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Savona Mill, Lakewood Trolley, Greenway


JacksonH

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17 hours ago, Blue_Devil said:

They are still proposing the Trolley in the marketing materials, along with retail.

That's good to know.  I just hope the retail is something interesting and compelling, not simply something basic that would only be of interest to the residents and office workers already located there.  It will hopefully be the type  of thing that would make people want to take that trolley ride to go over there.

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20 hours ago, JacksonH said:

I don't know whether the trolley plan fell through, but with the entertainment/education aspect of Savona mill being discarded, I doubt there would be much interest in taking old trolley rides because the trolley no longer has a fun destination.

The Seversville trolley has had two different organizations involved in its conceptualization (AFAIK). The first was Charlotte Trolley, the organization which ran the historic trolley through Southend on the tracks that would eventually become the Blue Line. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Trolley

I have heard very little from the Charlotte Trolley organization over the past 5 years (Tarhoosier used to volunteer for them 'back in the day' and he is probably able to provide more accurate information than I can). The organization looked to be relatively well funded and got considerable support from the CEO of CATS at the time (Ron Tober). When it became clear that it was impractical for Charlotte Trolley to continue sharing tracks with the Blue Line (which it did for several years), the organization began looking for alternative locations  to operate their restored historic vehicles -- the Cedar to State street tracks (the former Piedmont and Northern) were the obvious choice. I believe that Charlotte Trolley began fundraising and interfacing with the city to reestablish their service on the tracks about 12 (?) years ago. My impression of the mission of Charlotte Trolley was completely focused on historic preservation rather than providing transportation. Since these tracks were once part of the P&N (a railroad owned by JB Duke which was (partially) intended to showcase the development potential of electricity he produced from his Southern Power Company (the precursor to Duke Energy), there is a strong case to be made for this trolley service as a historical monument.

From my perspective, Charlotte Trolley's efforts in Seversville just stopped about 5(ish) years ago. I am guessing that most of the organizations leadership just aged out before new leaders could be found.

The second effort was led by the previous owner of the mill, Greg Pappanastos (Argos RE). He was interested in using the tracks to connect his RE to the remainder of town (back before any of the warehouse district redevelopment began). He purchased two streecars from Milan which were in awful shape, he planned to restore the two cars and run service to Cedar Street, the cars sat in the parking lot across state street from the mill for a couple years and may still be there. It did not appear that any restoration work was ever done to them. I do think it was Pappanastos who twisted arms at the city to get the tracks running through the park 'unburried' 2-3 years ago.

Since Pappanastos no longer owns the property I can't imagine that initiative will continue and the unrestored cars may end up as landfill.

I can't see Portman wanting to get its hands dirty with a trolley project, but I can imagine Portman making a donation to Charlotte Trolley to help them get running on the tracks (which are now owned by NCDOT). A Portman donation would probably open the door to some cash from NCDOT and the Duke Foundation as well (see below).  Best case scenario is that Charlotte Trolley might run one vehicle on weekends, providing twice an hour service (similar to what they did in Southend) and probably little to no service on weekdays. I am guessing that the only big expenses for this would be diesel for the generator used to power the trolley and the construction of a storage facility and one end of the tracks (there is room in Cedar Yards). The tracks are in poor shape, but I think they would be useable for 10mph service without much investment. The bridge over Frasier creek will probably require some work as well -- NCDOT may be willing to pay for a portion of that. The Duke Foundation has also been liberalizing its funding strategies recently, so its not impossible that their arm could be twisted for a donation to get service running as well.

Unfortunately the service described above would provide little other than entertainment. But, the Southend streetcar was an important part of proving that real transit could operate along the Southern portion of the Blue Line. I do think Portman cash could provide a similar proof of concept to for future CATS service to Seversville . Honestly I think this would become an excellent Gold Line spur if it used the P&N underpass to connect to Gateway station.

EDIT: I misremembered part of the Pappanastos story. He was involved in Lakewood Trolley, which was the organization which followed Charlotte trolley. This Agenda story does a nice job of laying everything out, but it specifies that Lakewood Trolley planned to use Car 85, so it does not explain why the two 'to be restored' vehicles were needed.

https://charlotte.axios.com/88680/lakewood-trolley-charlotte/

EDIT2: Here is the Lakewood Trolley web site, while you can still make a donation there, the site appears to have been dormant since 2017. http://www.lakewoodtrolley.org/

 

 

Edited by kermit
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Interesting tidbit in roaring riot announcement of a new tailgate spot:

 

image.png.7d78a3ea040ab948e424c71a6e188ec5.png

 

Wonder if there was some pressure on them to move and the Trolley is making progress behind the scenes or if it was just a convenient reason to provide everyone as they move to another spot. Full announcement linked below:

 

https://theriotreport.com/roaring-riot-announces-new-tailgate-location/

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1 hour ago, AP3 said:

They've torn off all of the quirky additions...majority of the windows have been re-boarded up as well, with more gutting occurring inside.

 

savona2.PNG

savona1.PNG

Thrilled about this project.  Westside is the best side!  But actually, I love that Charlotte will have all of these re-done and activated mills in so many parts of center city.  

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  • 3 months later...

I thought the Observer had managed to scoop everybody when I say this afternoon's headline: "New renderings detail plans for redevelopment of century-old mill in west Charlotte". However as I looked through the article all of the renderings are the same as were published by CBJ back in November (see 2 posts above). The article does say the following, I don't know if it is new news:

 

Quote

Construction is underway at the Savona Mill, a 105-year-old textile mill at 500 S. Turner Ave. Atlanta-based Portman Holdings and leasing company Foundry Commercial are planning a phased mixed-use development. The first phase is expected to open next spring with 200,000 square feet of office and retail space plus an outdoor amphitheater and a rooftop deck with views of Charlotte’s skyline. An outdoor plaza will lead to the amphitheater.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/development/article258879008.html

 

Edited by kermit
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13 hours ago, SouthEndCLT811 said:

Wow, another example of landlords aggressively raising rent 

https://twitter.com/CltLedger/status/1584877821532721154?s=20&t=Y-FbfcZsKQKmv1nZDZOIbw

 

Their rent is going from $4.86/sqft to $23.14/sqft. While there are a lot of aggressive rent increases in the city, I think this one is warranted to bring it closer to market rent. They jut got a killer deal on their previous lease somehow. 

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39 minutes ago, CLTdev18 said:

They jut got a killer deal on their previous lease somehow. 

Well it was the only commercial space beside a massive, vacant, and decaying factory in a part of town that lacked drawing power for any type of retail  when they negotiated the lease.

I would have thought Portman would have seen Blue Blaze as a pretty decent anchor and traffic generator.

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6 minutes ago, kermit said:

Well it was the only commercial space beside a massive, vacant, and decaying factory in a part of town that lacked drawing power for any type of retail  when they negotiated the lease.

I would have thought Portman would have seen Blue Blaze as a pretty decent anchor and traffic generator.

Blue Blaze is likely to see tons more traffic and a massive uptick in revenue upon completion of Savona & apartments at Jay & State.  Yes, costs going up to adjust to market, but upside potential going way up as well.  Blue Blaze wants to shield its upcoming gravy train and is perhaps appealing to public sentiment to shame Portman and get it to cower in negotiations by invoking an oft-cited and seldom analyzed gentrification culprit.

Edited by RANYC
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I usually come down squarely on the side of property owners, and at the end of the day I probably do in this case as well, but a couple of thoughts in Blue Blaze defense.

1) they taking that risk to open (with previous owner to Portman) created value there for mill owner

2) the building itself is pretty cheap quality, and maybe not worth full "market" rent for the area

3) I can only assume Blue Blaze spent a fair amount of capital for brewery systems, much of what could be lost, as I assume relocating that equipment is very expensive

All that said, Blue Blaze should have known the risks when signing what I assume was a 5 year lease. 

Lastly, and this is pure speculation, but wouldn't surprise me if Portman would prefer to have no tenant so they can demo/redevelop that part of the site.

 

 

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1 hour ago, kermit said:

Well it was the only commercial space beside a massive, vacant, and decaying factory in a part of town that lacked drawing power for any type of retail  when they negotiated the lease.

I would have thought Portman would have seen Blue Blaze as a pretty decent anchor and traffic generator.

They probably originally saw them as a decent anchor and traffic generator, but it's pretty clear now that they are not. 

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