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1000 Room Convention Center Hotel

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I will never understand the appeal of a zoo. Columbia is a two hour drive. Why does Charlotte need a duplicate facility? Repeat visits are so few and far between. 

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38 minutes ago, Matthew.Brendan said:

I will never understand the appeal of a zoo. Columbia is a two hour drive. Why does Charlotte need a duplicate facility? Repeat visits are so few and far between. 

I can't understand why zoos don't appeal.

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30 minutes ago, Matthew.Brendan said:

I will never understand the appeal of a zoo. Columbia is a two hour drive. Why does Charlotte need a duplicate facility? Repeat visits are so few and far between. 

I think it depends on the location.  I lived near the San Diego Zoo and was a season pass holder for years.  Would go several times a month and to me is was almost an outdoor park.   We would walk half the park, grab a snack or ice cream, and then leave.  Total time in about 60-90 minutes.   If it was not in the middle of the city I would not have gone.  

I know there is some history there, I think a lot of it, but if there was a way for the City/County to get a hold of the Carolina Golf Club and build a zoo there....in addition to a light rail to the airport with a stop at the entrance....it would be a very, very successful project.  If they were to build it out by the whitewater center...not so much.  

 

 

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Finding space for an urban zoo is going to be tough without going to the edges of Mecklenburg. Most zoos are in the 70 acre - 100 acre range. The smallest quality zoos get to around 30-40 acres. Smaller than 20 acres and you are severely limited on the types of animals you can have as the bigger animals need more space. Most zoos are also converting to natural environments and away from cage based habitats to support animal health. Going much smaller than 20 acres, if you don't have the right team in place, you can run into big problems and I'd like our city to not be associated with a zoo that kills animals. Down in Greenville, at only 15 acres, their zoo phased out the elephant exhibit due to lack of space. In the process, after one of the elephants died of illness, the other elephant was killed in transit to Colorado as the Greenville Zoo team transported her. Accidents happen, but honestly the zoo is just too small and didn't have the experienced team in place due to the zoo's small budget for many of the animals. As a result they are consistently downsizing to smaller and smaller animals as zoologists now know you can't just lock up animals from the plains of Africa in a box. 

In addition to the space constraint, the capital expenditure, hiring the right staff of zoologists and experts in their field, etc... would likely be tough. Pretty much all of the quality urban zoos in the country are close to 100 years old like the San Diego Zoo (1916: 99 acres), Bronx Zoo (1899: 265 acres), Cincinnati Zoo (1875: 75 acres), Memphis Zoo (1906: 76 acres), Saint Louis Zoo (1910, 90 acres), Philadelphia Zoo (1874, 42 acres), Denver Zoo (1896: 80 acres), etc.... outside of New York City, you'll be hard pressed to find many quality zoos with less than 20 acres of land and a good reputation for animal welfare. 

I'm not saying it can't be done, just saying it is going to take a champion with a passion for animal welfare and research, versus city council or county board members caught up in politics. It can't be a "Me Too" zoo that is cheaply built. You can value engineer an apartment building because people always have the choice to leave and say it isn't an acceptable place to live. You can't value engineer a zoo where the animals are trapped and don't have the choice to live somewhere else. 

Edited by CLT2014
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The zoo in St. Louis is free and sells beer.  In law school, if there was a nice warm spring or fall day (definitely not a guaranty in STL), we would walk over to the zoo in Forest Park walk around and look at the animals and catch a buzz.  They also do a Zootini fundraiser which is a black tie event held at night in the zoo.  It was a major attraction, but it was also free, part of a world's fair development (see poignant comment regarding the Shed Aquarium several posts back), and nationally recognized.  Also, the animal rights issues would probably hinder a new zoo, particularly one with a small footprint.

Anyway...back to 1000 room hotels?

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I really think Charlotte needs a food hall that focuses on Southern food. A place that is accessible enough for visitors, cheap enough to rent space for startups,  and offers a mix of cheap and traditional classics. Once established it would allow us to bolster our foodie-rep (something J+W really failed to accomplish), and serve as a selling point for conventions etc. It certainly won't move the visitors needle much, but it would make us a more attractive place to visit and get visitors generating some buzz when they get home.

7th street is decent and I have high hopes for Tompkins, but nobody is making much of a splash with low-price point Southern food (pies, veggies, meat and 3, biscuits, cornbread, seafood, etc. -- Think Early Girl in Aville or Hominy Grill in Charleston).

Would be a good fit for upper Southend or Gold District.

EDIT: I have always been disappointed that Charlotte can't get any traction as a Southern food town. Atlanta is an incredible food city (and I am not just talking about Buford Hwy), if you know where to look. Charlotte has the same raw materials, but we have never put them together well IMO.

EDIT 2: And we shouldn't forget Charlotte's truly unique specialty: Greek-Southern.

 

Edited by kermit
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On 5/23/2018 at 12:05 PM, pgsinger said:

The zoo in St. Louis is free and sells beer.  In law school, if there was a nice warm spring or fall day (definitely not a guaranty in STL), we would walk over to the zoo in Forest Park walk around and look at the animals and catch a buzz.  They also do a Zootini fundraiser which is a black tie event held at night in the zoo.  It was a major attraction, but it was also free, part of a world's fair development (see poignant comment regarding the Shed Aquarium several posts back), and nationally recognized.  Also, the animal rights issues would probably hinder a new zoo, particularly one with a small footprint.

Anyway...back to 1000 room hotels?

I miss the boathouse and the zoo.  

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It's really inevitable that uptown gets one. It's when, not if. And there are some prime locations right by the blue line and the convention center right now and this building boom is still in full swing. So, I'd wager it's going to happen sooner rather than later. An urban zoo wouldn't work in uptown unless it was almost all indoors with only smaller animals. They could put it right up against one the first few stops on the BLE past 277.

There really isn't a needed catalyst for the 1000 room to happen. Although I do love the idea of adding more hands on museum/educational space like the aviation museum and aquarium. Put it on levineland as part of a mixed use development.

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2 hours ago, kermit said:

I really think Charlotte needs a food hall that focuses on Southern food. A place that is accessible enough for visitors, cheap enough to rent space for startups,  and offers a mix of cheap and traditional classics. Once established it would allow us to bolster our foodie-rep (something J+W really failed to accomplish), and serve as a selling point for conventions etc. It certainly won't move the visitors needle much, but it would make us a more attractive place to visit and get visitors generating some buzz when they get home.

7th street is decent and I have high hopes for Tompkins, but nobody is making much of a splash with low-price point Southern food (pies, veggies, meat and 3, biscuits, cornbread, seafood, etc. -- Think Early Girl in Aville or Hominy Grill in Charleston).

Would be a good fit for upper Southend or Gold District.

EDIT: I have always been disappointed that Charlotte can't get any traction as a Southern food town. Atlanta is an incredible food city (and I am not just talking about Buford Hwy), if you know where to look. Charlotte has the same raw materials, but we have never put them together well IMO.

EDIT 2: And we shouldn't forget Charlotte's truly unique specialty: Greek-Southern.

 

I would love something close to DT as adaptive reuse to become this. Latta could, but I think its past the point of becoming a foodie food hall a la Krog or Ponce City Market in Atlanta. One of the Mills in NODA or the CAMP North redevelopment would be good as one of them, and potentially the google fiber building eventually downtown. I'm not sure a new 1000 unit hotel would be the best option for "foodie" vender stalls. 

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Yeah the Google building really needs to convert to something else much sooner rather than later.... and not more offices. 

Edited by Matthew.Brendan

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53 minutes ago, SydneyCarton said:

 Hopefully, the RNC 2020 will seal the deal for this.

It won’t matter. They won’t get a 1000 room hotel built and opened in 2 years. 

Edited by Jayvee

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It won’t matter. They won’t get a 1000 room hotel built and opened in 2 years. 

I think they meant the cache of the event would prove the necessity


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14 minutes ago, Jayvee said:

It won’t matter. They won’t get a 1000 room hotel built and opened in 2 years. 

I would have thought it’s possible, but you seem to know more about this stuff than I do.

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I would have thought it’s possible, but you seem to know more about this stuff than I do.

3 years minimum.


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I think it would be pretty silly to rush the development of this hotel for a single event.  Construction costs are too high right now and any revenues from the convention would surely be eaten up in 'rush' fees on the process.    

That said, if I was high up at Duke I would absolutely try and push the site swap/build new tower during a rate hike under the guise of trying to get the hotel up and running for the convention.  Even if I knew it was never going to happen.  Once they break ground...delays can happen.  After all, just look at Levine.  

But that's just me.  

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The update is that no decision on where to build a 1000 room hotel will be decided this year according to convention bureau and Business Journal article this morning.

""Kimble told me Monday afternoon that his previous remarks about a possible consideration this summer by council involve buying and preparing a site. Now, he said, it looks like council and the visitors authority will push those conversations to the end of this year or early in 2019.""

Reasons given?  investment in the UNCC conference center, Panthers and stadium improvements, convention center construction, improvements at Discovery Place etc.

https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2018/08/07/why-charlotte-is-unlikely-to-land-convention-hotel.html

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All very true and I'm not sure they'll be enough available money from the Tourism Tax to do all of this.  Especially once the Panthers stadium upgrades (sure to be negotiated soon - maybe sometime next year) are fleshed out.

100+ Million (Tax Dollar contributions) towards a convention hotel will happen at some point but I believe it'll be in the distant future (2 years or more).  On the bright side certainly the large planned events for Charlottes future (2019 CIAA, 2019 All Stars/ 2020 CIAA, 2020 RNC / 2021 PGA Tourney) will certainly convince any developer that a Convention Sized Hotel is needed and would be viable.

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