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SouthEnd High-Rise Projects


Blue_Devil

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11 hours ago, Blue_Devil said:

110 East breaking Ground early January per the Biz Journal. The Manchester is closing after Christmas. 

And it's breaking ground with a brand new design, like Lowes and RailYard, that reflects the character of the neighborhood, and with the elimination of that hideous parking deck, right???

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1 hour ago, JacksonH said:

And it's breaking ground with a brand new design, like Lowes and RailYard, that reflects the character of the neighborhood, and with the elimination of that hideous parking deck, right???

This is The South. Parking decks aren't going anywhere any time soon, unfortunately.

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19 minutes ago, JeanClt said:

At the very least fix that exposed corner…. It’s so random and just makes it look worst. If we have to face reality (need for parking) at least let’s not have it bare and staring us back in the face…

I hate the exposed corner, but I understand why they are doing it. A second tower (Apartments), will block that in the future. But it will be ugly in the meantime. 

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I don't mind the decks, am grateful that we're densifying and seeing surface lots transformed into other uses, and love that the thrust of office and vertical development is happening in center city practically in the shadow of uptown, versus on the sprawling fringes of the city while center city increasingly becomes a wasteland.  That's a  big deal in a sunbelt city!  UP is funny and a venting platform for its active participants, but the reality is that I'd guess none of us critics is actually pitching a project to sources of funding/backers of these projects.  Decks aren't going away  by UP edict.

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It's a tricky business - these buildings are designed and financed in the here-and-now, but will be around for a long time. And even in a less auto-centric future, there will still be cars, and a need to accommodate them. I'm still torn on what the best approach is for long-term flexibility. On the one hand, there's the Ally Center approach of a standalone deck. It sucks now, but can easily be redeveloped. On the other hand, buildings with parking podiums can allow better ground floor uses, but represent a more permanent commitment to auto infrastructure. I've mentioned before my belief that with a few design changes (namely, greater floor-to-floor heights on parking levels), these buildings could be able to adapt better to changing uses in the future.

Along those lines, I thought this article about grocery delivery from CityLab was interesting food for thought. Obviously, if "dark stores" take over significant amounts of ground-floor retail, it would have a detrimental effect on pedestrian life. But, it seems to me that portions of urban parking decks could be converted to accommodate local distribution hubs, and in fact would be quite well-suited to the task.

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24 minutes ago, kermit said:

You are exactly right. We are just venting and the finance guys are the primary determining factor on how much parking a project must have. But with that said, very few people can currently imagine the possibility of a post-car world. While such a thing may sound fantastical to most, very few American’s could fathom a post-industrial city 50 years ago either.

Given that urban change is inevitable, I think our venting does serve a purpose — we are reminding each other that post-auto cities are possible and economically beneficial. Hopefully as we spread that gospel, others (including the finance guys eventually) will begin to see the risk of continuing to build auto-oriented infrastructure that has negative impacts on livability.  Some Charlotte developers and their lenders are already aware of this (Seversville and Herin Ice projects)

Its not impossible that the cities saddled with an overbuilt auto-infrastructure will decline in the same way that cities that overbuilt industrial infrastructure did in the 70s-90s. Cities that continue to embrace the car (at the expense of other modes) could become the Detroit’s of the 2050s. If we don’t call out this risk who will?

[I am not saying any of this is a certainty, I am simply presenting one of many perspectives on urban evolution]

This might start getting into the neighborhood level vs city level. I could see parts of cities declining, and other parts rapidly transforming. In 30 Years, South End may be denser and Taller (crazy) than Uptown, because it is built around walkability, with organically grown retail and a ton of street level activity. 

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27 minutes ago, jthomas said:

Along those lines, I thought this article about grocery delivery from CityLab was interesting food for thought. Obviously, if "dark stores" take over significant amounts of ground-floor retail, it would have a detrimental effect on pedestrian life. But, it seems to me that portions of urban parking decks could be converted to accommodate local distribution hubs, and in fact would be quite well-suited to the task.

Keep in mind that any decline in brick and mortar retail will hit the burbs the hardest (that is where all the retail is). As strip malls go dark and stand empty they will seed urban decay in surrounding areas, while most “downtown” retail has already been repurposed to experiential activities. This suburban decay could spawn the mirror image of the white flight migration of the 1970s (which was triggered partly by decaying center city building stock).

 

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2 hours ago, atlrvr said:

Transportation has been a defining characteristic of American culture.  In Boston and Charleston, stables have become garages, and will one day become drone hangers.

As one of those finance guys, the most basic rule in finance is a dollar today is worth much more than that dollar in the future.  That's why buildings are built for what generates revenue today.  The natural devaluation of future earnings is expected to be at a higher rate than transportation evolution.

Excellent point, but it highlights the disconnect in this discussion. Developers and their lenders are only concerned with “today” but the city and its residents need to be concerned about “tomorrow”. A city full of “yesterday’s” building stock is going to be awfully inhospitable to our kids. 

Since urban space is a good bit bit more than just agar for real estate investment, requiring developers to accommodate inevitable evolutions of cities change seems like a reasonable thing to do. From my perspective, the past 50 years of urban history suggests that shrugging and assuming that “the market will take care of it”won’t work out well for anyone. Granted, central planning has an equally poor record. Perhaps its time for a more collaborative  strategy for development?

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42 minutes ago, atlrvr said:

Transportation has been a defining characteristic of American culture.  In Boston and Charleston, stables have become garages, and will one day become drone hangers.

As one of those finance guys, the most basic rule in finance is a dollar today is worth much more than that dollar in the future.  That's why buildings are built for what generates revenue today.  The natural devaluation of future earnings is expected to be at a higher rate than transportation evolution.

I would add to this the inability to predict future transit needs; development is reactionary to emerging technologies.

First, we are talking about an environment built on technology still 20-30 years out at the earliest.  Auto manufacturers are shifting to all electric options into the 2030s. There is still a LONG way to go on fully autonomous vehicles. What does ride sharing look like in this future? Drones most likely will become more prevalent but even that is not guaranteed and is in its infancy. What mix will personal electric mobility such as e-bikes, scooters, or some yet to be invented people mover play in this future environment?  Will more than 50% of the workforce be working remote/from home? My point being is that as a developer, even if I am planning for the future, there is too much uncertainty that far out to warrant building infrastructure at high initial cost on a gamble that I've predicted the right transit mix and work environment 30 years from now.

And to atlrvr's point - it still doesn't solve the issue of my current needs today and 10 years from now to attract businesses and their workforces. I need to maximize my return from day 1 as opposed to building for a potential that may not materialize when that future earned dollar is worth less than today.

I do believe that we will see a shift in building design based around future transportation needs as new modes of transportation are fleshed out and become available to the general public, creating a need to accommodate said technologies.  However, there isn't even consensus on this forum of what that looks like in 30 years other than "car bad." 

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5 hours ago, queensguy06 said:

I would add to this the inability to predict future transit needs; development is reactionary to emerging technologies.

First, we are talking about an environment built on technology still 20-30 years out at the earliest.  Auto manufacturers are shifting to all electric options into the 2030s. There is still a LONG way to go on fully autonomous vehicles. What does ride sharing look like in this future? Drones most likely will become more prevalent but even that is not guaranteed and is in its infancy. What mix will personal electric mobility such as e-bikes, scooters, or some yet to be invented people mover play in this future environment?  Will more than 50% of the workforce be working remote/from home? My point being is that as a developer, even if I am planning for the future, there is too much uncertainty that far out to warrant building infrastructure at high initial cost on a gamble that I've predicted the right transit mix and work environment 30 years from now.

And to atlrvr's point - it still doesn't solve the issue of my current needs today and 10 years from now to attract businesses and their workforces. I need to maximize my return from day 1 as opposed to building for a potential that may not materialize when that future earned dollar is worth less than today.

I do believe that we will see a shift in building design based around future transportation needs as new modes of transportation are fleshed out and become available to the general public, creating a need to accommodate said technologies.  However, there isn't even consensus on this forum of what that looks like in 30 years other than "car bad." 

I agree that it is essentially impossible to see the details of the future -- which makes planning for those specific details impossible. However, I think its a strawman to say that the unknowable future is a license for developers to build for today and ignore tomorrow. Since the city spends a huge amount to create the infrastructure that supports existing neighborhoods, it seems reasonable that the city should require developers to create buildings which can be adapted to changes in transportation technology whatever they may be.  The current developer strategy is to build huge amounts of square footage devoted to car storage, a design paradigm that ensures short-term obsolescence.  Seems like the opposite of adaptability to me.

The city could certainly be playing a more active role in encouraging (requiring?) adaptable urban development.  Having the city lead in the development of a couple of centrally-located Southend parking decks could have facilitated requirements for more adaptable design.  (and the stand-alone decks could be repurposed when technological shifts allow for it).

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21 minutes ago, kermit said:

I agree that it is essentially impossible to see the details of the future -- which makes planning for those specific details impossible. However, I think its a strawman to say that the unknowable future is a license for developers to build for today and ignore tomorrow. Designing for adaptability seems like a reasonable requirement for developers, yet the city permits  Southend office towers that have half of their square footage devoted to car storage. This strategy seems to chain us to technology that will know will be eventually obsolete. Seems like the opposite of adaptability to me.

The city could certainly be playing a more active role in facilitating adaptable urban development.  Having the city lead in the development of a couple of centrally-located Southend parking decks could have allowed for the new office towers to be designed in a way that would be more robust to whatever evolutions await us.  (and the stand-alone decks could be repurposed when technological shifts allow for it).

I think I follow what you're saying conceptually, but don't even know where to begin in figuring out how such an idea gets executed.  Our city would choose where in South End to fund and build and run centrally-shared garage assets and then appropriate spaces to adjacent or nearby office and retail buildings?  Developers then compete for plats near those garage assets and for space allocations, all in an effort to keep their office buildings garage-free and more aesthetically pleasing?  You trust the city to do all this in South End? 

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2 hours ago, kermit said:

EDIT: Charlotte has already seen a large wave of obsolete, auto-oriented, commercial buildings creating urban decay. Empty big box stores (mostly along independence) were standing empty and discouraging adjacent development. Around 10-15 years ago the city proposed that developers post a bond that would ensure funds were available to demo the obsolete buildings if they were abandoned. I don't believe the bond idea ever passed, but there was recognition that auto-oriented design can create urban decay which creates substantial costs for the city.

Is worth noting though that Independence used to be a decently thriving corridor.  Lots of factors contributed to the urban decay we see now, but probably the biggest factor was the decision to turn it into the mostly limited-access parking lot that it is now.

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1 hour ago, Blue_Devil said:

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Hard to see here, but this is the site right next to pins mechanical and common market in SouthEnd. It was just warehouses a few weeks ago, now it’s cleared and they seem to be doing foundation work. This is going to be the site of two 250+ foot towers.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

On the topic of parking, last I heard is that these two towers will have 1100 parking stalls... in the heart of the most walkable neighborhood in the state of North Carolina

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10 hours ago, queensguy06 said:

An eye for tomorrow would be akin to installing more EV charging stations as that's where we are headed in the next 10 years; what you are talking about is a full revolution of the transportation sector based on unknown needs 30 years from now.

This thinking always blows my mind. EVs don't change the fact that their will still be congested streets that make the pedestrian landscape inhospitable and thus force people into cars (EV's). The solution to our ongoing equitable and environmental issues still is to move away from cars, EV's don't change that thinking as cars do more damage than just polluting our air. Traditional transit technology has been around for well over a hundred years and will continue to be the best and most environmental positive choice in the world no matter what niche technology that emerges. It's the reason why almost every other major and minor city in the world outside of north America is leagues ahead of us. We don't need to wait for future technology when the technology we need to invest in is already here and we as a society continue to ignore it for the dreams of a few tech billionaires. 

Yes Charlotte is going through a boom of companies relocating here but as congestion increases and cost of living rises that's going to slow. Many major companies value transit choices for their employees and that's why they will continue to look over Charlotte and choose cities like NYC, DC, etc...

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8 minutes ago, metropolitan said:

Wish we could get a rendering of this. Everyone seems to know what’s going to be built at this site but I have never seen an actual diagram or rendering. There’s nothing on the Cousins  website

Don't quote me on this because it's been a while since I've heard anything about the site, but this is what I saw a few months back: 273k SF office, 250 apartments, 1100 space parking deck, two 275' towers.

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