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gman430

Greenville County Square redevelopment

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Ideally there should be housing for all income levels in the urban core. However, the poor are the ones being involuntary pushed out more so than the middle class. 

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2 hours ago, vicupstate said:

Ideally there should be housing for all income levels in the urban core. However, the poor are the ones being involuntary pushed out more so than the middle class. 

Why?  People act as though downtown Greenville is huge.  It's not.  Even going from the train station to Main & Washington is a bit less than a mile.  That's a 15-minute walk at most. 

There is plenty of land around downtown, but not within the "core", where low-cost housing can be put, without lengthy commutes. 

If people want low-cost housing in the downtown core, they should expect to have smaller homes than if they were further out, due to the relatively high cost of land in the core.  I've always lived in downtowns (as an adult) and I accept the trade-off and will pay top dollar to be right next to work, even resulting in a tiny home, because I work all the time, but doing so doesn't make a lot of sense for someone who doesn't work all the time and thus need to be literally right next to an office.  

Edited by PuppiesandKittens

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There is very little inventory inside the city limits that is less than $250k and there isn't a lot between $250k and $300k.  Many of those areas were lower income or working class neighborhoods.   

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3 minutes ago, vicupstate said:

There is very little inventory inside the city limits that is less than $250k and there isn't a lot between $250k and $300k.  Many of those areas were lower income or working class neighborhoods.   

True. These areas have been gentrified.

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1 hour ago, vicupstate said:

There is very little inventory inside the city limits that is less than $250k and there isn't a lot between $250k and $300k.  Many of those areas were lower income or working class neighborhoods.   

Well that certainly would need to be addressed and is absolutely a valid concern.

The city should encourage new construction near all around town, then.  I'm not sure how to do that (easier zoning?  tax reductions?  less red tape?), but that's certainly a valid concern.

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7 hours ago, PuppiesandKittens said:

Well that certainly would need to be addressed and is absolutely a valid concern.

The city should encourage new construction near all around town, then.  I'm not sure how to do that (easier zoning?  tax reductions?  less red tape?), but that's certainly a valid concern.

Less red tape? LOL thats what politicians live for!! :rofl:

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On 11/8/2019 at 3:38 PM, PuppiesandKittens said:

Well that certainly would need to be addressed and is absolutely a valid concern.

The city should encourage new construction near all around town, then.  I'm not sure how to do that (easier zoning?  tax reductions?  less red tape?), but that's certainly a valid concern.

It's through development incentives.

You want to develop near the SRT? You get extra 4 units/acre for instance. 

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1 hour ago, Den2Gvl said:

I’m glad to see the developer and county holding the city to the 20 story heights instead of giving in to the silly 12 story limit. If the city wants their affordable housing, conference center funding, and parking garage then they need to be on the same side as the county. You scratch my back and I will scratch yours. 

Edited by gman430
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I hope the city continues to deny the 20-story heights. It's a bad idea. Not a good look, doesn't match the area, and I don't think the roads support it. 

County Argument:  "That affects our density," Kernell said. "And density is the key for us because we are trying to maximize our value."

"Our value." Kernell sounds like he is on the side of the developer, not the citizen.  Would Kernell care about unsustainable density at that site if the County wasn't lusting after an ostentatious and pretentious government building that will be used by less than 0.5% of the county population? There would be no pressure if the county just built a normal building, big enough for future needs, at 1/3 of the cost, or at another site to give the developer more acreage. 

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. - Epictetus

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Please explain to me how it is a bad idea and doesn’t match the area? There are highrises just a few blocks from there and this project helps with economic development in terms of potentially landing a new corporate headquarters. Also, the 20 story buildings wouldn’t be anywhere near the small homes nearby. If all of these other cities from Nashville to Atlanta to Charlotte can get highrises why can’t Greenville? Greenville isn’t a small town anymore. It’s time to start realizing that. 

Edited by gman430

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Scott Towers was a high-rise and adjacent to this site. One cannot truly claim that this sort of height is historically inappropriate. 

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12 minutes ago, GvilleSC said:

Scott Towers was a high-rise and adjacent to this site. One cannot truly claim that this sort of height is historically inappropriate. 

And the highrises at Camperdown are literally only a half a mile from this site if even that far. How anybody with a straight face can say that those highrises aren’t in the same area as County Square is absolutely baffling to me. 

Edited by gman430

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We're also running out of space for developments like this. If we keep only building out with 6 story buildings and refrain from going vertical then communities like Haynie-Sirrine will most certainly be pushed out eventually. Increasing density and going vertical in locations like County Square is the only way to maintain these neighborhoods. There's only so many places you can build. Everybody wants "smart growth" until it's in their backyard. Someone's got to give. 

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I haven't seen any site-plan (assuming there is one), but I would assume that the 20-story buildings would be at or near the center of the development, with building heights more or less stair-stepping up to that height. If I'm right, then any shock-value of building height would be pretty substantially mitigated. Based on that and what else has been said by Den2Gvl, gman430, and GvilleSC, I just don't see the issue.

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23 minutes ago, Exile said:

I haven't seen any site-plan (assuming there is one), but I would assume that the 20-story buildings would be at or near the center of the development, with building heights more or less stair-stepping up to that height. If I'm right, then any shock-value of building height would be pretty substantially mitigated. Based on that and what else has been said by Den2Gvl, gman430, and GvilleSC, I just don't see the issue.

This is correct. The tallest buildings would be near the center and back of the development close to Falls Park and away from the homes. The portion of the development closest to the homes would only be 4-6 stories tall. You can see the site plans in this file: https://www.greenvillesc.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/6378?fileID=31464

Edited by gman430

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5 hours ago, ingvegas said:

I hope the city continues to deny the 20-story heights. It's a bad idea. Not a good look, doesn't match the area, and I don't think the roads support it. 

County Argument:  "That affects our density," Kernell said. "And density is the key for us because we are trying to maximize our value."

"Our value." Kernell sounds like he is on the side of the developer, not the citizen.  Would Kernell care about unsustainable density at that site if the County wasn't lusting after an ostentatious and pretentious government building that will be used by less than 0.5% of the county population? There would be no pressure if the county just built a normal building, big enough for future needs, at 1/3 of the cost, or at another site to give the developer more acreage. 

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. - Epictetus

I understand where you're coming from here and I am not an advocate for corporate greed; and further, I tend to side with homeowners and residents first as well.  However, I do not agree with the residents in this matter; though admittedly, I don't live there and it's possible I would side with them if I did.  In this case, the current site is drastically underutilized and run down which negatively affects their neighborhood. Due to Greenville's (and downtown's) success this site is going to be redeveloped by someone; and the city, county, AND developer have at least listened to the concerns of the residents in an attempt to consider them. The difference in a 12 story building and a 20 story building is not significant enough to cause major problems for residnets of the neighborhood, especially at the distance these building would be from them.  While it's true that gentrification and being taxed out of the area is a concern for them, that is going to happen regardless based on the inertia of the city and downtown. Restricting the density of this development may actually hasten that reality, as less density would most likely promote more sprawl into these areas sooner, while a well planned and dense development would satisfy the needs for longer. And for owners in the neighborhoods, their properties are going to further skyrocket in value. 

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3 hours ago, distortedlogic said:

I understand where you're coming from here and I am not an advocate for corporate greed; and further, I tend to side with homeowners and residents first as well.  However, I do not agree with the residents in this matter; though admittedly, I don't live there and it's possible I would side with them if I did.  In this case, the current site is drastically underutilized and run down which negatively affects their neighborhood. Due to Greenville's (and downtown's) success this site is going to be redeveloped by someone; and the city, county, AND developer have at least listened to the concerns of the residents in an attempt to consider them. The difference in a 12 story building and a 20 story building is not significant enough to cause major problems for residnets of the neighborhood, especially at the distance these building would be from them.  While it's true that gentrification and being taxed out of the area is a concern for them, that is going to happen regardless based on the inertia of the city and downtown. Restricting the density of this development may actually hasten that reality, as less density would most likely promote more sprawl into these areas sooner, while a well planned and dense development would satisfy the needs for longer. And for owners in the neighborhoods, their properties are going to further skyrocket in value. 

I live literally within 500 feet of county square and I'm astounded that people are against this project. After 5pm on weekdays and every day on weekends its deserted and full of homeless people and drug addicts. It's crazy to me that people don't want to see this area developed and utilized to it's full potential.

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I'm for the development, but I disagree with opinions regarding the impact that height will have. I'd rather see a dense community of 6-8 story buildings that are mixed use.  I think that would create a better overall community and mitigate traffic concerns on surrounding roads. 

Scott Towers is not a similar analogy. The Scott Towers were 14 stories. And  they stuck out, bad.  And I'll keep a straight face and argue Camperdown is not similar until someone can tell me that County Square is at the exact same elevation as the Camperdown. It's not.  County Square sits on a hill overlooking the Camperdown project.

Again, I'm not against the development. I'm just against 20 stories.  Why? One reason is Sasaki Associates, Inc., Downtown Greenville Master Plan, 2008 - recommended limited height at this site. That recommendation is the basis of the current zoning law. They're pretty smart and successful urban planning group. Sure, it's a recommendation that is 11 years old, but can someone give me another study from an objective third party urban planner that says the best use at the site is multiple 20 story buildings?  (Citation desperately needed).  

 

Edited by ingvegas

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Who is to say that if Sasaki re-studied the site and master planned downtown again today, that they would NOT advise differently? I think this is where I really find fault in this particular line of thinking. Downtown has grown and changed drastically in the last 10 years. If they're worth the weight of their name and the respect that they garner (and I believe that they are), Sasaki would factor in those changes and would not view the area from a static lens. Development has shifted the center of downtown in a major way over the last decade, and the growth of downtown has really spread out. 

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Agreed, Sasaki might say it's a great idea, but the problem is we don't know that. Any argument to the contrary is consequently subjective speculation.  Arguing that downtown has changed over the last 10 years is really not new evidence. The Sasaki Master Plan pretty much envisioned the growth and change that has already occurred in other areas of the downtown area (pretty remarkably, btw). I think the Sasaki plan carries a lot of weight based on the development that has occurred since it's recommendations were made, and also all subsequent Master Plans seem borrow rather heavily on it. 

I've pasted what the report says for County Square below (a link to the entire plan can be found at: https://www.greenvillesc.gov/DocumentCenter/View/283/Downtown-Master-Plan-PDF).

County Square

A redeveloped County Square on University Ridge has the potential to become an exciting new intown neighborhood complemented by a complex of county and other offices (Figures 5.14 - 5.15). New development can take advantage of the hilltop location and views of downtown, while responding carefully to the context of the Governor’s School for the Arts and the small scale residential buildings on Howe Street. Church Street gives the site visibility and direct access out to Interstate 385.

Redevelopment of County Square can also reinstate a stronger connection between Church Street and the West End and down to the Green Necklace along the river. Located on a high hill overlooking the Reedy River, this site was the historic campus of Furman University before it moved out of downtown in 1961. The gracious campus was redeveloped into a one story shopping mall and movie theater surrounded by surface parking lots. The historic alignment of University Ridge as it meandered from Cleveland Street through the site to the West End was changed. With the demise of the shopping center, the buildings were renovated into county offices and a family court employing 683 workers and providing services to many residents.

Encompassing approximately 30 acres, County Square is large enough to feature a range of housing types, meeting the needs of different people who may want to live downtown. On the western edge, smaller scale townhouses will complete the character of Howe Street. Four to six story loft buildings could step up the hill from Howe Street and the Governor’s School, with greater heights and density along University Ridge and moving to the west side of the site, where ten to twelve stories would be appropriate.

At a similar scale, the County offices could command the corner of Church Street and University Ridge. The main street for this district will be the realigned University Ridge extension that connects to the existing rotary. Since shared parking between the stadium and the county offices will continue to be a factor, a strong connection is warranted and will help organize the district. A network of new streets and smaller blocks will open up development opportunities and make the site permeable for walking.

As the buildings step up the hill, each will take advantage of the striking views of downtown and the riverfront parks in the foreground. A series of civic spaces on the hill will allow for more public views opening to the north. If a civic building is warranted, a prominent location overlooking downtown and along the main street should be considered. This new residential and office development will increase the population of people shopping and dining in the West End and on Main Street. The site is within walking distance (5 to 15 minutes) but can also be accessed easily by bicycle, an expanded trolley route, or of course automobile.

As such, retail uses in County Square should be limited so as to not compete with the Main Street experience. A coffee shop and other neighborhood scaled retail will add convenience, especially on the Church Street side. Big box retail and “lifestyle centers” that would detract from downtown should not be considered for this prime redevelopment site.

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