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Spartan

Ideas for Downtown

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I'd like to hear/see your ideas for downtown Spartanburg. For example: What would be a good buliding to fix up? What restaurant (either type of, or specific name) do we need and where should it go? What needs to be removed (buildings, businesses, houses, etc)? What needs to stay? Anything you can think of!

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This is kinda a longterm idea of mine....but i would love to see the main street made into 2 lanes with street parking and large side walks all the way to pine street. The existing 4 lanes seem under-travelled for its size.

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I think that is a great idea. Its too bad that there aren't that many small store fronts left on that part of Main St. The good thing is that there isn't much there worth keeping. That Bank of America at Dean St should be removed, as well as the BB&T next to Venus Pie.

OH- and that nasty travelers rest roach motel thing next to Kinkos needs to go. It was condemned for being so substandard not long ago. And while we're at it, the old Howard Johnson too. I forget what they are calling it these days.

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The Main Steet idea is not as far-fetched as you may think. I know that at least one "major" player in spartanburg wants that so much that he can taste it. i believe that some preliminary scetches even exist. Although very private.

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i think that's a great idea about that stretch of main. I have been wishing that the Bank of America would tear up that huge parking lot and build something useful on it. Is the city still planning to get rid of the serpentine section of Main St?

One area of downtown that I would like to see more development in is along Kennedy and E Henry. There's a lot of smaller developments along these roads, but I wish there were some bigger and nicer developments and that were closer together.

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I have also thought that it would be nice if Church was only two lanes through the heart of the town. I know that this road has a ton of traffic, but I wish more of the traffic would go around the downtown area instead of right through the center of it. I think this would make our city more pedestrian friendly and give it a sense of having more density. I think wider sidewalks would be welcomed along Church St. and this would also influence more retail to locate along it. We need retail and other things to do instead just in Morgan Square, which is pretty much the way it is right now.

Just another dream of mine is for the city to add bike lanes to our downtown roads.

As for buildings that I would like to see gone, I would love it if the city offices across from the Memorial Auditorium were destroyed.

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My top ten wish list for downtown Spartanburg:

1. Renovate the Montgomery Building and place city hall there.

2. Tear down the old Spartan Grain facility on Daniel Morgan.

3. Narrow East Main Street between Dean and Pine Street.

4. Narrow Church Street at Morgan Square.

5. Create a "Midtown" district with it's nexus at the intersection of Pine and Main.

6. Renovate the existing city hall into a law enforcement center.

7. Condo / Office building to fill in the empty hole on East Main across from the Palmetto Building.

8. Improved street signage.

9. Another hotel (Hampton Inn?) to serve the East Main / Pine Street area.

10. Remove the microwave tower at the Bell South building.

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I'd love to see an international village somewhere in the Upstate, and if it is in Spartanburg, all the more reason for me to visit more often. :) This would capitalize on the fact that we have the highest concentration of international investment per capita in the World.

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i think that's a great idea about that stretch of main.  I have been wishing that the Bank of America would tear up that huge parking lot and build something useful on it.  Is the city still planning to get rid of the serpentine section of Main St?

One area of downtown that I would like to see more development in is along Kennedy and E Henry.  There's a lot of smaller developments along these roads, but I wish there were some bigger and nicer developments and that were closer together.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I was thinking about this, and I think that the two lane section should be extended to the St John intersection with E Main. This way, you could incorporate the old HoJo, the College Motor Inn (which also needs to be torn down or rennovated) each of which could potentially create foot traffic if they were turning into reputable establishments.

It would also connect with the Peddler and the old Canyon's area and those shops nearby. That would make an excellent restaurant row.

My top ten wish list for downtown Spartanburg:

1. Renovate the Montgomery Building and place city hall there.

2. Tear down the old Spartan Grain facility on Daniel Morgan.

3. Narrow East Main Street between Dean and Pine Street.

4. Narrow Church Street at Morgan Square.

5. Create a "Midtown" district with it's nexus at the intersection of Pine and Main. 

6. Renovate the existing city hall into a law enforcement center.

7. Condo / Office building to fill in the empty hole on East Main across from the Palmetto      Building.

8.  Improved street signage.

9.  Another hotel (Hampton Inn?) to serve the  East Main / Pine Street area.

10. Remove the microwave tower at the Bell South building.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

10- I hate the microwave tower. What an eyesore!

8- The street sinage is improving some. I remember not long ago teling a friend how they should put the street signs over the intersection rather than those small ones to the side.... and now they are everywhere.

I like the new traffic signal arms too. Very sharp.

9-Like I said before, one of those old crappy motels on E Main should be rennovated for the purpose you just mentioned :)

5-I like the idea of a midtown... except that the new "midtown" label is being used over in the Thompson St area near Wofford St. What about something like the "East End" ? That building on the SE corner of Main and Pine should be razed. Something better can be built there.

7- I think that Johnson Development is (or was) considering building something in that lot. I think it was luxury condos or apartments. go figure.

Church St has so much traffic that I am not sure narrowing it would be plausible. Where would they reroute traffic?

The Montgomery building used to be a beautiful building. It had copper accents on the bey windows that have since been painted over. I would love to see it rennovated.

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What should be done with the Renaissance Park? I know they have plans for the Arts Center- but outside of that, there are no prospects (at least that I am aware of.

I hope that these restaurants that are looking at Spartanburg are not considering that area. My fear is not that they will locate there, but that since it is so open, the city will let them build a standard structure like you would find in any generic suburb. What a horrible place for a suburban buliding.

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Since it was mentioned in the other thread about the Broad St connector thing (which is what I call it) that mergers Broad to Main is going to be taken out in the future, that gives me some new ideas.

But first- it does enchance our idea for a 2-lane Main St all the way to Pine.

Now, we know that Broad St is slated to become 2 lanes with angles parking all along it. Could this be the ground work for expanding the entertianment area off of Morgan Square and onto Broad? The backs and basements to alot of stores on Main St are there, and I htink they could potentially make a nowth row os shops and restaurants here. the south side of the street has nothing of real significance, so that leave it open to new developments. Maybe Johnson will step up?

The Broadwalk needs to be torn down or at least remodeled IMO. It is the exact opposite of what needs to happen downtown.

OH- and my biggest idea/wish for DT is that the sister building to the Denny's tower should be constructed. :D

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I agree about Broadwalk. I think it was a good idea with a terible design. There used to be a great restaurant there, but the connecter to the Kennedy garage never seemed safe. You had to park your car, walk through some doors to a rather dark area, then through another set of doors to the actual Broadwalk hallways. If they made that area under the sign a big open air pedestrian walkway into the garage, then people might use it more.

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I think downtown could use a large interactive water feature not unlike that at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta.

I also think more public art should be incorporated downtown.

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Well, the one in Barnet Park IS like Centenial Olympic Park in Atlanta! :) Just a smaller scale. I understand what you mean though. Something more central and more prominent. A park that people clamor to go to, and not one that is only seriously used for special events.

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What about the space behind the Marriott? Acres of kudzu and dirt with a footprint comparable to the size of Main St. area from Pine to Church and Broad to Dunbar. A vast lacuna in the heart of the city.

I would love to see this area developed not with a golf course but with a mixed-use urban village.

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Welcome to the forum!

I would also like to see a mixed use urban village there. Its too much great space to waste with a crappy golf course. Golf is great for the outer parts of town, not the center of the city. I think that the master plan calls for a mixed use development in that location.

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During my travels recently, I had a thought about downtown. This is nothing novel, but I think it would be a great direction for Spartanburg. Think about what Spartanburg is. Most people associate it with being a former major texilte center and railroad hub. A manufacturing & distribution center. A "bluecollar" town. While many of us would not necessarily agree with that (times are changing) it is important to note where we came from. Because Spartanburg is not a place of high finance and cutting edge fashion, I think we should embrace that notion in our downtown.

There are several directions we could take downtown. One of which is to copy Greenville, and make it into a very nice tourist destination. Nothing wrong with that. But, it would require that we compete with Greenville, who is already at least 10 years ahead of us. We are playing catch up, in some regards. Why? Do we really want to emulate what Greenville has become? Maybe some of you do! I, however, would like to see my hometown become something different. We need to set ourselves apart from Greenville if we want to succeed I want downtown to become more than just an entertainment district like so many other cities.

Basicly, I see there being several different kinds of "urban" places, all of which I relate to livablility (by which I mean you don't have to leave an area (downtown in this instance) to exist) as well as functionality. You have your attractive, well manicured places like Gville, which are attractive to tourists. You have your more livable downtowns like Charleston. And you have some sort of in between with Columbia, which has many of the elements, but they are scattered around in various places. I'll elaborate on this more below:

So what is in a livable/funcitonal downtown? pretty much the same things that are in any other, but there is more of an emphasis on day to day things. Your grocers, pharmacists, hardware stores, corner stores, banks, restaurants, parks etc. Of course, you need people to do this. Loads of people living downtown, and ideally they'd be working too.

Now, Charleston is also a MAJOR tourist destination, I can't stress that enough. And there are a lot of other issues with living on the peninsula, and many other factors behind "why" it is what it is. But lets put that aside and look at what exists there- a compact urban environment, complete with almost everything one would need to survive. You really don't need leave downtown for any reason. You really don't need a car for any reason, except to leave downtown.

Columbia has many these elements, but its much less coherent, IMO. You have what you need, and its scattered around between the Vista and 5 Points and other parts within the downtown area, but you generally don't need to leave downtown to exist. If you live there, you learn where all the right places to go are. What they lack is clothing stores. Its also much lower in density compared to Charleston, and generally less pedestrian friendly at this point. Columbia does have USC, as well as several other colleges, which change the dynamic a lot.

Greenville's downtown is a changing place, and for the moment it is one of the most difficult downtown in which to live in SC, but one of the easiest to visit. It is changing though, and you are starting to see more of these elements being built. Its not that you can't live there, its that living there requires you to go elsewhere for your day to day needs. Its a great entertainment district to be sure, and its a great place to visit. Its just not very easy to live there- yet.

Spartanburg, as it exists, is none of those things. You have some elements in place, and some aspects of a good entertainment district. Not very many residents. NO livablilty qualities except for Smith Drugs, some restaurants, and a few random parks.

  • Spartanburg needs to turn downtown into what it used to be- a livable/functional downtown (think Charleston, but less tourists). What I mean by this is create a downtown for Spartans, and not for people who visit the area. I'm sure thats what they say they're doing. And maybe they are- but I can't tell.

    Spartanburg is in a unique position in that downtown is easy to access. You can be in all parts of the city in 20 minutes from there, and the shopping districts on both sides of town are both about 5 miles away- closer than many subdivisions and every suburb or outlying town. Traffic is not bad getting to and from these destinations. Downtown should be a pretty easy sell as far as living goes. Attracting new residents should be priority #1. Business (white collar) #2. The retail stores & restaurants (#3) will fill themselves in as needed. This is the opposite approach to what we are doing now, but one that I think would work.

To sum it up- I think there is currently more focus on drawing in people from the outside and less on drawing in the people who live here. I think that creating a places to live first, rather than a place to go and visit, will result in a better Center City Spartanburg. This will set us a part regionally, but still alow us to be a good team mate.

--- My question for you is this: What do you think of this approach? What would get in the way of that happening?

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This is a rather timely example of what I am talking about in terms of livability. This article in the HJ today is about the fountain in Barnet Park. This fountain was originally put in a a decoration/novelty- but the locals have really taken to it, and now it is a popular place for the kids to go and play. Apparantly they get over 200 people on some days, which if you know the size of that fountain is a very impressive number. The City, while not required to, has hired some attendants to keep an eye on things as a safety precaution. This is not a tourist destination, its just something fun that the local kids can come any enjoy.

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During my travels recently, I had a thought about downtown. This is nothing novel, but I think it would be a great direction for Spartanburg. Think about what Spartanburg is. Most people associate it with being a former major texilte center and railroad hub. A manufacturing & distribution center. A "bluecollar" town. While many of us would not necessarily agree with that (times are changing) it is important to note where we came from. Because Spartanburg is not a place of high finance and cutting edge fashion, I think we should embrace that notion in our downtown.

There are several directions we could take downtown. One of which is to copy Greenville, and make it into a very nice tourist destination. Nothing wrong with that. But, it would require that we compete with Greenville, who is already at least 10 years ahead of us. We are playing catch up, in some regards. Why? Do we really want to emulate what Greenville has become? Maybe some of you do! I, however, would like to see my hometown become something different. We need to set ourselves apart from Greenville if we want to succeed I want downtown to become more than just an entertainment district like so many other cities.

Basicly, I see there being several different kinds of "urban" places, all of which I relate to livablility (by which I mean you don't have to leave an area (downtown in this instance) to exist) as well as functionality. You have your attractive, well manicured places like Gville, which are attractive to tourists. You have your more livable downtowns like Charleston. And you have some sort of in between with Columbia, which has many of the elements, but they are scattered around in various places. I'll elaborate on this more below:

So what is in a livable/funcitonal downtown? pretty much the same things that are in any other, but there is more of an emphasis on day to day things. Your grocers, pharmacists, hardware stores, corner stores, banks, restaurants, parks etc. Of course, you need people to do this. Loads of people living downtown, and ideally they'd be working too.

Now, Charleston is also a MAJOR tourist destination, I can't stress that enough. And there are a lot of other issues with living on the peninsula, and many other factors behind "why" it is what it is. But lets put that aside and look at what exists there- a compact urban environment, complete with almost everything one would need to survive. You really don't need leave downtown for any reason. You really don't need a car for any reason, except to leave downtown.

Columbia has many these elements, but its much less coherent, IMO. You have what you need, and its scattered around between the Vista and 5 Points and other parts within the downtown area, but you generally don't need to leave downtown to exist. If you live there, you learn where all the right places to go are. What they lack is clothing stores. Its also much lower in density compared to Charleston, and generally less pedestrian friendly at this point. Columbia does have USC, as well as several other colleges, which change the dynamic a lot.

Greenville's downtown is a changing place, and for the moment it is one of the most difficult downtown in which to live in SC, but one of the easiest to visit. It is changing though, and you are starting to see more of these elements being built. Its not that you can't live there, its that living there requires you to go elsewhere for your day to day needs. Its a great entertainment district to be sure, and its a great place to visit. Its just not very easy to live there- yet.

Spartanburg, as it exists, is none of those things. You have some elements in place, and some aspects of a good entertainment district. Not very many residents. NO livablilty qualities except for Smith Drugs, some restaurants, and a few random parks.

  • Spartanburg needs to turn downtown into what it used to be- a livable/functional downtown (think Charleston, but less tourists). What I mean by this is create a downtown for Spartans, and not for people who visit the area. I'm sure thats what they say they're doing. And maybe they are- but I can't tell.

    Spartanburg is in a unique position in that downtown is easy to access. You can be in all parts of the city in 20 minutes from there, and the shopping districts on both sides of town are both about 5 miles away- closer than many subdivisions and every suburb or outlying town. Traffic is not bad getting to and from these destinations. Downtown should be a pretty easy sell as far as living goes. Attracting new residents should be priority #1. Business (white collar) #2. The retail stores & restaurants (#3) will fill themselves in as needed. This is the opposite approach to what we are doing now, but one that I think would work.

To sum it up- I think there is currently more focus on drawing in people from the outside and less on drawing in the people who live here. I think that creating a places to live first, rather than a place to go and visit, will result in a better Center City Spartanburg. This will set us a part regionally, but still alow us to be a good team mate.

--- My question for you is this: What do you think of this approach? What would get in the way of that happening?

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I do feel that the city leaders are wanting to develop more and more residential downtown, including the middle class like Hampton heights and Beaumont Mills.

True, some elementary schools are low performing, but Spartanburg High is always near the top. they have some of the most AP courses in the state. they simply get a bad rap a lot of the time. All in all, Spartanburg has a very good schools system.

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First off, great concept Spartan and I appreciate your sharing it with us. :thumbsup: The first thought that entered my mind after finishing reading the entire post was, "Spartan for Mayor of Spartanburg!" Perhaps this will indeed happen one day. ;)

...

Another obstacle; I worry that city leaders in Spartanburg will feel pressured to follow the Greenville and Chattanooga models and make downtown a destination only. Spartanburg's current leadership has some great ideas but I'm not certain they're patient enough to see downtown evolve into something that you have envisioned.

...

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You just made my point. Greenville has most everything in place, except the residential part, which is starting to take shape as we speak. What I am saying is that Spartanburg should go ahead and take care of that first. The location of downtown relative to the regular suburban shopping centers is very convenient, so Spartanburg is well positioned to have residential development without an immediate need for the other things already in place (the grocers, coner stores, pharmacists, etc) because of this proximity. These other things will come into place around the residential development so long as there is a plan to make it happen (eg: the downtown master plan).

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I do feel that the city leaders are wanting to develop more and more residential downtown, including the middle class like Hampton heights and Beaumont Mills.

True, some elementary schools are low performing, but Spartanburg High is always near the top. they have some of the most AP courses in the state. they simply get a bad rap a lot of the time. All in all, Spartanburg has a very good schools system.

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