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Proposal: Downtown Convention Center


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https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2019/10/01/greenville-county-sc-vote-funds-downtown-conference-center-reedy-river/3823126002/ 

House budget includes the $19 million for this project. Slated to pass by the end of the month with signature by the governor shortly after. 

^^ $26 million from each State, city and county.  City and County have already committed their part.  Land is being donated.  I think there is a private fundraising involved too. 

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13 hours ago, gman430 said:

Hopefully the private portion will be. Otherwise this project will be a letdown. 

It's time for a taller building now. The place is busting at the seams with growth. Glad we're adding density, but it's time for at least one building to go past the current tallest which was built in the 60s.

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Repurpose the existing convention center and upgrade this "conference center" into a full fledged convention center. The building itself won't be all that short IMO, since I've counted 5-6 floors. I can't but help but to think of Mint Musuem in Uptown Charlotte which would be a great size for this building if it were strictly a convention center. 

I think if the building is built to current sq footage, then it should at least be built "expansion ready" in case it truly isn't enough space. I do also wish GCMA 'annex' was larger. In a dream world, GCMA would locate to the County Square development and additional square footage could be taken by the conference center. This provides the West End firmly with two distinct museums and brings an additional point of interest to County Square. 

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On 8/24/2021 at 8:44 PM, GvilleSC said:

If the massing ends up actually being that boring (which could happen due to cost), then put it at the South location and preserve the River for the private investment. 

I disagree. If there’s a high rise proposed, it will look taller on the south side of the site than the north side due to it being at a higher elevation. Leave the lower elevation part of the site for the short stack I say.

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4 hours ago, gman said:

If freaking Cobb County in Georgia can build a $600 million baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves there is NO reason why the City of Greenville can’t do $150 million for this. Dorothy Dowe and Russell Stall are right. They only have one chance at this. The city needs to put up or shut up. Go big or go home. 

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1 hour ago, gman430 said:

If freaking Cobb County in Georgia can build a $600 million baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves there is NO reason why the City of Greenville can’t do $150 million for this. Dorothy Dowe and Russell Stall are right. They only have one chance at this. The city needs to put up or shut up. Go big or go home. 

There is no comparison between the size of Cobb County and it’s tax revenue versus the city of Greenville. Plus, the Braves paid for more than half of the total cost. 

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23 hours ago, gman430 said:

If freaking Cobb County in Georgia can build a $600 million baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves there is NO reason why the City of Greenville can’t do $150 million for this. Dorothy Dowe and Russell Stall are right. They only have one chance at this. The city needs to put up or shut up. Go big or go home. 

That was also famously lauded at the time as one of the most egregious public cash grabs in which Cobb County got fleeced, so, um, maybe not the best analogy 

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12 hours ago, GVLover said:

"Still, as it stands, the sheer square footage of the project, 225,000 square feet, dwarfs the event space provided by the second largest competitor, the Hyatt Regency’s 14,381 square feet, according to the study featured in the presentation from Aug. 23’s City Council work session"

Does "sheer square footage" = event space?    This seems like it is not an apples to apples comparison if it also includes the museum, etc. (and purposefully misleading.)   The following text goes on to clarify " a 25,000-square-foot primary event space for corporate events and exhibitions."  It then goes on to clarify we get 25,000 only if the city doesnt "stick to 17,500."    So is it really 17,500 to 14,381?    Something smells fishy. 

Is it just me or does this article seem slanted towards keeping this small while downplaying its impact on other hotels? It almost sounds like the city is subsidizing an event space connected to the Embassy Suites that will take business from all of the other hotels in town.  If true, I would not be happy if I was the Hyatt and others.

We only get one shot at this Greenville, please don't screw it up.

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16 minutes ago, gvegascple said:

"Still, as it stands, the sheer square footage of the project, 225,000 square feet, dwarfs the event space provided by the second largest competitor, the Hyatt Regency’s 14,381 square feet, according to the study featured in the presentation from Aug. 23’s City Council work session"

Does "sheer square footage" = event space?    This seems like it is not an apples to apples comparison if it also includes the museum, etc. (and purposefully misleading.)   The following text goes on to clarify " a 25,000-square-foot primary event space for corporate events and exhibitions."  It then goes on to clarify we get 25,000 only if the city doesnt "stick to 17,500."    So is it really 17,500 to 14,381?    Something smells fishy.

Is it just me or does this article seem slanted towards keeping this small?

Project components featured across the various renderings include a 25,000-square-foot primary event space for corporate events and exhibitions, a 10,000-square-foot banquet hall, 8,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a total of 24,000-square-feet of pre-function space.  

An 80,000-square-foot museum and gallery featuring art from Bob Jones University and the current Greenville County Museum of Art has also long been part of the discussion. 

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42 minutes ago, vicupstate said:

Project components featured across the various renderings include a 25,000-square-foot primary event space for corporate events and exhibitions, a 10,000-square-foot banquet hall, 8,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a total of 24,000-square-feet of pre-function space.  

An 80,000-square-foot museum and gallery featuring art from Bob Jones University and the current Greenville County Museum of Art has also long been part of the discussion. 

There seems to be a lot of misdirection/obfuscation  with all of these numbers. 

The article goes on to state "According to the city, the five-year economic impact from the conference center is expected to reach almost $23.5 million if the city sticks with a 17,500-square-foot center versus $30 million with a 25,000-square-foot complex." 

The Museum is nice and everything but isn't the primary purpose (and what we are calling it) a convention center?

So we are getting a 17,500 sq ft. conference/exhibition center (when comparing event space to event space, apples to apples)  That hardly dwarfs the Hyatt.  Its just a teeny tiny bit bigger, brand new and shiny, paid for by taxpayers, and connected to the Embassy Suites, right?

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21 minutes ago, gvegascple said:

There seems to be a lot of misdirection/obfuscation  with all of these numbers. 

The article goes on to state "According to the city, the five-year economic impact from the conference center is expected to reach almost $23.5 million if the city sticks with a 17,500-square-foot center versus $30 million with a 25,000-square-foot complex." 

The Museum is nice and everything but isn't the primary purpose (and what we are calling it) a convention center?

So we are getting a 17,500 sq ft. conference/exhibition center (when comparing event space to event space, apples to apples)  That hardly dwarfs the Hyatt.  Its just a teeny tiny bit bigger, brand new and shiny, paid for by taxpayers, and connected to the Embassy Suites, right?

 include a 25,000-square-foot primary event space for corporate events and exhibitions, a 10,000-square-foot banquet hall, 8,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a total of 24,000-square-feet of pre-function space.  

 

The bold part is what you are missing.

 

The museums are already funded and they make the center a stronger destination for getting convention/conference business.  

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37 minutes ago, vicupstate said:

 include a 25,000-square-foot primary event space for corporate events and exhibitions, a 10,000-square-foot banquet hall, 8,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a total of 24,000-square-feet of pre-function space.  

 

The bold part is what you are missing.

 

The museums are already funded and they make the center a stronger destination for getting convention/conference business.  

I haven't missed any of that.  Those numbers seem to obfuscate more than shed light. I want an event space to event space comparison and planned vs not planned.  So take out the Museum, take out the banquet halls, take out "pre function space" and take out the 24,000 or 25,000 number and use the actual one 17,500.  apples to apples.

 Its 17,500 sq. ft. to 14,381 sq. ft. isn't it? 

It seems to my untrained eye like the Embassy Suites is making out like literally like a bandit here.  All  the extra stuff is just more reason not to choose other hotels as conference center options for similar sized event needs.  If x company needs 17,500 sq ft or less this is the sweet spot.    If x company needs 20,000 or more this one is too small despite all of the lovely extras.  The 24,000/25,000 number being used is not planned, 17,500 is.  Could we get sued by Hyatt for building this as it is planned ?

They need to go bigger here to not screw the hotels we have courted to be here with convention space (well other than the Embassy Suites that is.)    We need to go bigger here because this is the last space to do this and we wont get another.  We need to go bigger here because its the last spot on the river to build something of any substance downtown.  As it is currently planned, it feels more like a tax payer funded expansion to the embassy suites, and less like the new Greenville convention center.

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^^ The Hyatt doesn't have the other spaces [42,000 SF] that the new center would provide.  The Hyatt has 14,381 SF vs either 17,500SF  or 25,000SF.

   Yes, the Embassy Suites would be the preferred hotel, that is why the owner is donating the land.

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53 minutes ago, vicupstate said:

^^ The Hyatt doesn't have the other spaces [42,000 SF] that the new center would provide.  The Hyatt has 14,381 SF vs either 17,500SF  or 25,000SF.

   Yes, the Embassy Suites would be the preferred hotel, that is why the owner is donating the land.

So it is basically a city-funded expansion of the Embassy Suites Hotel (I thought there was even going to be a sky bridge connecting them) and in direct competition with other hotels then.  This is out of my wheelhouse, does this kind of thing happen all the time? is it legal?  I would think it could be avoided if they just made the damn thing bigger.  When you say the owner donated the land,  is the owner the owner of the Embassy suites or just the person that sold land to Embassy suites?  Is it just me or is this how Grisham novels start off?

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29 minutes ago, gvegascple said:

So it is basically a city-funded expansion of the Embassy Suites Hotel (I thought there was even going to be a sky bridge connecting them) and in direct competition with other hotels then.  This is out of my wheelhouse, does this kind of thing happen all the time? is it legal?  I would think it could be avoided if they just made the damn thing bigger.  When you say the owner donated the land,  is the owner the owner of the Embassy suites or just the person that sold land to Embassy suites?

Phil Hughes and Bo Aughtry donated the land for this project. Hopefully the city makes the conference bigger than what is currently planned so it compliments the Hyatt instead of competing with it. 

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2 hours ago, gvegascple said:

I haven't missed any of that.  Those numbers seem to obfuscate more than shed light. I want an event space to event space comparison and planned vs not planned.  So take out the Museum, take out the banquet halls, take out "pre function space" and take out the 24,000 or 25,000 number and use the actual one 17,500.  apples to apples.

 

I'm not sure I follow the simplifying down of a very complex program of spaces that will all support the function of this new facility. When someone is booking a convention, they are going to be looking at all of those spaces for their use. Maybe it's a welcome event the night before hosted in one of the art museum galleries, a pre-function space breakfast the next day, conference seminars in banquet halls, and a full afternoon gathering in the largest event space to close out the event. 

This is not a taxpayer-funded expansion of Embassy Suites. That's a simplification of the circumstances for the sake of outrage.  

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2 hours ago, gvegascple said:

So it is basically a city-funded expansion of the Embassy Suites Hotel (I thought there was even going to be a sky bridge connecting them) and in direct competition with other hotels then.  This is out of my wheelhouse, does this kind of thing happen all the time? is it legal?  I would think it could be avoided if they just made the damn thing bigger.  When you say the owner donated the land,  is the owner the owner of the Embassy suites or just the person that sold land to Embassy suites?  Is it just me or is this how Grisham novels start off?

It is a private-public partnership, which is exactly what built the Hyatt. The city owned the conference space and the atrium/outdoor plaza and the Hyatt owned the hotel itself.  When the renovation to the Hyatt was done a few years back, the Hyatt bought the city's holdings, but that was 25-35 years after it was built. 

Bo Aughtry  owns the front project parcel by the river. One of the Hughes brothers (I thought it was Bob) owns the back parcel of the project.   Obviously Aughtry stands to gain from increased use of his Embassy property and by the Embassy annex that will be part of the private investment.  Hughes will benefit from the private investment he will make from the presence of the center and museums. 

It is a win-win-win. The other hotels in town will benefit from the larger 'tourism pie' the center will bring plus, Embassy will probably stop seeking non-convention travelers most of the time, allowing those business/pleasure customers to fill hotel beds elsewhere.    

2 hours ago, gman430 said:

Phil Hughes and Bo Aughtry donated the land for this project. Hopefully the city makes the conference bigger than what is currently planned so it compliments the Hyatt instead of competing with it. 

The Hyatt and the new center may compete for some of the smaller events, but the new center would have much more space overall, and would be on the river and offer the museums as a bonus.  The center will accomodate much bigger events than the Hyatt could ever handle.   

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4 hours ago, gman430 said:

Phil Hughes and Bo Aughtry donated the land for this project. Hopefully the city makes the conference bigger than what is currently planned so it compliments the Hyatt instead of competing with it. 

This

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2 hours ago, vicupstate said:

It is a private-public partnership, which is exactly what built the Hyatt. The city owned the conference space and the atrium/outdoor plaza and the Hyatt owned the hotel itself.  When the renovation to the Hyatt was done a few years back, the Hyatt bought the city's holdings, but that was 25-35 years after it was built. 

Bo Aughtry  owns the front project parcel by the river. One of the Hughes brothers (I thought it was Bob) owns the back parcel of the project.   Obviously Aughtry stands to gain from increased use of his Embassy property and by the Embassy annex that will be part of the private investment.  Hughes will benefit from the private investment he will make from the presence of the center and museums. 

It is a win-win-win. The other hotels in town will benefit from the larger 'tourism pie' the center will bring plus, Embassy will probably stop seeking non-convention travelers most of the time, allowing those business/pleasure customers to fill hotel beds elsewhere.    

The Hyatt and the new center may compete for some of the smaller events, but the new center would have much more space overall, and would be on the river and offer the museums as a bonus.  The center will accomodate much bigger events than the Hyatt could ever handle.   

I hope the private part paying for some of this is the Embassy Suites (Aughtry owns this ES?  that would explain the land donation better, I wasn't sure if he owned the Hotel or sold his land to the Hotel.)  They are going to make a killing off of the convention center.  It just seems weird that they have so much to gain and have so little skin in this.   It really doesn't seem  equitable to the other hotels unless this is much larger and less competition although either way, Embassy Suites wins.  

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