is as accurate a term as much as "it's about time."

The current proposals are no brainers.

On a fantasy note; hope that if we do get a super large hotel... It looks like Westin Atlanta. Love, love, love Westin ATL

 

Of course I follow, but I wouldn't discount the possibility of exponential gowth for a time as Uptown seems to be coming into his own and the nation isn't confusing it for Charleston so much.

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So the confluence of the Observer site, Portman and Tryon Place combined with Mercedes CEO statements about the importance of transit in their move to Atlanta has me thinking about managing Charlotte's growth over the next 50 years.

Mercedes move makes clear the significance of transit accessible airports for Knowledge firm growth (HQs of manufacturing firms included). While it may be tough to make the case for rail to CLT now, the presence / possibility of that link in the near future could be very important to generating the kind of economic growth Charlotte most desires. The 2025 plan to use streetcar style connections to the airport seems awfully provincial now (too slow). Dedicated ROW LRT service which is directly connected to our main transit spine (the Blue Line) I think will be the minimal connection between uptown and CLT to attract more corp HQ activity.

We already know that routing the West line ROW is problematic. (Mixed traffic streetcar on Wilkinson is too slow and sharing ROW with Norfolk Southern reduces our ability to develop regional and intercity passenger rail). So I'll again suggest that the city should plan for a LRT route to branch off the existing blue line between 277 and the Portman tower, cut and cover tunnel the line under Hill street (and allocating space for a station in the Observer area and the park on the Cap), run along the edge of Charlotte Pipe land and then over / under 77 and through the Bryant Park area on Morehead. I'll let someone else solve the problem of how to get from Wilkinson / Morehead to the airport people mover. (I just returned from Chicago, how about an El?)

I know it will never happen, but now (well, five years ago actually) is the time to stake out this transit routing (before construction begins on these three significant parcels) and this high-speed link seems more critical to shaping growth now than it did pre-Mercedes.

Semi-off topic ramble over...

 

Awesome idea.  The abandoned railroad tracks on the Observer site have always intrigued me-- what if they originated at the Blue Line in an underground station beneath the new Portman tower, then ran then westward to CLT along the route you mentioned?  Cut and over beneath Hill St does seem to be the best option.  

 

If the city really wants to land a Super Bowl one day, all that hotel space plus a connection to CLT would get the NFL's attention...

 

Someone also mentioned a while back that something similar to Denver's 16th Street Mall would be nice to explore...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looking at parcels, and there is a section across from BOA Stadium currently occupied by a Sheet Metal business that is not owned by the pension fund that controls the Observer site.  It is not a big site, but it is going to be expensive for Lincoln Harris to buy it.  I have met the owner and have been in the shop.  It is quite facinating, and the owner knows he is sitting on a bucket of bucks.

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Looking at parcels, and there is a section across from BOA Stadium currently occupied by a Sheet Metal business that is not owned by the pension fund that controls the Observer site.  It is not a big site, but it is going to be expensive for Lincoln Harris to buy it.  I have met the owner and have been in the shop.  It is quite facinating, and the owner knows he is sitting on a bucket of bucks.

 

It might do him well to remember the guy that owned a small piece of land next to BOA stadium when they were putting the land together for the stadium.  We all remember this chunk of random hedges, right?  This was thanks to a guy trying to extort the Panthers.  I believe he was finally bought out recently for a much lower price than what he thought he would get.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

One negative that came out of this week: 

Johnny Harris of Lincoln Harris said that the news of them being under contract to purchase the Charlotte Observer land was purely speculation by the Charlotte Observer. It will be interesting to see if this is true or not. A lot is at stake for this land, so maybe they are just being careful and hush hush. It will be something to keep an eye on over the next few months.

 

Also interesting... Why the hell would the Observer speculate on the sale of their own building, shouldn't they know?!

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Observer building is owned by McClathcy pension fund, which is almost assuradly "walled off" as far as the investment management staff not having any communication with the publication staff.  I'm certain there is no direct way for Observer peeps to talk directly to people in charge of selling properties, but obviously rumor mills may make their way through the company.

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Regardless of what happens - I still hold a hope that somehow the printing presses machinery in the Observer building which are amazing are somehow incorporated into a museum/cultural zone of the Levine Center for the Arts.   Could one imagine a NEWSEUM of the South in CLT?   Far Fetched I agree - but damn if I moved to the QC to be a realist and not a dreamer!

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