gman

Camperdown (Greenville News Building Site)

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The hotel and office building plans were both withdrawn and therefore did not go before the DRB for approval. Capllc is not commenting. Ruh roh.

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^^It's unfortunate that they are having to delay these buildings for approval, but the layout of their site plan may have been a little more problematic than they may have anticipated. Like I said earlier. The future of this property, as we see it now, would not increase the pedestrian feel in that particular part of downtown. With all the entrances of the buildings focused on the plaza, you in essence create and accentuating the dead areas already surrounding the property. We have plenty of dead spots as it is. Examples: Townes Street between Park Ave and College, Spring St between Washington and McBee. There are plenty more, but I know you get what I'm talking about. We have to, believe it or not, have to take the focus off of Main street. To increase the vitality of our downtown we have to expand outward. Our neighbor to the south, Columbia, is doing a very good job of that. Both cities are closer in downtown development than a lot of people want to admit. and they both want to keep that way. But back on subject, The city wants that area and other under developed area like it to thrive, people want to go to places that are inviting, and developers go to where the people are. But that will not happen between blank walls. I'm glad someone said, lets pump the brakes on this and reexamined it to see what can be done to make this better. 

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^^It's unfortunate that they are having to delay these buildings for approval, but the layout of their site plan may have been a little more problematic than they may have anticipated. Like I said earlier. The future of this property, as we see it now, would not increase the pedestrian feel in that particular part of downtown. With all the entrances of the buildings focused on the plaza, you in essence create and accentuating the dead areas already surrounding the property. We have plenty of dead spots as it is. Examples: Townes Street between Park Ave and College, Spring St between Washington and McBee. There are plenty more, but I know you get what I'm talking about. We have to, believe it or not, have to take the focus off of Main street. To increase the vitality of our downtown we have to expand outward. Our neighbor to the south, Columbia, is doing a very good job of that. Both cities are closer in downtown development than a lot of people want to admit. and they both want to keep that way. But back on subject, The city wants that area and other under developed area like it to thrive, people want to go to places that are inviting, and developers go to where the people are. But that will not happen between blank walls. I'm glad someone said, lets pump the brakes on this and reexamined it to see what can be done to make this better. 

:dontknow:

 

I'm confused. First you say that the entrances are all on the plaza, then you say we need to take the focus off of Main St.  Isn't putting the entrances on the plaza doing just that?  I don't see the relevance of your other examples at all. Yes, those ARE dead areas, and we don't want to create more (frankly, this site is currently as dead as it can possibly be). But what are you advocating exactly?  MORE emphasis on the plaza or less?  

 

The only problem I see is the design of the specific buildings themselves, not the placement of the buildings within the site itself.     

Edited by vicupstate

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To increase the vitality of our downtown we have to expand outward. Our neighbor to the south, Columbia, is doing a very good job of that. 

Mmmmmmmmm no, no they aren't. Columbia's pedestrian-oriented development has been almost entirely along existing linear thoroughfares: Main Street, Gervais, Harden. Your point is well taken but the example amiss. 

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^^It's unfortunate that they are having to delay these buildings for approval, but the layout of their site plan may have been a little more problematic than they may have anticipated. Like I said earlier. The future of this property, as we see it now, would not increase the pedestrian feel in that particular part of downtown. With all the entrances of the buildings focused on the plaza, you in essence create and accentuating the dead areas already surrounding the property. We have plenty of dead spots as it is. Examples: Townes Street between Park Ave and College, Spring St between Washington and McBee. There are plenty more, but I know you get what I'm talking about. We have to, believe it or not, have to take the focus off of Main street. To increase the vitality of our downtown we have to expand outward. Our neighbor to the south, Columbia, is doing a very good job of that. Both cities are closer in downtown development than a lot of people want to admit. and they both want to keep that way. But back on subject, The city wants that area and other under developed area like it to thrive, people want to go to places that are inviting, and developers go to where the people are. But that will not happen between blank walls. I'm glad someone said, lets pump the brakes on this and reexamined it to see what can be done to make this better.

:huh: How can the project be focused off Main Street when the project is mostly located along Main Street?

Edited by gman430

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Hold on. In reference to the main street question. I meant the the focus SHOULD BE ON MAIN STREET as well as the other surrounding streets, when talking about the camperdown development. But the separate conversation about the focus of other developers should be OFF main street. The people who read my post with confusion well.... I can't say what you were thinking. I am a little confused myself when only one word threw a lot of you. Considering most of you read the entire post. And thus you shouldve knew what I was trying to say. And in regards to the Columbia remark. They are trying to connect a lot of their downtown areas. Spes you know what I'm talking about. I will give credit where credit is due. This development needs to be looked at again. The developers knew it and that's not a bad thing. We need the best thing built when it gets built. Because there are no do overs.

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:dontknow:

I'm confused. First you say that the entrances are all on the plaza, then you say we need to take the focus off of Main St. Isn't putting the entrances on the plaza doing just that? I don't see the relevance of your other examples at all. Yes, those ARE dead areas, and we don't want to create more (frankly, this site is currently as dead as it can possibly be). But what are you advocating exactly? MORE emphasis on the plaza or less?

The only problem I see is the design of the specific buildings themselves, not the placement of the buildings within the site itself.

You can focus on both the plaza and street sides of the buildings. Like walk and chew gum at the same time. They can do it. It was just convenient and easier to do it the way they did. And the city just isn't going along with the plan either. Edited by MAJIKMAN

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This site is important enough that there should be street level retail fronting ALL streets, as well as the plaza. No excuse not to have ground floor retail on Main as well as Broad, as well as the plaza as much as possible. Blank walls/pedestrian dead zones are unacceptable for a development of this magnitude IMO.

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This site is important enough that there should be street level retail fronting ALL streets, as well as the plaza. No excuse not to have ground floor retail on Main as well as Broad, as well as the plaza as much as possible. Blank walls/pedestrian dead zones are unacceptable for a development of this magnitude IMO.

Doesn't the hotel's lobby/bar/restaurant all front on Main?  Also it appears a restaurant in the yet designed office/condo building will have a restaurant as well.  

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The hotel and office building plans were both withdrawn and therefore did not go before the DRB for approval. Capllc is not commenting. Ruh roh.

That is not really so negative, in my opinion. The architectural designs presented to the public were weak and the overall layout was significantly less than perfect when you consider the inevitable future development of surrounding properties. I am not a fan of the large plaza concept in that location. I would prefer a meandering pedestrian street layout with smaller plazas surrounded by intimately traditional architecture.

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The AC Marriott hotel design in Spartanburg completely puts the Greenville design to shame.

I agree. I mean I am jealous of Spartanburg right now. Never thought I would say that. :shok: Can't wait for that rooftop bar. Definitely gonna have to visit.

Edited by gman430

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I didn't realize how much I dislike the Greenville AC Marriot design until I saw the Spartanburg design.  I take it the two hotels fall under different franchises / mngt?????

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Yes. There is a difference isn't it. Now they have to step their game up. They are going to have to take their highway, off the shelf designed, hotel off the table and really get serious about what's suppose to be done.

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Yes. There is a difference isn't it. Now they have to step their game up. They are going to have to take their highway, off the shelf designed, hotel off the table and really get serious about what's suppose to be done.

For years this has been the real frustration of mine with many of the projects for DT Greenville, and I know others have shared this as well; Skyliner for example. Greenville has had some fantastic DT projects, but the architecture has been simply deplorable. Right now we have something of a building boom DT, but it's like every developer wants to throw up their 4-7 story modern box as fast as possible without any creativity or character at all. "Let's get our half glass/half brick or half concrete box with a totally flat roof and no uniqueness or style at all." The only exceptions to this recently are the Palmetto HQ from a few years ago and the proposed main and camperdown 6 story building (with the drafting table on top). The One project is a great project, but overall I do not like the architecture. I do give them points for trying some character, but the brick elevator shaft completely ruined phase 1. Phase 2 would have been really nice if not so boxy and flat, and phase 3 is just a vertical rectangle with a blah look. And they missed a real opportunity to build some great multilevel layering to the density when they made each building the exact same height. The North main/stone project is terribly frustrating as well. I really liked the first proposal with a more classic timeless look. That would have been very nice. Instead they ditched it and went with the same modern boxy suburban look. Same for Church and Univ ridge. All our peer cities can figure it out. Florence, Spartanburg, and Asheville can figure out, why not Greenville?  We have a very good mayor and a design board, why can't we get our architects to design some nice projects? The News site is a perfect example: collection of uninspired blah low-midrises with NO creativity, too much concrete, and a sense that it is "just good enough so let's build it.". And this is an out of town developer. Come on powers that be, lets do it the right way and put some creativity into our great projects!  

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^^ AMEN!!  Unlike us, out of town developers and architects don't have to live with the uncreative stuff they're erecting here.  Just as long as they make their buck and get a magazine article or award out of it.

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I love the Spartanburg hotel design, but I would NOT want to just drop that same building into the Camperdown project. It would be out of place, IMO.  It would clash with the City Hall, Peace Center and the Courtyard buildings IMO. The current Camperdown Hotel design is uninspiring, but strictly classic architecture would not be right either.  That is not what surrounds the site in the immediate vicinity.    

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None of the buildings in the Camperdown project have even been approved by the DRB have they?

^^ AMEN!! Unlike us, out of town developers and architects don't have to live with the uncreative stuff they're erecting here. Just as long as they make their buck and get a magazine article or award out of it.

Since when are Hughes, Centennial American Properties, and Windsor Aughtry considered out of town developers?

Edited by gman430

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I love the Spartanburg hotel design, but I would NOT want to just drop that same building into the Camperdown project. It would be out of place, IMO.  It would clash with the City Hall, Peace Center and the Courtyard buildings IMO. The current Camperdown Hotel design is uninspiring, but strictly classic architecture would not be right either.  That is not what surrounds the site in the immediate vicinity.    

 

Agree. That design would look amazing up closer to the Poinsett Hotel or Chamber of Commerce buildings.

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I agree that Spartanburg design can't just be dropped into the Camperdown mix, but honestly, what are these buildings going to look like 10 years from now?  I usually don't post this type of frustration and keep to myself on here, but it's frustrating to see only 1 out of every 10 projects go with the classical timeless look.  I'm not an architect and do not know a lot about it, but there just seems to be certain materials and design that will stay in style and I haven't seen a lot of them recently proposed.  Not to be the guy that posts negative and doesn't offer a solution, any ideas on whom to voice their concern to within the city?  Is it DRB?  Local councilman/ councilwoman?

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I love the Spartanburg hotel design, but I would NOT want to just drop that same building into the Camperdown project. It would be out of place, IMO. It would clash with the City Hall, Peace Center and the Courtyard buildings IMO. The current Camperdown Hotel design is uninspiring, but strictly classic architecture would not be right either. That is not what surrounds the site in the immediate vicinity.

This. Well stated.

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I love the Spartanburg hotel design, but I would NOT want to just drop that same building into the Camperdown project. It would be out of place, IMO.  It would clash with the City Hall, Peace Center and the Courtyard buildings IMO. The current Camperdown Hotel design is uninspiring, but strictly classic architecture would not be right either.  That is not what surrounds the site in the immediate vicinity.    

In some ways I agree with you, BUT, I think the Spartanburg design would look better there than what is proposed. That site is close enough to Poinsett and former Commerce building to compliment those, and the brick would do fine with the courtyard construction. While it may look a little "over dressed" for that particular site, I'd rather have that than the Walmart look in a Target parking lot. That hotel (Spartanburg) would look awesome on the "Hot Dog King" parking lot across from Poinsett and beside commerce building ( or the proposed Ct St. Condo building)!

 

I think my point (and what other's are reacting to) is that upon seeing the Spartanburg rendering, we are reminded of what a well thought out and intentionally classy design can look like as opposed to a bland, run-of-the mill modern box that looks like everything else. When was the last time we saw a rendering like that proposed for Greenville? Another thing I noticed too is that, despite their's being a 114 room hotel and our's being a 140 room hotel, their's seems to have a MUCH larger visual impact and "say" so much more than our rendering. Ours says "industrial suburban building not meant to signify or showcase anything important, just get it done." Their's says "We are breaking new ground in Spartanburg, come join us for the ride" 

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I'm catching up... so please bear with the multitude of quote boxes...

 

 

I can't repeat this enough: we need more traditional architecture in these developments.

 

What's in vogue today won't be in vogue in 15 years, and using "trendy" architecture, given all of the new construction downtown, will result in a skanky looking downtown soon, once they're out of style.  Look at the existing Greenville News building: it and the Daniel/Landmark building were stylish when built, but they were eyesores within 15 years.

 

There are plenty of architectural styles that have lasted hundreds of years.  We should have more buildings using those styles.

 

I agree 100%. I'm not a fan of trendy architecture either. Contemporary architectural designs can work - but great care must be taken to make sure people are paying attention to the details along the lower floors (essentially the bottom 30 ft).

 

 

What makes a building a high rise though? 10 stories? 15 stories? :dontknow:

 

IMO, a highrise is relative. For Greenville 10 stories is probably a highrise... but signature buildings are a different beast. I think we all like sexy skyscraper projects, but IMO anything with moderate density (3-5 floors) and an active ground floor use is better than a skyscraper. The ground floor uses are what makes a great urban place. If you ever read the Charlotte forums, I complain all the time about our buildings here. They have the height, but lack what Greenville has in terms of making a viable retail stroll district (which is why Tryon St isn't anywhere near as great as your Main St).

 

^^It's unfortunate that they are having to delay these buildings for approval, but the layout of their site plan may have been a little more problematic than they may have anticipated. Like I said earlier. The future of this property, as we see it now, would not increase the pedestrian feel in that particular part of downtown. With all the entrances of the buildings focused on the plaza, you in essence create and accentuating the dead areas already surrounding the property. We have plenty of dead spots as it is. Examples: Townes Street between Park Ave and College, Spring St between Washington and McBee. There are plenty more, but I know you get what I'm talking about. We have to, believe it or not, have to take the focus off of Main street. To increase the vitality of our downtown we have to expand outward. Our neighbor to the south, Columbia, is doing a very good job of that. Both cities are closer in downtown development than a lot of people want to admit. and they both want to keep that way. But back on subject, The city wants that area and other under developed area like it to thrive, people want to go to places that are inviting, and developers go to where the people are. But that will not happen between blank walls. I'm glad someone said, lets pump the brakes on this and reexamined it to see what can be done to make this better. 

 

I wouldn't say Columbia is doing things better, just different. Each city faces its own challenges. Columbia's downtown (including Main St, the Vista, and USC) are much more spread out and blend together. That makes it more difficult to create something cohesive. Greenville has a better problem of having the a lot crammed into less space.

 

Agree. That design would look amazing up closer to the Poinsett Hotel or Chamber of Commerce buildings.

 

I disagree. I think those buildings are close enough that they could still be used for architectural context. If you create a signature building that people love, it will set a new context. No disrespect to the Peace Center, but it's not exactly an architectural masterpiece. Don't get me wrong, it's an attractive building - but I think a site as large as the Greenville news can be it's own thing.

 

 

I agree that Spartanburg design can't just be dropped into the Camperdown mix, but honestly, what are these buildings going to look like 10 years from now?  I usually don't post this type of frustration and keep to myself on here, but it's frustrating to see only 1 out of every 10 projects go with the classical timeless look.  I'm not an architect and do not know a lot about it, but there just seems to be certain materials and design that will stay in style and I haven't seen a lot of them recently proposed.  Not to be the guy that posts negative and doesn't offer a solution, any ideas on whom to voice their concern to within the city?  Is it DRB?  Local councilman/ councilwoman?

 

Here's the thing that isn't being said about Spartanburg's AC Hotel. Spartanburg is benefiting from a major local benefactor who also happens to be the biggest real estate developer in town. I can't imagine what the pro forma looks like for that project but my sincere guess is that he's accepting a much lower and longer term cap rate than most developers would be willing to. To that end - the building will have surface parking. Most 10 story structures would have structured parking (though maybe I'm just used to how it works here in Charlotte). 

 

So, with that said - I think the advantage you have in Greenville is that you get to deal with real market forces. Camperdown exists as a project because the market says it will work, and the developer wants it to work. The challenge then becomes how the City and DRB get them to do what we all know is the right thing to do.

 

I recognize that things are in flux, but based on what I've seen, I'm not particularly impressed with the design of the office building or the hotel. The office building is lackluster. It feels like it lacks whatever it is that makes downtown special. I feel the same way about the hotel. Having the hotel bar on the ground floor is great, but what does the exterior look like, and how does it function? Based on the most recent design I'm not feeling it.

 

I think that the core concepts of the site are pretty cool. I'm a big fan of the plaza, and I think that will be great for Greenville in the long run. I didn't like the idea of having the front of the plaza fronting Broad St at first, but I quickly changed my mind. Having something like that will help spread pedestrian activity out from Main St. I mentioned creating great urban places earlier in this post. The design of the buildings in terms of how they feel for pedestrians abutting the plaza and Main St are key for this site. If they fail at that job, then the plaza is all for nothing. That said, Greenville has a pretty good track record, so as of now I'm trusting that the DRB will guide them in the right direction.

 

Edit: OH, and the movie theater is going to be huge. I think every downtown needs a movie theater (again).

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