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gman430

Greenville County Square redevelopment

166 posts in this topic

Sorry about the triple post. My browser hung, and I was surprised to see that anything had posted at all.

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The city's changed a great deal. If we were downtown, or had to go to the doctor (most of their offices were along Pendleton--i.e., around Greenville General--up till the early 80's), or went to a Greenville High football or basketball game, or went to a movie at the mall, we'd go to the Bell Tower Baskin Robbins. If not, we went to the one at McAlister. BR had no serious competition in those days.

I grew up in the Parkins Mill area, and we thought nothing of going out to New China (past the Peddler) or Pizza City for takeout. We got subs, and later pizza, at the Red Barn on Pelham. We got our prescriptions at the Pickwick on Augusta Rd. We'd occasionally eat lunch at the Plaza Pharmacy or at Inman's (later Ben's) across from the Pickwick. I remember my mother dragging me along to shops at Lake Forest, and even to Stone Plaza, from time to time. There was no substantial concentration of retail anywhere except McAlister, so we ranged all over the east side of the city, which was a great deal smaller, of course.

Not to try to deviate from the subject of this thread. I suppose a possible answer to Mallguy's question as to why Bell Tower Mall was built there in the first place is 1) that retail was scattered in those days, and nobody seemed to expect not to have to range all over town as a matter of course; and 2) when it was built, the area probably wasn't as bad as it later became. They had Greenville High, Greenville General and all the medical stuff nearby, Furman still playing their football games at Sirrine, proximity to Crescent-McDaniel, and the movie theaters were tied in with the distributors. So any movie, even a blockbuster, was only playing at one theater, which guaranteed the BT theaters a certain level of business. Their main theater sat something like 600 people.

Edited by Exile
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Exile, great points.

I think that the Bell Tower Mall developers just totally missed the main trend in those days: suburbanization and the decline of downtowns.  

Perhaps data back then wasn't as accessible as it is today, but some of the things we saw back then just seem like really dopey ideas, like, "hey, we have a big Belk store downtown.  Let's build one at McAlister Square too, just a few miles away, and keep both open.  Let's also have one at Lewis Plaza, between the two.  Let's open yet another one at Pleasantburg Shopping Center.  That's 4 Belk stores in one half of a 3 mile radius from downtown.  There's plenty of population density to support all 4, right?"

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They definitely did not anticipate the trend toward suburbanization. And now it really does seem absurd to have all those Belk stores so close to each other. It wouldn't surprise me if the combined square footage of those stores is not much bigger than Dillards now.

There was also a department store at Pleasantburg Shopping Center, on the back side, in the same building the Open Book would later be in (not the same space). I think that was a Belk Store, too. But it was more focused, selling bedding and other stuff like that. I do, however, have a clear memory of my mother buying me some Buster Brown shoes at that store, complete with an automated display that put out golden eggs if you put in a coin (or some such thing). I was probably 8 at the time and though it was the coolest thing (or should I say "neato").

The more I think about it, though, I think the single greatest blow to Bell Tower Mall may have been GHS's development of the Memorial Campus. That's the only thing that really changed for the (much) worse in the area. Furman only had 6 games a year at Sirrine. I worked for the hospital system in the early 80's, and General was still the main hospital. Memorial was only a fraction of its current size. It had no emergency room, but it did have Marshall Pickens and a lot of undeveloped acreage. Clearly people in the know understood that all that acreage was there for a reason. I was a teenager when my doctor moved out to Cross Creek, long before Memorial really started to expand. I didn't understand why they'd move to such a remote location. Typical teen obliviousness.

It was sad to see General get torn down, though (esp. since I was born there and worked there). There are a lot of similarly constructed hospitals elsewhere that are still operating.

Edited by Exile

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I really hope this is a methodical and well-thought out public / private development. A great forward thinking development could make the county a lot money in future tax revenue. The article seems to acknowledge this, but large sums of immediate money can make people go with short-sighted decisions. The article seems to indicate the county has researched best use of their next building, but not hired an expert or consultant to study how to best develop and maximize economic development of the land. 

http://upstatebusinessjournal.com/news/county-square-valuable-downtown-property-waiting-redeveloped/

 

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On 11/4/2016 at 9:53 AM, FUgrad02 said:

I really hope this is a methodical and well-thought out public / private development. A great forward thinking development could make the county a lot money in future tax revenue. The article seems to acknowledge this, but large sums of immediate money can make people go with short-sighted decisions. The article seems to indicate the county has researched best use of their next building, but not hired an expert or consultant to study how to best develop and maximize economic development of the land. 

http://upstatebusinessjournal.com/news/county-square-valuable-downtown-property-waiting-redeveloped/

 

I believe City will make sure the site meets the mark. And the county will have to do something special for they will want to go against the PD's 6 story limit. The City will ask for a lot due to this.

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On 11/4/2016 at 9:53 AM, FUgrad02 said:

I really hope this is a methodical and well-thought out public / private development. A great forward thinking development could make the county a lot money in future tax revenue. The article seems to acknowledge this, but large sums of immediate money can make people go with short-sighted decisions. The article seems to indicate the county has researched best use of their next building, but not hired an expert or consultant to study how to best develop and maximize economic development of the land. 

http://upstatebusinessjournal.com/news/county-square-valuable-downtown-property-waiting-redeveloped/

 

As I've said before, this is a once in a lifetime chance, and I hope it's not wasted. Should be ultradense, have some great ground level, and should incorporate different styles, heights, etc. 

I envision something closer to this with great ground level feel. 1Life-Hub-rendering.png

 

Unfortunately, I expect we'll see something much closer to this  636012709641949056-brush-park-gallagher-

:wacko:

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9 hours ago, distortedlogic said:

As I've said before, this is a once in a lifetime chance, and I hope it's not wasted. Should be ultradense, have some great ground level, and should incorporate different styles, heights, etc. 

I envision something closer to this with great ground level feel. 1Life-Hub-rendering.png

 

Unfortunately, I expect we'll see something much closer to this  636012709641949056-brush-park-gallagher-

:wacko:

I doubt Greenville could get that much density height out of the land our of pure demand.

It also wouldn't be Dan Gilbert's Brush Park project in Detroit. That is specifically a development of a neighborhood, not an denser urban area.

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As long as it's aesthetically attractive and higher-end, I'm happy with whatever use and style comes up, although it would be great to use this site for new retail construction for national retailers as part of its uses.  Please no Section 8 housing, like some of the Democrats on City Council wanted.

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1 hour ago, mallguy said:

As long as it's aesthetically attractive and higher-end, I'm happy with whatever use and style comes up, although it would be great to use this site for new retail construction for national retailers as part of its uses.  Please no Section 8 housing, like some of the Democrats on City Council wanted.

Because creating spaces for all people is a terrible thing. Rents are pushing low-income mostly minority families out of the downtown area. Who are you to say that certain groups of people should be excluded - especially since the land is owned by a public entity. You're implying that public land should only be for mid-upper class largely white professionals, and that's elitist and ludicrous if not racist. 

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2 hours ago, mallguy said:

As long as it's aesthetically attractive and higher-end, I'm happy with whatever use and style comes up, although it would be great to use this site for new retail construction for national retailers as part of its uses.  Please no Section 8 housing, like some of the Democrats on City Council wanted.

Because all government subsidized housing looks bad?

This isn't the 1960s anymore...

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3 hours ago, scgubers said:

Because creating spaces for all people is a terrible thing. Rents are pushing low-income mostly minority families out of the downtown area. Who are you to say that certain groups of people should be excluded - especially since the land is owned by a public entity. You're implying that public land should only be for mid-upper class largely white professionals, and that's elitist and ludicrous if not racist. 

Your post is racist.

Your post implies that (1) I'm not ethnic and (2) Section 8 housing is for minorities.  Your post also states that (3) higher-end uses are for whites.  Point (1) is false and points (2) and (3) are directly racist.  I never brought up the issue of race; you did, by associating low-income with color; you are racist.

Your logic is also faulty.  Any use of the property will exclude certain people.  Section 8 housing would exclude upper-income people.  Retail will exclude certain people.  Residential will exclude certain people.  So no matter how the property is used, someone will be left out.

As a taxpayer, I have the right to weigh in on how taxpayers' property (County Square) is used. It should be sold at the highest price.

So stop your racism and faulty logic, please. This is a public forum, visible for the world to see, and now we have someone from South Carolina (you) saying that government housing is for people of color, and higher-income things are for whites.  Your statements are completely offensive.

Edited by mallguy

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25 minutes ago, mallguy said:

Your post is racist.

Your post implies that (1) I'm not ethnic and (2) Section 8 housing is for minorities.  Your post also states that (3) higher-end uses are for whites.  Point (1) is false and points (2) and (3) are directly racist.  I never brought up the issue of race; you did, by associating low-income with color; you are racist.

Your logic is also faulty.  Any use of the property will exclude certain people.  Section 8 housing would exclude upper-income people.  Retail will exclude certain people.  Residential will exclude certain people.  So no matter how the property is used, someone will be left out.

As a taxpayer, I have the right to weigh in on how taxpayers' property (County Square) is used. It should be sold at the highest price.

So stop your racism and faulty logic, please. This is a public forum, visible for the world to see, and now we have someone from South Carolina (you) saying that government housing is for people of color, and higher-income things are for whites.  Your statements are completely offensive.

Alright, let's see what I can do here without going too far off topic. 

Fact: Downtown rental prices are increasing. 

Fact: Increasing rents are pushing out low-income overwhelmingly minority (the two are statistically tied) individuals and families.

Fact: Section 8 housing serves as a buffer to market forces.

Fact: Section 8 housing (especially in the South) serves low income minority families (see Fact 2).

Conclusion: By stating "Please no section 8 Housing" you are saying you do not want a development that serves marginalized, vulnerable families in spite of their displacement. The implication of that statement is what I said initially - "that public land should only be for mid-upper class largely white professionals, and that's elitist and ludicrous if not racist." 

Also, you're statement "Any use of the property will exclude certain people" is flat out wrong. Mixed-income development is very much a thing. 

Something I should have asked earlier, and my apologies for not, but why do you not want Section 8 housing there?

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scgubers, my post had NOTHING to do with race; I am from an ethnic/immigrant background (yet have a graduate degree).  You need to take back your racist statements that poverty = color.  Then we can engage in a civil discussion.

There are lots of low-income white people in South Carolina, just so you know.

Also, just so you know, mixed-use properties still exclude people.  Have you ever heard of Phillips Place in Charlotte?  It is a very upper-income development; low-income people are not generally there.

 

Edited by mallguy

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13 minutes ago, mallguy said:

scgubers, my post had NOTHING to do with race; I am from an ethnic/immigrant background.  You need to take back your racist statements that poverty = color.

Then we can engage in a civil discussion.

Sure. I'll take it back, because that's not what I said. Never did I make an equivocation between race and poverty. This is what I've said.

- "Low-income overwhelmingly minority (the two are statistically tied)"

- "Rents are pushing low-income mostly minority families out of the downtown area."

- "You're implying that public land should only be for mid-upper class largely white professionals, and that's elitist and ludicrous if not racist." 

Nowhere do I say all low-income people are minorities. What I did do is point out the problematic implication of your statement "Please no Section 8 housing..."

Also, for the point of this discussion, I could care less about your race - you could be a smurf for all I care. 

And to your final point mixed-use is not mixed-income. They're completely different.

 

Edited by scgubers

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scgubers, you are clearly part of the "basket of deplorables" with your racist posts.

You decided to make all sorts of statements about race, equating people of color with Section 8 housing and poverty.

Since you cannot engage in a productive discussion, I will not take part in this further.  Shame on you.

 

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Ok, in the end I dont think low-income housing is for this site. Its not what the County wants. 

The Scott Towers site and Woodside should be able to provide a healthy amount. 

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Great post, ausrutherford.  Those are great locations because they are convenient to downtown and along mass transit lines, yet much more cost-effective for everyone involved, including the residents.

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I don't think low income housing would be feasible just due to the fact any developer buying this site is going to pay a pretty penny for it and they would need to make a profit. Low income housing wouldn't provide that.

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53 minutes ago, mallguy said:

scgubers, you are clearly part of the "basket of deplorables" with your racist posts.

You decided to make all sorts of statements about race, equating people of color with Section 8 housing and poverty.

Since you cannot engage in a productive discussion, I will not take part in this further.  Shame on you.

 

You haven't answered a single one of my points. Or indicated where I made a statement of if you are x, you live in x place. There has been no equating on my end. 

To the larger points made about the site not being feasible for affordable housing - I'd beg to differ. First, even with Scott Towers and Woodside the affordable housing stock will be incredibly low. 

Second, the logic that it will be too expensive, so it won't be done is a dangerous mindset. If we always let profit drive development decisions there will never be enough affordable housing. If both the developer and county/city are willing to make concessions then it can be done with out destroying bottom lines. It's much more of a question of, "Are the stakeholders willing to make a little less money to accommodate increasingly displaced populations?"

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scgubers, you have not retracted your racist statements and thus cannot be trusted to engage in civil discourse, so I am not continuing a discussion with you.  This is the second time I've told you that.

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17 minutes ago, mallguy said:

scgubers, you have not retracted your racist statements and thus cannot be trusted to engage in civil discourse, so I am not continuing a discussion with you.  This is the second time I've told you that.

What did I say that was racist? You haven't told me. Quote where I was racist. 

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Look for all who are thinking that this site will ever have a low income or an affordable home option need to keep dreaming. The price of this property will make it prohibitively unobtainable. Every development in and around downtown shouldn't be aimed at the upper to middle class. And I think we all can agree with that. But there are/will be other areas that affordable housing will work. 

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Trying to avoid any suspension acts here...so listen up.

I've read through this page and I see no statements from scgrubers that would indicate a blatant racist view as mallguy has reported. As a result, let's back off of placing words in the mouths of others. This is a high tension time, particularly with the election tomorrow. Many are reading words that aren't there and hearing things being said where words were never uttered. This isn't just the case for this particular thread (and the handful of posts above), but for our nation as a whole.

Having said that, this site does not allow for racism and other acts of hate. I have yet to read a post where this happened however. If one can be provided that goes beyond personal assumptions and interpretations then we'll talk. Otherwise please stick to the topic and have a civil discussion.

Mallguy, you are welcome to remove yourself from the thread and even add another user to your ignore list so that his or her posts never show up on the site for you.

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I really hope that Greenville can be a shining example to the rest of the country about how a city can thrive and involve all residents from lower to upper class. I would love to see some lower cost housing go to deserving families in areas close to the downtown area so we keep a diverse set of people. There are 3 main ingredients in changing people's lives that are caught in a bad environment. Access to quality education, financial resources and a supportive community. We have two of those ready to go. AJ whittenberg, Fisher Middle School as a feeder school to AJ and Greenville and next High School. Beyond that we have Greenville Tech which is a wonderful 2 year Institution. I would argue I got more out of my 2-year management degree there then I did my bachelor's degree from a private well-known University. After that is financial resources which the city and the county do and can have plenty of if we plan properly. After that is a supportive Community which is up to us as a whole to decide we want to be. What if we could be one of the best cities in the country not for just what we are known for now but also because we are changing people's lives in a meaningful way? I come from Newburgh New York which is one of the most brutal areas in the country. Greenville has changed my life and given me opportunities in ways I never thought I would have. I didn't even dream much beyond the age of 18 because of how many people had died or fell into terrible circumstances from my area. Today I own a home, have a rental property and have an education partly due to the opportunity available here and the spirit of the city driving me. All of this said I do not think that particular property is the right space for low income or controlled cost housing. The proceeds however from the project are a different story entirely. When you are talking about a project like that you want to get your biggest bang for your buck. You can't do that with a public housing project, it's just not efficient. But you could find a property some place off Main within walking distance of downtown and the opportunities there for a much better cost per square foot. What if we could draw high-end income people into downtown which is good and from the proceeds of them moving there help the people of the city that need it and are deserving at the same time? The beautiful part is it's not even through taxation it is from capitalist opportunity. Right now there is a shortage of quality service industry people to work in downtown. What if we supported the service industry by having housing for people that work in that industry within walking distance so they didn't even have to worry about owning a car? What if we offered reimbursement for education through the service industry programs at Greenville Tech? You could change people's lives and keep families together. It is very destructive to the community as a whole when families break apart and a big strain on those relationships are Financial and the ability to retain quality well-paying work. What if we could help people go from being busboy to head chef? Or what if we could help people go from being a cleaning lady to general manager of a hotel? What would our city look like then? To stay on topic that site would not be well-suited for public housing due to the cost per square foot but we absolutely as a city must look at everyone not just the well to do if we want to create something meaningful and just as importantly something that will last.

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