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Downtown Greensboro is getting a Westin Hotel

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That awesome that city center is enjoying some growth.  Keep filling the gaps and densifying.  The city has changed tremendously since I left in 95.  Back then most growth was west and northwest.  Next time I'm home visiting I will swing by and travel up Battleground to my old stomping grounds; Lawndale Apartments.  I hear Battleground area has grown a bit as well.  Greensboro is a possible landing spot for me if I ever moved back to NC.  I think its in a good  geographic location plus its a nice sized city.  Just wish the metro had a pro team.  Whether folks realize it or not having a pro team is a definite factor for a lot of my co-workers when they are looking to relocate for their second career.  NC is often mentioned but unfortunately a lot of people do not know the Triad exist.  I think a pro team changes the perception of a place.  Look at OKC for instance.  Decent city but a person's perception would not be much different between it and other peer cities if did not have the pro team.

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5 hours ago, cityboi said:

I read a News & Record editorial dated August 1, 2017 and Allen Johnson states "Expected to stack 11-stories atop a six-story deck, the Westin will significantly alter the city skyine."

So it appears they are moving forward with an 11-story hotel tower on top of a 6-story deck. So we are looking at a 17-story structure afterall. For a 2019 open construction should begin no later than early next year with a tower crane rising after demolition of the old deck. Meanwhile another tower crane will already be erected for the ballpark office tower.  

But the Westin should be about the height of the old Jefferson Standard Building or Center Pointe which is 16-stories. Because hotel floors are typically not as high as office building floors, a 17 story hotel should balance out to the height of the 16 story Center Pointe tower being that it use to be an office building. The Westin will be a dominant fixture in Greensboro's skyline. The Westin will also help fill in that big gap in Greensboro's skyline between the Lincoln Finacial Building and the 15 story Guilford Building. 

Agreed. I think it would be fair to expect the Westin to be about the height of Center Pointe or maybe a few few shorter. Per Emporis, Center Pointe is 71.02 meters (which translates to roughly 233 feet). I would estimate the Westin to come in somewhere around 200-225 feet. It won't dominate the skyline or anything, but it will have a significant impact.

3 hours ago, NcSc74 said:

That awesome that city center is enjoying some growth.  Keep filling the gaps and densifying.  The city has changed tremendously since I left in 95.  Back then most growth was west and northwest.  Next time I'm home visiting I will swing by and travel up Battleground to my old stomping grounds; Lawndale Apartments.  I hear Battleground area has grown a bit as well.  Greensboro is a possible landing spot for me if I ever moved back to NC.  I think its in a good  geographic location plus its a nice sized city.  Just wish the metro had a pro team.  Whether folks realize it or not having a pro team is a definite factor for a lot of my co-workers when they are looking to relocate for their second career.  NC is often mentioned but unfortunately a lot of people do not know the Triad exist.  I think a pro team changes the perception of a place.  Look at OKC for instance.  Decent city but a person's perception would not be much different between it and other peer cities if did not have the pro team.

The Triad isn't going to get a pro team in our lifetimes, whether the folks in charge want one or not. For starters, there aren't enough people around here. Second, there isn't enough corporate presence. Third (largely related to the 2nd point), there just aren't enough folks with money around here. And fourth, you have two metros within 90 minutes that are more favorable in all of the above mentioned aspects.

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The Triad, specifically Winston-Salem made an attempt at major league soccer and then there was a major league soccer stadium put into the Heart of the Triad plan but lately there has been no real active effort trying to land major league soccer. Its doubtful the Triad would get a team with Raleigh and Charlotte actively pursuing it. Charlotte and Raleigh already have the NBA, NHL and NFL and major league baseball is out of the question. Theoretically the Triad could secure a second NBA team for our state but the Piedmont's population would have to grow to the level of the Chicago, LA or New York areas and that will never happen in our lifetimes or our childrens lifetimes. A major league team in the Triad just isnt gonna happen unless its some sport thats not as popular that doesn't get a lot of tv coverage. 

I wish the Triad could get a pro team. But the Triad missed opportunities. In the 1960s there was a serious effort to build a sports complex in the middle of the Triad with an NFL stadium and a NASCAR track. The NFL team would have been modeled after Green Bay. But there wasnt even enough votes from local leaders to put it on the ballot. The ABA Carolina Cougars was based in Greensboro. The ABA in the late 60s and early 70s was considered major league but the team folded before it merged with the NBA. Other ABA teams like the Indiana Pacers moved on to the NBA. Also the regional game concept with the Cougars just wouldn't work in the NBA. 

Edited by cityboi

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17 hours ago, cityboi said:

The Triad, specifically Winston-Salem made an attempt at major league soccer and then there was a major league soccer stadium put into the Heart of the Triad plan but lately there has been no real active effort trying to land major league soccer. Its doubtful the Triad would get a team with Raleigh and Charlotte actively pursuing it. Charlotte and Raleigh already have the NBA, NHL and NFL and major league baseball is out of the question. Theoretically the Triad could secure a second NBA team for our state but the Piedmont's population would have to grow to the level of the Chicago, LA or New York areas and that will never happen in our lifetimes or our childrens lifetimes. A major league team in the Triad just isnt gonna happen unless its some sport thats not as popular that doesn't get a lot of tv coverage. 

I wish the Triad could get a pro team. But the Triad missed opportunities. In the 1960s there was a serious effort to build a sports complex in the middle of the Triad with an NFL stadium and a NASCAR track. The NFL team would have been modeled after Green Bay. But there wasnt even enough votes from local leaders to put it on the ballot. The ABA Carolina Cougars was based in Greensboro. The ABA in the late 60s and early 70s was considered major league but the team folded before it merged with the NBA. Other ABA teams like the Indiana Pacers moved on to the NBA. Also the regional game concept with the Cougars just wouldn't work in the NBA. 

Those efforts to pursue Major League Soccer, if more than about 10 years ago, would have been coming at a time when the league itself was up and coming. The league, and thus expansion franchises, weren't particularly expensive (compared to what they are today). Now with Raleigh and Charlotte in pursuit, it's time for the Triad to slink back and wait to see if soccer fans will be driving 90 minutes east, 90 minutes south, or somewhere else.

The ABA also played in a lot of smaller markets. The successful ones joined the NBA. The smaller ones (like Virginia) folded. As for Green Bay, that example would just never work today. Green Bay's NFL team grew from a time before the NFL was taken seriously. Their support over time grew organically as the league itself grew in popularity. That kind of growth just couldn't happen today. 

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Looks like the Raleigh bid is more faborable now that plans for Memorial Stadium in Charlotte fell through. I think either Charlotte or Raleigh could support a team. However the Triangle has had a growing popular soccer fan base for years now so it could be Raleigh's time for another big league sports franchise. 

Edited by cityboi
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Pay wall link below

Kaplan is ready to move forward the with Westin hotel. Because of a glitch on the pay article I was able to briefly see the article and screenshot it. Basically plans do call for an 11- story hotel to sit above the 6 story deck making it a 17-story tower about the height of the old Jefferson Standard building and Center Pointe. The article goes on to say the deal hinges on a city council vote this month to build this deck and the 8 story deck by the ballpark. There are two new city council members and no one knows what their opinions are on the deck. The new council members are democrats so a yes vote is likely. However even if the two council persons voted no, there are enough votes on city council to pass it. Easement issues with deck and wording about the street closing  part of February One Place temporarily in the contract has held the vote up and caused it to be tabled this month. Once the vote takes place and is approved construction begins in January.  The vote also paves the way for construction on the 9 story office tower overlooking the ballpark to begin. Renderings of the Westin should be revealed within a month if construction starts in January. Randall Kaplan said the design of the hotel is complete. 

https://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2017/12/04/kaplan-ready-to-move-forward-with-downtown-westin.html

Edited by cityboi
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The news video link about Greensboro's skyline getting taller is about a few weeks old but it basically says once city council votes on the two parking decks next meeting, construction will begin on two tower projects, the 9-story ballpark tower (Project Slugger) and the 17-story Westin Greensboro. 

http://www.wfmynews2.com/mobile/article/news/local/greensboro-moving-forward-with-downtown-development-project/491746828

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I did some digging and I found some interesting info from a group's website that opposes the downtown decks. 

"On December 19, 2017, the City Council will vote to approve $56,000,000 in bond money to pay for two proposed parking decks in Downtown Greensboro that will benefit two new hotels, a new office building and a 20 billion dollar life insurance company."

So apparently one of the decks, likely the 8-story deck/Carroll's mixed use tower, involves an insurance company. The website says life insurance company but remember about a year ago, Arch Capital said it will move its corporate headquarters to Greensboro and after a few big acquisitions it will be the largest mortagage insurance company in the United States. I wonder if its Arch Capital or some other insurance company coming to downtown. 

Btw I strongly disagree with the opponents C.A.V.E. message. Outside of downtown, zoning requires businesses to provide their own off street parking. Thats not the case for downtown. While downtown businesses can build their own parking, the city is obligated to provide parking for the public, visitors and private businesses like it did when it built two parking decks back in 1990 to provide parking for several office towers that were being built at the time. 


http://www.democracygreensboro.org/ParkingDecks.html

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News and Record posted a lengthy article about a potential big speed bump for the parking deck that will be tied to the Westin Hotel. There is even a possibility it could derail the whole project because the hotel has to have the parking deck. The easement issue between the city and Cone Denim Entertainment Center is becoming a pretty big problem which could either delay the Westin hotel further due to redesigning the deck or if the city moves forward, cost the city millions in a lawsuit. Whats making things even more complicated is that they are combining the Westin deck with the ballpark deck in the same agenda item. So any delay on the Westin deck would delay the projects planned around the ballpark. Roy Carroll has asked the city to seperate the two deck projects and move his project forward on December 19. He states there is no reason to combine his deck project with the Westin deck. The city of Greensboro has made accommodation for the easement but Cone Denim is still not happy. It appears the city seems to be taking the path of moving the parking deck project forward anyway and the reason could be that they have already signed hard contracts with developers and a number of other parties. The city has got its knees too deep into this to back out. They have already bought the land, spent money on the deck design and it seems they are prepared to bite the bullet. Either way the city could get sued. We will see what city council decides, to move forward or delay again. If they decide to delay they need to seperate the two deck projects into different agenda items so it doesn't hold up the projects around the ballpark. The city needs to come up with something quick with the Westin deck. Either move forward anyway and risk getting sued or find a solution both parties can agree on because I fear the further this thing gets delayed it gives more time for the very small but loud opposition to mount. The last thing we need is another big fight like we had with the ballpark 15 years ago. The big error the city made was not checking easement records before purchasing the property. If they had checked those records they could have designed the deck accordingly from the start. And if I were Cone Denim, I wouldnt ask for too much because the hotel project and the parking its patrons would have would benefit their business greatly and that may be one of the city's argument. The talent that performs at Cone Denim would have a hotel to stay right next door. The city also said Cone could use the loading zone on East Market Street to park its buses as well. City Council knew about this months ago including a potential lawsuit against the city but despite that seem to support moving the deck along anyway. The city has to have the decks completed by December 2018. If they fail to do so they'll have to charge less to lease out spaces in the deck which is part of the funding mechanism for the decks. The city appears to be choosing to initiate condemnation proceedings for the easement. The Cone Denim owners are being over dramatic about the situation though. There might be a little inconvenience but not enough to put them out of business. The problem is they wouldnt have room to turn their buses around and would instead have to back out into East Market Street when leaving. One solution could be to have a special traffic light that would stop traffic flow while the buses are backing out. The city has done something similar with a few other businesses along with the depot. The city turns on a red light to stop traffic during peak times when all the city buses leave for their destination. 

I was able to look at first floor plans for the parking deck. There is space for restaurants and there is space for retail shops. However I think the city could give in a little as well without significant redesigns of the deck. The problem is that Cone Denim uses the Davie Street lot as an entry point for buses and trailers. The buses then exit on East Market Street. The deck totally cuts off the entry point. However, I noticed on the ground level plans for the deck is that the entrance is at the midway point of the deck. The path through the deck almost goes all the way through but is configured to the left towards parking right before the parking office. All the city has to do is move the parking office somewhere else and let the vehicle path go all the way through to the easement so the buses can still enter from Davie Street. Hell sacrifice a little bit more of the parking for Cone Denim to lease for its buses in addition to allowing them to park in the loading zone on the street. I already see one parking spot for a bus in the plan. Just make sure there is enough height clearance on the ground level for a bus.

Another solution, which would delay the project for at least another 6 months would be to totally redesign the deck layout. Instead of the deck being spread out all the way from the hotel to East Market Street, extend the deck half a block so it will allow buses to have plenty of room to turn around. To make up the lost parking spaces in the deck, add another 8 floors underneath the hotel for parking which would make it a 25 story structure. It would add to the cost of construction and would probably be the most expensive solution. Construction could actually proceed with just the 6 story deck directly under the hotel instead of crossing over February One Place into Cone Denim's right of way, but it would limit the spaces to about 200 instead of 800. It would be enough for the hotel but the whole purpose of the city building the deck is so it would not only have spaces for the hotel, but spaces for the public at large as well. If the city moves forward with current plans anyway, buy them out so Cone Denim can relocate. The city has done that with other deals, Boston's House of Jazz and Blues had to move to make way for the performing arts center and there was no controversy there. Despite all this, I don't know if this problem will derail the hotel because the city is too far in the process to back out. No matter what the city decides to do its going to cost the city millions more. If they proceed the city gets sued by Cone Denim, If they don't proceed the city gets sued by the hotel developers. If they come up with a solution to make every totally happy it's going to cost to redesign the deck and if it's delayed too long, Westin may back out as being the flag. Even if the city wins the lawsuit, court proceedings could really drag this process and delay construction. But it appears the city wants to move forward. I guess they figure if they are going to get sued they want to get a deck and a hotel out of this instead of getting  sued by the hotel developers and getting nothing out of it which would be a total waste of city money.

Most of want to see the deck and hotel move forward but I prefer a solution that satisfies both sides so that it eliminates controversy and negative publicity. The opponents dont need any more ammunition. But it is embarrassing for the city to aquire land and sign contracts before checking to see if there are easements other property owners use. That falls back on the planning department and city attorney and no one wants to take the heat for it.

 

Plans include:

The 180-room hotel, believed to be a Westin, on Floors 7 through 17.

A parking deck, which the developers would own, underneath the hotel on Floors 1 through 6

Renovations to Elm Street Center.

Total investment: $30 million.

 

http://www.greensboro.com/business/local_business/cone-denim-owners-say-greensboro-s-parking-deck-plan-impedes/article_e60b3990-4b91-5317-9965-548180c8de3a.html

Edited by cityboi
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Looks like city council is moving forward on both the decks next Tuesday. One city councilman has to recuse himself because of close ties to the deal. This means it takes 5 votes to pass. A 4 to 4 vote means it fails for the Westin Deck. However he can vote on the Bellemeade deck. Even if council votes in favor of the Westin deck, construction may be stalled if Cone Denim sues the city. They have decided to separate both decks which means Roy Carroll's deck won't get tied up in the event legal issues delay the Westin deck.

Officials: Cone Denim's legal access increases with deck | Government | greensboro.com

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Wow thanks for the post. Looks good! Looks like the Westin will be as tall as Center Pointe and the Jefferson Standard Building. It will really stand out in Greensboro's skyline now that it will be 11 stories on top of a 6 story deck. It will also be the city's second tallest hotel after the Sheraton Four Seasons by the mall. 

Edited by cityboi

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Rendering of the 8 story deck planned across the street from the ballpark and 9 story ballpark tower.  Roy Carroll plans to build a 20 story mixed use tower with an Aloft hotel on top of this deck. Clearly the tower on top is going to be very contemporary. Its looking more and more likely that the planned tower above is Project 561. Developer Roy Carroll said Project 561 would have a contempory flair and he has instructed his architects to give it a wow factor. The deck fits his description. The Aloft is scheduled to open in 2020 which means tower construction will likely begin some time late next year or early 2019. Carroll also said project 561 would have a hotel.  A local blog has said a "life insurance" company will occupy space in the tower and media reports residential also. 

 

Cool design the deck looks like the sides are angled.  I also love how the design really hides the fact that its a parking deck. This is what I was hoping for.  There is going to be a lot of density around that ballpark. 

Screenshot_20171212-203557.png

Edited by cityboi
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The city must be sure they have the votes next week for the Westin deck. The city posted on its website that February One Pl between Elm St and Davie St will be closed by the 15th of December for crane set up. 

Edited by cityboi

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12 minutes ago, MH_85 said:

Will February one be closed if/when the new deck is open. I've heard varying answers. 

From what I understand  it will open back up after construction. 

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23 hours ago, kcw1988 said:

This is super exciting!  Hoped the westin would have had a more modern look, however.

On another forum someone suggested that the rendering of the Westin with the deck could be a place holder the city put in there to show off the deck renderings because the Westin design is somewhat plain. So you never know. Maybe the final design has not been revealed.  Until further notice, Im going to assume the Westin in the deck rendering is the design. While the design doesnt make you say wow, it's not a bad design considering what some Westins look like in other cities. The current design resembles the 10 story Westin in Milwaukee. Birmingham's Westin looks pretty bad. Nevertheless, a Westin in downtown Greensboro is exciting and will be another addition to Greensboro's skyline.  The deck design however is pretty nice! 

 

After the reveal of the 8 story Eugene Street deck design by the ballpark, its looking more and more like that deck is the base of Project 561. 

1. Carroll said Project 561 would be a 28 story tower. 

- the tower being planned above the 8 story deck is 20 stories. ( 28 story structure )

2. Carroll said Project 561 would sit on an 8 story deck

- the deck the tower will sit on is an 8 story deck. 

3. Carroll said Project 561 would be very contemporary. 

- the Eugene Street deck has a glass contemporary design. 

4. Carroll said Project 561 would include a hotel. 

- the tower above the deck will include an Aloft and Roy Carroll owns the deck site.  

Another dead give away..... Carroll said he was considering two sites for Project 561. Next to his Center Pointe tower and on the site where the modern glass deck is being built. He stated that if he chooses the Center Pointe location. The deck site would be a smaller scale development. Well the deck site is certainly not going to be small scale. 

Project 561 is suppose to have a large spire on top to take the 28 story building to 561 feet. Carroll is looking at a curved design for the tower similar to the sail tower in Dubai.  Clearly this is going to be a vanity tower for the city of Greensboro. Ive been waiting a long time to see an ultra modern contemporary skyscraper in downtown Greensboro. 

This could very well be the base of what will become the Triad's new tallest building and the tallest in NC outside of Charlotte. The deck design reveals architectural elements in terms of material and color and design that will likely appear in the tower above. I would expect to see the tower have a lot of white/ beige precast concrete like around some of the widows on the deck to help balance all that glass on the deck and create some separation architecturally.  but Id also expect the tower above to have a lot of glass as well. Some of it may be stand off glass like on the deck sides. If there is residential in the building, it will likely have balconies on parts of the tower.  You can almost imagine what its going to look like.  A curved modern tower with a spire would look pretty striking in Greensboro's skyline.  The spire would likely be lit at night.  If it is Project 561,  the overall height will be a little over four times the height of the deck portion when you include the spire.  The spire itself would likely have to be about 10 stories to reach 561 feet.  I can see that being the case because the pyramid on top of the Lincoln Financial building which is sort if like a structural spire is about 8 stories.  So realistically I can see a 10 story spire. The height of Project 561 would be the equivalent of a 38 to 40 story building.  The footprint of the tower portion would likely be smaller than the footprint of the deck. 

Screenshot_20171212-203557.png

Edited by cityboi
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Interesting city council meeting that ended at 12:26 am because of the parking decks.  Roy Carroll spoke in reference to what he plans to build on top of the planned Eugene Street deck. He referred to the project as a "legacy" project which really hints its project 561. He said its going to be a special project for the city. City staff also reported the tower will have hotel (Aloft) and office space which is in line with the description of Project 561. Carroll said he will likely announce the project in February. City Council express the need for urban projects like this saying that Greensboro is in direct competition with Durham and Winston-Salem when it comes to attracting jobs and economic growth. They said Charlotte and Raleigh were in another league. 
 The Eugene Street deck passed 8-1. The Eugene Street deck will be built including Carroll's project on top and the ballpark tower. Retail and restaurants will line the street level of the deck. 
Construction on the glass deck is schedule for completion December 2018, one year from now. The vote gives the go ahead for construction to begin on the ballpark tower. 

 

City council passes the city deck for Westin 6-2 to condemn Cone Denim easement. But questions still remain. Rocky Scarfone, owner of the Cone Denim Center said he would sue to temporarily stop the project. However further delays could put the hotel in jeopardy because of opening date agreements with Westin. However it remains to be seen if that will happen because the Westin investors have said they would work with Cone Denim on design adjustments to further accommodate Cone Denim's needs. But there is clear support on council for both decks and associated projects. The discussions between the city and Cone Denim is a work in progress. But they were burning some midnight oil tonight. 

Edited by cityboi
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It's a little disappointing that the height has been reduced, but the actual rendering looks better than the old one (which appeared to be all about adding height). The new rendering has a much greater overall presence, even if it doesn't do a whole lot for the skyline. Not to mention that a Westin will be a selling point for business to locate downtown as well.

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On 4/26/2018 at 10:56 PM, HRVT said:

It's a little disappointing that the height has been reduced, but the actual rendering looks better than the old one (which appeared to be all about adding height). The new rendering has a much greater overall presence, even if it doesn't do a whole lot for the skyline. Not to mention that a Westin will be a selling point for business to locate downtown as well.

The number of floors have been going back and forth. Im not really bummed out about it. The number of rooms have not changed. Based on the latest rendering it has been reduced by four floors however the building footprint is a little bigger. If this is the final design it was probably done to cut cost. The taller you build something the more expensive it is.  Demolishion is currently going on to make way for the Westin Greensboro! Whether its 12 stories or 16 stories,  what a great addition to downtown!  An upscale hotel will now be added to downtown's hotel inventory.  This is the second hotel under construction in downtown Greensboro. 

westin-west-elev1-copy2_xx4617-3078-0-55.jpg

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Edited by cityboi
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Westin Greensboro official website 

 

https://www.westingreensboro.com

 

Rear of the Westin and city parking deck 

19aa20_b4f9b68e0b384477b3aa9770c94da2ff~

 

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Front elevation from Elm Street. The lower section in the front is the current Elm Street Center which has space for meetings.

20180520_121620.png

Edited by cityboi
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