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New City/County Government Center


westsider28

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The block containing the current City Hall has been selected as the location for the City/County Admin building and parking deck.  Here's the resolution, and an excerpt:

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the County Council, in a meeting duly assembled, that the Spartanburg County Council:

1. Selects the block containing the existing City Hall as the Project Site for the Project, which is bounded by West Broad Street, South Spring Street, South Church Street, and West Kennedy Street;

2. Authorizes the County Administrator and County Attorney to acquire real property to complete the Project through a negotiated purchase or through eminent domain, as identified in the Spartanburg County Capital Improvement Plan as City/County Government Complex (CP00000621);

3. Spartanburg County and the City of Spartanburg agree the City of Spartanburg will need to relocate its operations from the current City Hall facilities prior to the commencement of construction activities for the Project in order to facilitate the redevelopment of the Project Site;

4. Spartanburg County and the City of Spartanburg agree that if any of the above property is not used as part the Project and is sold, the sales proceeds shall be directed back to the Project to offset the costs of the Project.

Sounds like the intent is to acquire the entire block, including the Blue Moon and Nautilus Fitness properties (via eminent domain).  It will be interesting to see what the placement of the buildings on the site will be.  I also hope the unsightly cell tower is removed.

Edit: More details in this H-J article.  This site was selected from 9 downtown sites, because it was the cheapest and closest to Morgan Square.  The City/County building is expected to be from four to six stories tall.  Bids will be sought for design, to be followed by construction bids. That process is estimated to take 18 months, followed by two years of construction and completion in 2025.  All city departments at the existing City Hall will be relocated to temporary locations prior to the demolition and during construction of the new complex.

Edited by westsider28
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  • 3 weeks later...

Now that this is real I'm making this its own thread.

There's an article in the HJ that talks about it. It's behind the paywall, but I can confirm there's no new info. If you read the Spartanburg section of UP then you're likely to be more well informed than the average HJ reader.

https://www.goupstate.com/story/news/local/2022/05/02/what-know-spartanburg-sc-government-building-projects-municipal-courthouse-police-fire/9558839002/

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The County has issued an RFQ for "Architectural/Engineering Services for a new County/City Government Center".  Here's the PDF link.  Bids are due by June 23.

What kind of design would you like to see for this facility?

Personally, I hope they go with something radically different from the Courthouse.  This building doesn't need the "formalism" that comes with a justice building.  And we have enough Greek-revival stuff.  I'd like to see something really modern with a lot of glass or neo-Art Deco, since we don't have anything substantial with either of those styles.

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1 hour ago, westsider28 said:

The County has issued an RFQ for "Architectural/Engineering Services for a new County/City Government Center".  Here's the PDF link.  Bids are due by June 23.

What kind of design would you like to see for this facility?

Personally, I hope they go with something radically different from the Courthouse.  This building doesn't need the "formalism" that comes with a justice building.  And we have enough Greek-revival stuff.  I'd like to see something really modern with a lot of glass or neo-Art Deco, since we don't have anything substantial with either of those styles.

The Los Angeles City Hall (32 stories) is timeless and I love it!  Way too tall for Spartanburg but hope you get the point.  It would be iconic.  

Edited by roads-scholar
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21 hours ago, westsider28 said:

The County has issued an RFQ for "Architectural/Engineering Services for a new County/City Government Center".  Here's the PDF link.  Bids are due by June 23.

What kind of design would you like to see for this facility?

Personally, I hope they go with something radically different from the Courthouse.  This building doesn't need the "formalism" that comes with a justice building.  And we have enough Greek-revival stuff.  I'd like to see something really modern with a lot of glass or neo-Art Deco, since we don't have anything substantial with either of those styles.

I think a really modern glass cube would be a good idea but thats just me. I will be happy if they avoid brick and greek revival. 

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As long as its not 50s/60s modernist garbage it will be an improvement. The good (ironic?) thing is they will have to follow the downtown code, so no matter what they choose to do it should have a positive impact on the city. I would expect something somewhat conservative in style. Maybe not the County Courthouse, but I would be surprised if it was anything beyond a contemporary looking office building. I hope I'm wrong and they choose to make it a statement piece.

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I find it interesting (and others I know have noticed this as well) that in the 50s/60s when we last had this type of investment in public buildings, we were very modern, bold, progressive, and cutting-edge.  Whereas now, we seem to be much more restrained, conservative, and nostalgic.

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I think for me its more nuanced. City Hall is actually a really great example of that style of architecture, as is the current County Courthouse.  I think the nature of "futuristic" "bold" and "progressive" have changed over the years. When that building was built,  most of the city had and what we would consider now to be an older style of architecture, so the inherent contrast was in part what made it stand out and be a forward looking style. Now, after decades of purely suburban growth we have a built city that largely lacks any distinctive character outside of downtown and a few neighborhoods, and that is largely because of the disposable architecture that was implemented in the 70s-90s and arguably through today, too. What made modernism stand out was contrast. What we need is fabric. City Hall could still be a statement piece if they wanted to be, and I hope that it is. But it doesn't have to look like the Jetsons to be significant to our city, and it doesn't have to be retro to be "good architecture."

That said, our former president decreed that public buildings should be built in that neoclassical style, so it seems probable that we could get a modern interpretation of that even though it doesn't apply to local government.

The problem with the current building - as with most buildings of that era - is that they didn't age well. The architects chose form over function and it created a lot of spaces that are not comfortable to occupy as a human. Older buildings, as with newer ones, recognize the importance of connection to daylight and nature, and allow for flexibility due to current construction methods.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wasn't sure where to put this, but the new City Police HQ site (NW corner of St John and Forest) is completely fenced off, though construction isn't supposed to start until August, according to a recent County Council update.  Maybe that date is for building construction, and site work will start earlier?  Also seems odd that we haven't seen the design yet.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I guess the real estate was cheaper, and it's not that far from the center of downtown...  plus so many of those officers really work out of their cars, as long as it's fairly centrally located, it may not matter that much.  I guess finding that space downtown  for what they wanted may have been a bit of a challenge.  

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13 hours ago, Spartan said:

Why are the putting the  Police HQ way over there? I guess it doesn't matter... Just feels like that should be a thing that's in downtown.

Not trying to pick a fight but way over there? The location is only 3000 feet in a straight line from its current location.  

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14 hours ago, Historyguy said:

I guess the real estate was cheaper, and it's not that far from the center of downtown...  plus so many of those officers really work out of their cars, as long as it's fairly centrally located, it may not matter that much.  I guess finding that space downtown  for what they wanted may have been a bit of a challenge.  

I've been told that the city wanted to invest in neighborhoods that hadn't traditionally been considered for an investment.  

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3 hours ago, Spartan said:

It's not in downtown, though.

Maybe not strictly speaking, but it isn't far enough out to consider it west side.  Maybe west end?   And as downtown expands along West Main, that line is going to get blurry and I think it will become at least on the fringe of downtown.  

Obviously I wanted the local government center to be in the middle of downtown for the foot traffic of the people who will work there as well as for the spillover of people who have to come there to do their business with local government.  Just as I wanted the judicial center to be in downtown for similar reasons.  I'd have been really disappointed to see either of these move out on the fringe of the city.   I just think this is less of a place where you are going to have a lot of people coming by there.  And it's still fairly centrally located within the city.  I'm simply not sure what location they would have acquired nearer to the center of the city to build what they need to build.  Staying on the same parcel as the local government center presents a logistical problem, as in they would have to find temporary quarters while they build their new facilities.  

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It is definitely on the northwestern edge of downtown, but I wouldn't call it the west side. There was a push at onetime to expand streetscaping out to the Artist Collective. Does anyone know where that stand right now?

 

 

 

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On 6/24/2022 at 7:22 PM, Spartan said:

It's not in downtown, though.

If 3000 feet puts it out of downtown, then downtown is quite small.  I would rather see it on St. John where it may spur further growth and development and over time see "downtown" spread out and surround the new police headquarters.  

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On 6/24/2022 at 11:11 PM, Historyguy said:

Obviously I wanted the local government center to be in the middle of downtown for the foot traffic of the people who will work there as well as for the spillover of people who have to come there to do their business with local government.  Just as I wanted the judicial center to be in downtown for similar reasons.  I'd have been really disappointed to see either of these move out on the fringe of the city.   I just think this is less of a place where you are going to have a lot of people coming by there.  And it's still fairly centrally located within the city.  I'm simply not sure what location they would have acquired nearer to the center of the city to build what they need to build.  Staying on the same parcel as the local government center presents a logistical problem, as in they would have to find temporary quarters while they build their new facilities.  

This is more of my point. It doesn't technically matter where its located since the core of their operations is patrol cars driving around the city - I just like the idea of government being focused in downtown, and I don't consider anything west of the tracks as downtown. IMO its a pretty hard border.

 

On 6/27/2022 at 10:43 AM, sptgguy said:

If 3000 feet puts it out of downtown, then downtown is quite small.  I would rather see it on St. John where it may spur further growth and development and over time see "downtown" spread out and surround the new police headquarters.  

Yes, downtown is quite small. Go 0.6 miles in any direction from the Square and you're beyond what I would call the walkable core, and out of, what most would consider downtown (which IMO is bounded by the railroad to the north and west, Henry St to the south and Pine St to the east). So Maybe not technically out of downtown on the east, but very close.

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  • 1 month later...

P&C article about the new Police HQ.  Land is cleared.  The building will be 40k SF, 2-stories, entrance facing St John, public parking off N Forest.  But still no rendering!  Chris Story said the "design was being updated before construction begins within a month."   If it's starting that soon, the design tweaks are minimal (probably interior or perhaps some façade details).  Why have we not seen the design for a public building we're paying for until after construction has begun?  Very disappointing lack of transparency...

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/22/2022 at 8:50 PM, westsider28 said:

Wasn't sure where to put this, but the new City Police HQ site (NW corner of St John and Forest) is completely fenced off, though construction isn't supposed to start until August, according to a recent County Council update.  Maybe that date is for building construction, and site work will start earlier?  Also seems odd that we haven't seen the design yet.

417-B5-BB4-9-DC5-4-CF3-9891-C0952-BA161-

DC85-AFA9-9718-4472-B874-E7-BCCB656879.j

A6-F8-FC61-208-E-45-E5-BB0-A-8-A60052198

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3 hours ago, gman430 said:

DC85-AFA9-9718-4472-B874-E7-BCCB656879.j

Thanks for the photos.  Unfortunately, this looks quite suburban in form, with parking likely between the building and Forest.  I'm very disappointed about that.  I'm also disappointed that there was NO public input into this project.  It is just outside the Urban Code boundaries that require DRB input and urban form, but it is so close to downtown that it really should be in the UC boundaries. 

After a lot of high-quality projects in the City over the last several years, this and the NS townhomes P2 have me worried about future projects, as the quality seems to be slipping.  Also, what's the status of the Comp Plan?  That needs to be passed yesterday.  Otherwise, we're about to see a development boom with very few guardrails / design standards.  I'm concerned for the City's future...

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  • 2 weeks later...

We finally have a rendering of the new police station, not much design, a very utilitarian looking building. which is fine for the police station, Hopefully more design will go into the new city county building.

 

Spartanburg police chief, city manager discuss timeline, SPD building (goupstate.com)

SPD_OPS_RENDER.webp

Edited by djh1963
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