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voyager12

What do we think of Baxter Village in Fort Mill?

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I have glimpsed it from 77, villageofbaxter.com It seems to be a larger version of ION, ionvillage.com, a neo traditional development in Mount Pleasant, near Charleston. From the highway Baxter does seem depressingly sprawly, albeit in a pseudo cutesy town village Disneyfied way :sick: One drawback of developments such as these are the exorbitant prices which make them all overwhelmingly white and lacking in diversity. Consequently, going against the values that integrated higher density neighborhoods are supposed to represent.

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I might be off on this, but from what I've heard, it's more of a scaled-down version of Birkdale in Huntersville.

I've been rethinking this whole "town within a town" concept lately, and I'm not sure if I like it.

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Yes, it's right off exit 85. I drove through there once, but it was at night; I will have to swing through again during the day. More construction is taking place there.

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I have mixed feelings about places such as this. While they are better than single use development they are often developed with little regard to the surrounding areas. Birkdale Village has this issue. I think a much better example of how it should be done is Rosedale in Huntersville.

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I have mixed feelings about places such as this. While they are better than single use development they are often developed with little regard to the surrounding areas.

That's my perception as well. BV seems to have little connectivity with the rest of Ft. Mill; I mean it's located right off I-77 for crying out loud.

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That's my perception as well. BV seems to have little connectivity with the rest of Ft. Mill; I mean it's located right off I-77 for crying out loud.

True, but I see Baxter as a completely seperate entity or should a say a seperate town at some point. Many New Urban communities such as Celebration in Florida are actively exploring incorporation.

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Living here in Fort Mill I guess I could add some input.

As much as Baxter is a 'town within a town' people are still active in the Fort Mill community and going other places. Honestly, unless you were boring enough to eat at the same 3 restaurants and go to the Y on a Friday night, you would have to venture outside of Baxter. I think Baxter is relatively nice and a great place for young families with higher income (homes start at like $250,000 and go up from there), but I personally don't like it. I am a city boy, and when it comes down to it Baxter is definitely a suburban subdivision for Charlotte commuters.

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I think these sorts of developments are certainly better than a standard clearcut subdivision I have real concerns about the longevity of the model. Retail space has a VERY short lifespan (it wasn't that long ago that Wal-marts were 50,000 sq ft). So what happens to all of this residential space when the retail space next to it is no longer the most attractive in the area? Based on the current rate of shopping center obsolescence the retail space seems likely to fade within a decade of completion.

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We are too quick here to judge anything not located inside the innerloop as not being worthy of being built. My question is what would be preferable development in Fort Mill?

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Springfield by Crescent Resources? SF and Townhouses being infilled around an existing established golf course... also it's interconnected with the greenway.

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The good thing about NU communities is that they tend to have the potential to be seamlessly interwoven with surrounding development. I think we'll have more of an appreciation for Baxter Village once new development starts to surround it on all sides. Growth is going to happen in the suburbs; it's inevitable. So why not put something up that at least partially discourages a complete reliance on automobiles?

ScottCLT, I think at this point we should rename Fort Mill to South Charlotte, SC. :)

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ScottCLT, I think at this point we should rename Fort Mill to South Charlotte, SC. :)

I like that idea. And while their at it, commuter rail would be beneficial down here...

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Finally some discussion on Baxter. New Urbanism isn't a fad. The industry is growing extremely fast. The arch firm were my wife works facilitates around two charettes per week for mixed-use greenfield. Seaside is now almost 20 years-old. The Kentlands in Maryland, and Celebration have both passed the 10 year mark.

About Baxter, the town (i'm going to use that word) is already inter-woven with the 1970 rancher-home-lined roads. Clear Springs had to work with the pre-exisiting, Suttton Road, which slices the town in two-pieces. Yet they are still connected.

All of you none believers need to practice what you preach and "get out of your car" and spend a couple of hours walking through the residential areas. Take a pause and admire how smoothly the residential and the commerical interact.

Finally does anyone really think they could do all of their shopping, dinning, and entertainment in Fort Mill proper? Of course, not then why would you assume that Baxter could facilitate such a demand.

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While Baxter may only be interconnected to itself it sure does beat the alternative, as Metro said. Would rather have it, imperfections and all than typical cookie cutter tract housing with no connectivity at all.

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I'll admit that on one hand I love Neo-Urbanism. Why? Because it's pretty. I LOVE Neo-Urban houses. I do. What I hate about NU is the lie it tries to sell people. "Live, Work, Play" which is usually the anthem of these places is simply a fallacy. I doubt anyone who lives in Baxter works there except for maybe a few high-school kids who have summer gigs as life-guards or Starbuck's baristas. Play is also a stretch, sure these places usually have pools and a couple of odds and ends shops but let's be honest, the residents who live in these neighborhoods probably spend most of there free time when not at home outside of their enclave. The argument that no one can do everything in Fort Mill itself doesn't do much for me either. For one, I don't live in Fort Mill for that reason why move to Baxter for the same. And two, many longtime residents of Fort Mill where farmers who simply didn't need a Banana Republic or Starbuck's to feel like a complete and actualized human being. I'm pretty sure that the folks who originally built Fort Mill (pre-suburbia) felt like it did serve their needs and rarely if ever went to Charlotte. Like I said Neo-Urbanism is pretty but I feel it's incomplete. If Baxter were picked up and dropped in the middle of nowhere Idaho it would become a ghost town unless enterprising parties built it into a real town with all of the necessary pieces. If the real (not suburban) Fort Mill were picked up and dropped into Idaho then I imagine those folks would just keep on farming and loading what they produce on a train. I guess to me that's the difference between the two. One is entirely dependent on the outside world for day to day function yet irresponsibly connected to it while the other isn't dependent for day to day functions yet just happens to be nearby. There is a leach mentality to NU.

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When I worked in real estate analysis, we used Baxter as a comparable for mixed use developments. Unfortunately, it was an example of what not to do in new urbanist communities. Baxter's commerical element is too difficult to find and too small for it to be all that successful. Although a tremendous amount of traffic is present on I-77, the project can't be seen until after passing the interchange. There is also not any big draw to pull people in. Southern Village in Chapel Hill has a church, movie theatre and food co-op that act as draws to those not living in the development. Likewise, Meadowmont in Chapel Hill has a Harris Teeter, a Marriott Courtyard, Brixx Pizza, shoe store, etc. Both have residential development in their commercial districts while Baxter does not.

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I like that idea. And while their at it, commuter rail would be beneficial down here...

A line from Rock Hill, through Fort Mill, to Pineville/Charlotte would be very beneficial.

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I'll admit that on one hand I love Neo-Urbanism. Why? Because it's pretty. I LOVE Neo-Urban houses. I do.

Interestingly enough, that's one thing I DON'T like about NU houses. I much prefer brick homes (not just a front facade) over what looks to be cheaply-built NU housing. Also, in many cases I feel that the architecture is TOO traditional. You'd be pretty hard pressed to find a NU-style home in a traditional neighborhood. I especially dislike the Charleston-style homes in NU neighborhoods. Those types of homes work best in traditional neighborhoods, such as Arsenal Hill in Columbia:

arsenalhill1.jpg

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Baxter town center has excellent visibility from I-77, carrying an average of 155,600 vehicles per day (VPD) and SC-160, which carries an average of 31,500 VPD. The town center is being developed incrementally by individual developers. Unfortunately, commercial development is lagging the initially projected absorption pace. Part of this setback is due to economic conditions beyond developer control. However, the reluctance of the land owners to invest in buildings as well as infrastructure has impeded momentum and the emergence of a critical mass to attract more retailers. In some respects, a residential lot take-down program has been retrofitted into a commercial town center development program, with limited success.

Small developers often have difficulty obtaining financing for unanchored projects, particularly those with mixed uses or an absence of credit tenants. Efforts to obtain leverage from the developers through lower land costs or join ventures have proven futile. As a result, most Charlotte developers, large and small, have passed on opportunities in Baxter. Some developers report that they are confidentially waiting for the town center's land costs to be corrected to more adequately reflect risk and capital costs.

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Miesan...

I've made similiar comments about the "empty" lots in the town core. I was told that Clear Springs has been approached to sell the undeveloped land to many many developers, but they are taking it slow to make sure the development works into the master plan.

Personally, the empty lots hurt the overall look of the core. However, Seaside, the oldest New Urban project, just recently broke ground on the second half of their core. Seaside has been a tremendous success even with their emtpy lots.

I think Clear Springs is doing it right.

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After months of trying to engage residents of Baxter, I decided to create my own forum and site about Baxter. We've already got some discussion on the forum about the elementary school. Apparently the school has frozen enrollment which means that many of the new residents of Baxter will be driving their kids to school. This kind of takes the fun out of living in a walkable community.

If interested google: baxter, sc and look for the title Baxters, SC >> A New Urban Community. I don't want to post the url because I don't want it to seem like I'm advertising my site.

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