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spartanburgh

W Main Street & Daniel Morgan Ave (Royce Camp Mixed-use building)

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The precedent has already been set. The Event Rentals building was required to be 2 stories, but its only one. This code was written by people

who dream of things, but are not the people who will lay the money down to build. To be able to go over 4 stories after 60ft from Main St. means

that you have very little square footage left to build, but are still in need of elevator service and two stair towers. That doesn't leave much square

footage on the small sites along Main St. to justify anything over 4 stories. It is very unfortunate that the code satisfies the do nothings, but not the

developers.

 

 

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Yeah, seems like height restrictions do more to discourage density and handcuff people with capital than anything. Good news is the downtown code is just a plan, and plans can be amended.

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That's not entirely accurate. While it can certainly be changed, the Downtown Code is adopted as ordinance, so it is law-binding unless council grants a variance. 

 

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53 minutes ago, spartanburgh said:

The precedent has already been set. The Event Rentals building was required to be 2 stories, but its only one. This code was written by people

who dream of things, but are not the people who will lay the money down to build. To be able to go over 4 stories after 60ft from Main St. means

that you have very little square footage left to build, but are still in need of elevator service and two stair towers. That doesn't leave much square

footage on the small sites along Main St. to justify anything over 4 stories. It is very unfortunate that the code satisfies the do nothings, but not the

developers.

 

 

That is incorrect. Single-story buildings are allowed in the DT-4 district, so the Event Rentals building is compliant.

I don't disagree with the economics of land development, and what you are saying is definitely true from a development standpoint. But, lets talk about this objectively for a second. We all want developers to be able to build vertically. I'm certainly not opposed to the idea at all. I would love to see more skyscrapers in Spartanburg. But, where are the best places for them to be built? If you were a developer, where would you want to build? As someone who cares about the future of this city, where would you like to see one built?

First, Let's talk about where the height restricted area is located, and what it actually affects. Here is the map of the blocks with the restriction so everyone is on the same page. The orange lines are what we're interested in. These are the block faces where there is a height restriction. (The black dots indicate ground floor retail.)

spgheightlimit.JPG.df826333a5a25e8a74cf7

Now, in a quick look at the parcels along the blocks with a height restriction, there are a total of 64 parcels that have frontage on Main Street. Of those parcels, there are a grand total of one (1) vacant parcels - the Camp building site. You could also include the Sparkle City Mini-Putt parcel which brings us to two. The HJ parcel is not technically vacant, but since we know it's targeted for development let's go ahead and count it - now we're up to three parcels. The building shell next to Lime Leaf is technically vacant, but I'm assuming they want to restore some semblance of a historic structure there. So, let's leave the total at three (3) parcels. That means that the height restriction only affects the building potential of 4.7% of parcels. We keep having this debate (which is a great one to have) but other than the Camp building site and the HJ, why would we want developers to be able to go vertical on those blocks?

If you're a developer, going vertical is the only way to get your pro forma to work out in a downtown, urban setting. If we allow developers to go vertical on the block faces where there is a height restriction, that means losing historic buildings. That means 95.3% of the parcels on these blocks represent 100% our very few historic structures fronting Main St (and in downtown as a whole) could be torn down. So my point here is this: if we're being objective and you look at the actual function of the height restriction, then the conclusion is that actually serves as a way to preserve what precious few historic building fronts that we have in this city because it works as a disincentive to vertical development on blocks where we have historic buildings.

So I'll ask this question: what is the advantage of removing the height restriction? Would y'all actually rather have no height restriction, or would you rather see council grant a variance for the three parcels that are realistically negatively impacted by the height limit? I'll take the latter.

 

 

 

 

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Spartan, I get what you're saying and agree that the height restriction on Main acts as a disincentive to demolish historic buildings and redevelop.  However, we don't have the explosive growth of a Charlotte or Raleigh, so there isn't nearly the pressure to replace historic buildings with taller, new ones.  And even in Greenville, which is having a TON of growth, their historic buildings aren't really being threatened.  (Aside: I think they actually have a limit similar to ours, but they have already allowed several projects to break that limit [ex. ONE], and more to come.)  So I think that whole idea is somewhat unrealistic.

Also, there are a few more options for redevelopment on that portion of Main than you mentioned, that wouldn't impact historic buildings, such as: the parking lot next to Smith's Drugs, Diamond Jewelers (and maybe the State Theater shell), and even the lawyer's office next to King Street.  This portion of Main is the heart of downtown.  Where else would it make sense for a developer to build tall?  If we really want to protect our historic buildings (which I agree we should), why not only put an overlay specifically on those properties?

I'm fine with variances for new projects instead, but if you grant a bunch of them, a precedent is set and the height limit is as good as eliminated in practice anyway.  Hence my suggestion of specifically protecting the historic buildings (like "landmarking" in NYC).  I'm glad things downtown are heating up to the point that we are having this discussion.

(PS - Event Rentals is in DT-5, which requires 2 floors, so like spartanburgh said, they were granted a variance. Very little land is actually DT-4; just the neighborhood near the old TK Gregg site.)

Edited by westsider28

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3 hours ago, westsider28 said:

Spartan, I get what you're saying and agree that the height restriction on Main acts as a disincentive to demolish historic buildings and redevelop.  However, we don't have the explosive growth of a Charlotte or Raleigh, so there isn't nearly the pressure to replace historic buildings with taller, new ones.  And even in Greenville, which is having a TON of growth, their historic buildings aren't really being threatened.  (Aside: I think they actually have a limit similar to ours, but they have already allowed several projects to break that limit [ex. ONE], and more to come.)  So I think that whole idea is somewhat unrealistic.

Also, there are a few more options for redevelopment on that portion of Main than you mentioned, that wouldn't impact historic buildings, such as: the parking lot next to Smith's Drugs, Diamond Jewelers (and maybe the State Theater shell), and even the lawyer's office next to King Street.  This portion of Main is the heart of downtown.  Where else would it make sense for a developer to build tall?  If we really want to protect our historic buildings (which I agree we should), why not only put an overlay specifically on those properties?

I'm fine with variances for new projects instead, but if you grant a bunch of them, a precedent is set and the height limit is as good as eliminated in practice anyway.  Hence my suggestion of specifically protecting the historic buildings (like "landmarking" in NYC).  I'm glad things downtown are heating up to the point that we are having this discussion.

(PS - Event Rentals is in DT-5, which requires 2 floors, so like spartanburgh said, they were granted a variance. Very little land is actually DT-4; just the neighborhood near the old TK Gregg site.)

I would agree, except that we HAVE lost a lot of historic buildings over the years, and we continue to lose them all over town. Greenville has somehow managed to preserve a larger number of their historic structures on their Main Street than we have. I don't know what rules in place to prevent their destruction or not either, but they seem to be sacred over there. Meanwhile, they are in the process of tearing another one in Spartanburg - the building on Magnolia right off of Main St - to build a new sushi restaurant. It isn't affected by the height limit anyway - but does it matter? I mean, we can't even agree on this message board about whether or not its worth the effort to save Duncan Park Stadium (which is a nationally registered historic place). Why not protect the area of town that almost everyone can agree is most critical to our identity as a city? 

To me, having some nominal level of protection for those historic buildings is worth it, and we should use every mechanism at our disposal to preserve them. I don't see the height restriction as having an overly negative impact on any parcel (except for the HJ site). On a related note, using a historic district or building designation doesn't do anything to preserve the site. It might grant some additional aesthetic controls (depending on how its set up) but the only thing it really does is allow for Council to defer demolition or other major changes for 1 year.

Regarding the parking lot next to Smith Drugs... is that even developable? I assumed that was a City parking lot that they wanted to preserve since it connects directly to the parking deck on Dunbar.

Regarding Diamonds Direct... Are you sure thats not a historic building? I always assumed there was an old façade under there. I have no idea if it does or not, but it certainly looks like one that has something more attractive underneath.

Regarding the old theater shell - you're right I forgot about that one. I hope that any new development would be able to incorporate/match the old façade. I suppose this one is wide enough that they could go up a few floors if they wanted to.

As for where high rises could go? All over the place. Just not where we have historic buildings on Main St. The HJ parcel seems like the obvious one. Aside from that, Denny's Plaza or the BofA at Dean St. If you look 1-2 blocks away from Main St and Morgan Square in general there are lots and lots of parking lots and underutilized land, especially along Broad St and St John. Generally speaking its going to be difficult to make the pro forma work out on the smaller parcels on Main St because the higher you go, the more parking is going to be required, and the less land you have to work with. Camp couldn't get his 8 floor building to work out for that very reason, and that's why I don't anticipate many high rises along that portion of Main St anyway.

 

Y'all are right about Event Rentals. I double checked and I mistook the DT-4 page for the DT-5 page in the code. My bad. That being said, I have more issues with that building than the number of floors... but obviously the trade off for a junky building is a relatively grand one. 

 

 

2 hours ago, gman430 said:

Ahem...

5EC396EC-65D1-4019-96D5-B76B43136ECF_zps

I think this is great. While I don't care for contemporary architectural trends, I think the overall concept is well-executed from an urban design perspective. It will be great to have that building in Spartanburg. I do wish they would dress up that corner just a little bit more... but overall it looks solid. A heck of a lot better than the garbage we get here in Charlotte.

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Spartan, I don't want to push this issue too much further since we're essentially on the same page (and the discussion is kinda off-topic).  I'm a huge historic preservation advocate, so I'm on your side.

As for the rendering, I think it looks pretty good.  The DRB may question some of the materials and possibly the presence/absence of a street entrance to the apartments.  And of course the other 2 sides need to be seen.  Another detail on the project: there will be a rooftop common area for residents.  And King Street will actually have 6 on-street spaces.  Not sure in which direction the "one-way" will be.  Anyway, despite what could've been, I'm excited for this project.

Edited by westsider28

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The DRB suggested several changes at the meeting this evening.  The DRB actually liked the idea of a contemporary design, but they had an issue with the large number of different materials.  They suggested simplifying so that there's not so much going on; they mentioned the design looking too busy.  They also had an issue with the building being slightly offset from the property line on Main; they preferred it to maintain the street line.  There was also a question about balconies over the property line and encroaching on public ROW.  The DRB was fine with the height, and liked that the material-change above the 4th floor aligns with the Cantrell Building roof line.  They wanted a more detailed site plan, including landscaping.  And they were concerned about the amount of EIFS.

Basically, the DRB understood the importance of insisting that this project is done right (in accordance with the Code), since it's at such a prominent corner and as precedent for future development.

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I really like the DRB's comments,and it's great that they are taking steps to enforce the urban code. I think the number of materials is very consistent with the contemporary style they are going for, but since I don't care for the contemporary style overall I'm glad they are requesting changes. Whatever they build will be a huge contrast to the Cantrell building, and given its prominent location I hope the are able to use high quality materials (ie: not EFIS)

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Dead in Spartanburg, but this project could move to Greenville. There are two sites in Greenville now being

considered for this project. It would loose the underground parking, but add an additional storey bringing the

total to 6 storey's and 7 additional apartments for a total of 37.

The project is scrapped in Spartanburg as the DRB will not allow the building to built anywhere near its current

design.

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That's unfortunate, but I think it's ok to stick by your standards. They put a lot of work into it up to this point, and Camp is committed to Spartanburg so I wouldn't be surprised if they came back with something more viable down the road.

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I don't know why the developer thinks the Greenville DRB will be any less strict than the Spartanburg one. 

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I admit that I'm not well versed on the new code, but are the objections by the DRB subjective or objective?  If it's in writing that their can only be a certain number of materials and the design must be such and such, it would seem that the developer would have adhered to all of that initially.

However, if we have a small group just saying "I don't like the design" is something else.  I personally like the look, and don't want Spartanburg to look like the George Dean Office park...

 

 

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Yeah, I'm pretty surprised with this.  From the initial meeting, it seemed like the DRB was very much open to the more contemporary style, as long as the architect made just a few tweaks to some of the details.  Not sure if there was anything more going on behind closed doors.  Maybe Royce Camp got worn down by the series of push-backs from the City (scale-down from 8 floors, then design demands).  Who knows.

hub city, the DRB is somewhat subjective, but there are parts of the code that describe material use and fitting in with surrounding buildings (especially historic ones).  Here's a link to the Urban Code (see page 27 for building standards).

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22 hours ago, gman430 said:

I don't know why the developer thinks the Greenville DRB will be any less strict than the Spartanburg one. 

Ha, good point!

11 hours ago, westsider28 said:

Yeah, I'm pretty surprised with this.  From the initial meeting, it seemed like the DRB was very much open to the more contemporary style, as long as the architect made just a few tweaks to some of the details.  Not sure if there was anything more going on behind closed doors.  Maybe Royce Camp got worn down by the series of push-backs from the City (scale-down from 8 floors, then design demands).  Who knows.

hub city, the DRB is somewhat subjective, but there are parts of the code that describe material use and fitting in with surrounding buildings (especially historic ones).  Here's a link to the Urban Code (see page 27 for building standards).

It's tough not being able to see minutes or anything to give us a clue. The building proposal appeared to meet the design standards in the Urban Code. It specifically says there is no mandate for a particular style of architecture. My best guess is that he needed the extra floors to make the pro forma work. He was going to cram a lot onto that small parcel, and I was surprised to see something like that Spartanburg.

 

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On 4/18/2016 at 11:15 AM, gman430 said:

I don't know why the developer thinks the Greenville DRB will be any less strict than the Spartanburg one. 

A couple of days late on this, but, isn't the answer dependent on where it is built?  There are places in Greenville where there would be no problems and others that might be tricky.  Isn't the problem in Spartanburg due to the specific location?

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On 4/24/2016 at 0:08 AM, B&R said:

A couple of days late on this, but, isn't the answer dependent on where it is built?  There are places in Greenville where there would be no problems and others that might be tricky.  Isn't the problem in Spartanburg due to the specific location?

Something to keep in mind is that land development isn't a plug and play process. Everything about it is specific to a given site, what city its in, where it sits within a neighborhood, the zoning, and local politics, market conditions, among other things. It's not like this guy is going to just slap his site plan in Greenville and it will magically work because "Greenville." If he has something going in Greenville, then it's a plan he was already working on and was planning to build anyway. 

Until we get more information its hard to say what happened with the DRB. Since we know they seemed to be supportive of the architecture, my guess is that it came down to breaking the height restriction on that block of Main Street. Assuming that is true, I think it's good to stick to the rules, especially on Main Street.

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It looks like this project may be coming back to Spartanburg. Although a great site was identified in Greenville, the property owner and

the developer could not get together on the final terms. The revised project will be a few feet shorter, a few feet wider, and the design will

be nothing to cheer about. It will be rather plain with little architectural interest. I guess its better than nothing. At least it will get some much

needed residential downtown.

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Great to hear this may be back!  Yeah, you're not going to find anything in Greenville better than $1 for land here.  Wouldn't a revised design have to go back through the DRB?  They could ask for changes (again), if it's not up to Urban Code standards.  But I do hope the project comes to fruition (assuming a not-terrible design).

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I'm not at all surprised he wasn't able to find anything in Greenville. 

Because of the design requirements on Main Street, even an unexciting building should be better than the average building. I'm also assuming they will have to get the design approved by the DRB. It's very good news though. I'm glad this project isn't dead.

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Two very good sites were found in Greenville, but after coming to terms on the land costs, infrastructure

requirements/issues doomed the preferred site in Greenville. This will likely go before the DRB again in

Spartanburg July 5th.

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According to the Spartanburg Herald Journal, the project is a 'go' and will be starting construction in a couple months. 

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