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The River District


cltbwimob

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I think this is a great plan.  It is better to have one master plan for all this land than to have a piecemeal of suburban development.  This project will be very successful as I have seen projects like this around the country.  Reminds me of Lake Nona outside of Orlando.   The community gardens remind me of Harvest Green outside of Houston where there are areas where people can grow food.  I know most are very anti- suburban  on this site but even your revered Dilworth was a suburb once.  So was Wesley Heights, Villa Heights and every other neighborhood outside the loop.  This is a great project for a growing city.   We need options just like this as much as options for in town living.  

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While Lake Nona has been very successful it is widely considered sprawl to many Orlando residents.  I remember a lot of pushback from locals as plans were being released.  Sure, similar to this project, it was considered better than what it could have been, but it was sprawl nonetheless. 

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1 hour ago, KJHburg said:

I think this is a great plan.  It is better to have one master plan for all this land than to have a piecemeal of suburban development.  This project will be very successful as I have seen projects like this around the country.  Reminds me of Lake Nona outside of Orlando.   The community gardens remind me of Harvest Green outside of Houston where there are areas where people can grow food.  I know most are very anti- suburban  on this site but even your revered Dilworth was a suburb once.  So was Wesley Heights, Villa Heights and every other neighborhood outside the loop.  This is a great project for a growing city.   We need options just like this as much as options for in town living.  

Frankly, at first glance, this is a much better planned community than Dilworth, Wesley Heights, Myers Park and other communities were.  Not nearly the amount of setback,  probably wider sidewalks, with a greater variety of housing product and better integration with walking-accessible mixed uses.  In a quote, Crescent's CEO likened the vision for this development to Baxter Village down in Fort Mill, except along a riverfront.  If that materializes, this will be stunning.  I wish you all luck in waiting for 277 to be a river in center city, while I'm sure plenty will go and scope out spots for themselves in the River District proximal to an existing river.

Not happy about the loss of forestry or ecosystem, although to @KJHburg's point, given our policies allow for development on such lands, I'd rather this holistic approach that's preserving 40% of the space, than to have a piecemeal series of single-use subdivisions likely resulting in cul-de-sac streets lined with garages with probably far more aggregate clear-cutting than River District could ever imagine to engage in.

Edited by RANYC
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Dilworth compared to this University City/Concord Mills type development? lol.

 

Charlotte has a good case study on great suburban development. It's called LKN (Cornelius, Huntersville and Davidson). Antiquity in Cornelius is a nice development that is very typical of LKN that I wish Charlotte would emulate more. Parking in the back or in alleys, Houses to the front, somewhat of a grid in their neighborhoods even if only a few connections to main roads, etc. I love LKN's zoning standards. This looks really good for what it is though. 

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Not a developer or development engineer, but I suspect that a planned community with this much tree-save and proximity to an ecologically sensitive area like a riverbank probably couldn't just conform the landscape to a strict urban street grid without far more extraordinary clear-cutting and much wider-spread site-grading.  It is relatively dense for not being along a mass-transit line, it's mixed-use, it's mixed-income.  The surface lots are relegated to the interior of the blocks from what I can tell, with structures sited along streetscapes and sidewalks to give pedestrian accessibility and alt-mobility choice.  If the retail spaces were going to be commercially viable, I think they had to strike a compromise in design by creating some accommodation for cars.  River District retail and office surely aren't going to be for just those living within walking distance, but will draw folks from a great deal of surrounding subdivisions.  

I've heard there's a conflict between a strict urban grid for new developments, and creating a woodsy, arborous, embedded-in-nature feel for new developments.  Not sure how much tree-save was happening when Dilworth was created, but I recall reading that Dilworth was mostly tree-less farm area and the treed feel its residents enjoy today was generations in the making.  

Edited by RANYC
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2 minutes ago, AirNostrumMAD said:

Dilworth compared to this University City/Concord Mills type development? lol.

 

Charlotte has a good case study on great suburban development. It's called LKN (Cornelius, Huntersville and Davidson). Antiquity in Cornelius is a nice development that is very typical of LKN that I wish Charlotte would emulate more. Parking in the back or in alleys, Houses to the front, somewhat of a grid in their neighborhoods even if only a few connections to main roads, etc. I love LKN's zoning standards. This looks really good for what it is though. 

Dilworth was created in the late 1800s and early 20th century, so not really a comparison to take seriously.  We've learned a ton since places were designed then, and infrastructure is quite different now, so that will be impactful to design today.  Dilworth was the escape form urbanity for its time, at least as much escape as late-1800s tech and mobility could accommodate.  River District seems to balance a number of design and development and commercial constraints quite reasonably.

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Anybody have details on infrastructure improvements planned for the broader area? I know there are plans for the actual development, but are we getting large scale improvements to intersections south of the airport that are currently "rural" roads with one lane in each direction. These roads will become major commuting routes for the River District to head towards Uptown, South End, et... and the reverse commute when the major employment district of the River District is built. Wallace Neel alongside the airport also doesn't have any stoplights, and will become a major route for River District residents to connect to Wilkinson, Belmont, and the airport. 

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Also, is the West Blvd bridge over I-485 being torn down and re-built? It is currently just one lane in each direction which seems like it won't be able to handle the growth. Johnston Road in Ballantyne gets to 5 lanes over I-485.

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This may already all be solved... I just largely have read about infrastructure plans directly in the River District itself like extending West Blvd and widening Garrison Rd... but nothing for the surrounding roads that feed into. The Master Plan doesn't really show a change to the I-485 West Blvd off ramp.... going to be lots of light cycles waiting on left turns with a line if so. 

Edited by CLT2014
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Not a developer or development engineer, but I suspect that a planned community with this much tree-save and proximity to an ecologically sensitive area like a riverbank probably couldn't just conform the landscape to a strict urban street grid without far more extraordinary clear-cutting and much wider-spread site-grading.  It is relatively dense for not being along a mass-transit line, it's mixed-use, it's mixed-income.  The surface lots are relegated to the interior of the blocks from what I can tell, with structures sited along streetscapes and sidewalks to give pedestrian accessibility and alt-mobility choice.  If the retail spaces were going to be commercially viable, I think they had to strike a compromise in design by creating some accommodation for cars.  River District retail and office surely aren't going to be for just those living within walking distance, but will draw folks from a great deal of surrounding subdivisions.  
I've heard there's a conflict between a strict urban grid for new developments, and creating a woodsy, arborous, embedded-in-nature feel for new developments.  Not sure how much tree-save was happening when Dilworth was created, but I recall reading that Dilworth was mostly tree-less farm area and the treed feel its residents enjoy today was generations in the making.  

Urban grid… I didn’t mean as in slap a grid on it and call it a day. I was referring to something more intentional. See certain sections look ~OK~ but those cul-da-sacs would be more helpful if connected to an actual street? What is the need for those?

79168a1ae0a3db299cc218beadefa542.jpg

Suburban street grids makes getting around on foot a pain depending on where you live. Especially when there aren’t decent pedestrian infrastructure. The town center looks okay. It’s dense. Somewhat grid-like. I’m not totally against the design or the development, but that post-war suburban design is really tiresome to see. Most of Charlotte is just that.

Here’s a few quick marks I made to things I see. Red is something I see in design that looks off or could pose some difficulties for walkability. Green generally is okay. (I would see most people who want that small community/town feel and walkability wanting to live here. I did see they want to have trails and maybe they’ll have greenways and if they can connect places in ways roads can’t that would make things better.

ffd8cf0ff2fa962048da9d9792d823c6.png

CMS being to the side like that in this designed master plan can usually mean one of two things…

1. It’s an afterthought
2. It was late and added in the most convenient spot.

My last peace: It’s decent project and isn’t all bad. I just hope that it doesn’t turn out like Ballantyne before reimagined. A focus on walkability would help its suburban look and increased access to basic amenities that would agree with 2040-plan of 10-minute neighborhoods where you don’t necessarily have to drive because you NEED to. I think it could be a cool place.
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Admittedly that is a massive amount of untouched forest sitting there considering how close it is to the core of a major city. I would have been cool with it getting designated as a huge park with trails and activities (maybe even a small wildlife preserve or something), but something was definitely going to happen to it. Turned out to be development - I'm not upset but would love that Silver Line spur people are mentioning.

 

Edit: btw, where do you get this recent satellite imagery? Google Earth/Maps isn't quite this up to date right now.

Edited by Reverie39
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On 6/28/2022 at 10:18 PM, KJHburg said:

This is the first detailed plan I have seen of the first part of the River District.  I think they call it Westrow. some of these renderings I have not seen before. 

On the home page 

https://www.theriverdistrict.com/

this is the next big thing for Charlotte especially in the suburbs. 

 

Rdwestrow.jpeg

RDoverview.jpg

RDpark.jpg

RD2.jpg

RDgarden.jpg

Feels like they're going after a NoCal vibe.   With farmland even.   The windmill's a bit much to me.

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