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New Urban Village Near Scaleybark Light Rail Station

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In what could be a rather significant new development project that is directly related to the building of the South Light Rail line, CATS is apparently talking to several unnamed developers about creating a dense urban village centered around this transit station. They are planning to sell 18 acres. This would be land fronting South Boulevard near the old Queen Park theatre and would include a dense urban village of apartments, condos, shops and offices. The area would be directly accessable to the transit station and walkable from the surrounding area.

The goal would be to create something similar to the Englewood station located on Denver's light rail line that is responsible for 4000 boardings/day on that line. Apparently the unnamed developers are looking to buy additional land in addition the the 18 acres to build complimentary projects. The land will be bid out in a similar fashion to the sale of the coliseum and the profits from the sale will go back into mass transit projects. (mainly to improve the South LRT)

The rest of this is my opinion...

I think this is great and are proof the anti-transit folks have it wrong. This project proves that arguments that transit is not cost effective, miss the point that transit has positive returns to a city that can't be directly placed onto a spreadsheet. (why dont these people look at highways anyway) That particular part of South Blvd. has been blighted for decades and it will be great to see it redeveloped into an urban village that is going to attract more people into the city.

I also predict this will be where we will see significant new condo building activity in lieu of further highrise construction for the time being.

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This is just one of many projects to come along the LRT Line. Take a ride down South blvd. and you will see many places that are good for redevelopment.

The shopping center at Arrowwood and Old Pineville Rd. will be another place for a project of this type.

Looking for something to happen at Bland St. and South Blvd.

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The shopping center at Arrowwood and Old Pineville Rd. will be another place for a project of this type.

Looking for something to happen at Bland St. and South Blvd.

I so hope that old Wal-Mart blight is turned into something useful.

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I think the Scaleybark station has the best chance of any of the stations to provide an amazing urban center. I'm not sure what land CATS owns, but I think this project is probably the very industrial land facing the new South Blvd on the west. That land has some interesting old buildings with very urban setbacks, but otherwise looks terrible and add significantly to the blight.

I look forward to hearing more details.

I think a national advertisement for bids was a very good idea. It clearly worked well for the old coliseum land. It not only brings new money and investment to Charlotte that otherwise might not have come, but it takes advantage of the experience that developers in larger cities have. The land also probably looks cheap to them.

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I hope we see redevelopment on that side of South Blvd from Clanton Rd. all the way down to Woodlawn. There really is some nasty stuff along that stretch and what retail there is, is all automobile strip development.

What is interesting about the Englewood Station development mentioned above is that it originally an abandoned shopping mall the city had originally planned to demolish turn into a park and ride lot for the transit system. Instead of that, developers were encouraged to develop it into an urban village. As a result they built a system of gridded streets on the former mall property and now have a system of very desirable homes, retail, and commercial development. And even Walmart came in and developed a store for this concept. As a result they have 4000 boardings/day from this station which is far higher than they would have gotten if the 900 space park & ride lot had been built instead.

The Scaleybark Station does include a 300 spot park and ride lot, and any developer bidding on the land would have to provide this much parking via a parking deck. I am pretty positive for the results of something like this as it will provide a lot of residential living with all of the benefits of living in the CBD without the cost. It will only take a few minutes to board a station and be right in the center city which is probably faster than walking from parts of the center city that isn't directly served by a station.

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The Scaleybark Station does include a 300 spot park and ride lot, and any developer bidding on the land would have to provide this much parking via a parking deck.
Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that these sorts of "zero-sum" parking for development policies have proven to be disasterous barriers to transit oriented development wherever they exist. It's a given that the developer will build more parking for their development, but requiring a complete replacement of all dedicated park-and-ride spaces could be a pretty significant impediment.

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Since there are no official announcements from CATS or anyone else, I guess anything could happen with the park and ride lots, but it is my understanding that would be part of the deal. There is a huge swath of suburban type housing east of this station and it would provide some access for these people to drive to one lot and board a train to go downtown.

I do agree that I would rather see it built without the lot, but they may need it initially for ridership. There might be some opportunities to do something innovative with the parking deck like built retail or offices above it.

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I hope these condos are going to be more affordable for first time home buyers. As much as I'd love to drop three or four hundred thousand on an Uptown or Dilworth condo, its just out of my price range as a recent college grad. Something in the high 100's or low 200's along the transit line would be great for entry and junior level professionals commuting to uptown. Even better for us younguns would be reasonably priced one and two bedroom apartments.

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I hope these condos are going to be more affordable for first time home buyers. As much as I'd love to drop three or four hundred thousand on an Uptown or Dilworth condo, its just out of my price range as a recent college grad. Something in the high 100's or low 200's along the transit line would be great for entry and junior level professionals commuting to uptown. Even better for us younguns would be reasonably priced one and two bedroom apartments.

Well the two bedroom condos at the New Bern stop were in the low 200s so I would suspect these would be lower than that considering the location. I doubt they're going to be building huge, luxury condos.

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Clanton street now connects straight to South Blvd. No more hairpin curve to mess with.

I ride past this construction every day on the bus. I have to admit, compared to CalTrans or the NC DOT, I don't feel like I see a lot of bodies and equipment out there. But the situation is changing week by week.

I think there's quite a lot of opportunity for redevelopment at all the stations. How hard can it be to tear down an automobile dealership? :mellow:

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I cannot tell you how disappointed I am to see that developers are now asking for subsidies in order to build urban developments along the CATS line.

I agree with Lochman!?! It is outrageous to me that these developments can't make the economics work. The city has rebuilt streets, sidewalks, and created a half-billion dollar mass transit network. This land should now not need any more subsidies!

This is terrible news, given the cost overruns of the line itself. This 1-2 punch could cripple all future plans for rail in this county. People will no longer believe it is even creating economic development!

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I cannot tell you how disappointed I am to see that developers are now asking for subsidies in order to build urban developments along the CATS line.

I agree with Lochman!?! It is outrageous to me that these developments can't make the economics work. The city has rebuilt streets, sidewalks, and created a half-billion dollar mass transit network. This land should now not need any more subsidies!

This is terrible news, given the cost overruns of the line itself. This 1-2 punch could cripple all future plans for rail in this county. People will no longer believe it is even creating economic development!

man, i agree.... sounds like a load of BS. it seems whenever the government has a project that shows vulnerbility, every jagass around wants to milk as much as they can. if a development company can't make the #'s work after all that the government subsidized.... well lets just say "eminent domain". while, i'm a staunch anti-eminent domainer, i'd much rather see it enacted to oppose greed rather than appease it. and yes, charlottes light rail project is on it's knees.... the last thing we need to hear is developers asking for more handouts.

*on a sidenote... this weekend i went to JB's "Hole In The Wall" (consignment, antique, junk) shop - on s. blvd. i noticed that they were closing due to the land being bought out by developers. i really love places like JB's, as it really gives the area a "realness". don't get me wrong i love all the new s. blvd development, but, i couldn't help but notice all the crappy bldg's, gravel lots, and pawn shops - i'd much rather see go instead.

sigh.

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I plan on going to the meeting this afternoon on this project to get more details. The Observer was rather lacking in details...for example how much money they want and what it would be used for.

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Well....in typicaly Rubin reporting, they are omitting many key facts, such as.

The city is demanding a grocery store be built there.

The developer has to provide space for a new expanded Scaleybark branch of the library.

A certain percentage of the units have to be affordable housing.

There are some other requirements that I'm not sure about, but essentially, the city is making them develop in a way the market doesn't support, then is surprised that the economics don't work.

I say sell it to the highest bidder with a requirement that demands certain amount of new development to be intiated before a certain time or ownership reverts back to the city.....then we would see this developed without subsidy.....but then people would be complaining that we never build housing that everyone can afford.

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I cannot tell you how disappointed I am to see that developers are now asking for subsidies in order to build urban developments along the CATS line.

Well they rolled out the public money carpet for Pappas to build his development at Midtown, so it is not unreasonable for any developer in the future to ask the city to do the same thing for them. These tricky deals to fund businesses with public money has a way of coming back and biting governments in the ass, and this is an example of it.

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Well they rolled out the public money carpet for Pappas to build his development at Midtown, so it is not unreasonable for any developer in the future to ask the city to do the same thing for them. These tricky deals to fund businesses with public money has a way of coming back and biting governments in the ass, and this is an example of it.

This site's got too much going for it, they need to just say no, we want X and if you can't provide X then don't make a bid. Let the market adjust the price of the land accordingly. That's a form of indirect subsidy.

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I'd rather see a special tax district created for Scaleybark, than more developer givebacks. But I do think the city is muddying responsibilities - by asking for goodies like a redeveloped library, etc.

As usual, the Observer blog at the end of the article, attracts all the transit bashers who whine that Blue line expenditures aren't doing them any good. Heck, 485 doesn't do ME any good... I live too far inside Charlotte to use it. (I used the Beltline in Raleigh regularly, but I usually feel like 485 adds time and miles to my trips.)

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I live outside of 485 and it rarely does me any good either! There are enough decent roads around me on the South side of the loop that I avoid 485 altogether because traffic is rediculous. Isn't that something, prefering surface streets with stop lights to interstate travel.

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I think we may see some progress south of Scaleybark soon. Looks like some work was done this weekend on the crossing signals, and there are foundations in place for new catenary poles.

Speaking of Scaleybark, here is the link to a presentation that City Staff gave to City Council regarding the Scaleybark RFP. This includes renderings and site plans of the 3 different developers plans as well as the financial details for each one.

http://www.charmeck.org/NR/rdonlyres/e73qp...Acquisition.pdf

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which of the new three do you guys like? I am really gravitating towards the Scaleybark Partners LLC proposal. The BofA is nice, but it kind of has that Gateway feel to it. It almost looks like a replica of their Gateway project, in terms of the building materials in the sketches.

You are getting some serious density with the SP LLC proposal. I like that :D . Plus it will really go a long way to increasing ridership. The denser the beter IMO.

A2

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I like the Scaleybark Partners proposal the best too because of the incredible density and the fact that the only parking will be in decks, not surface lots. This will definitely add to the success of the light rail line. Looking good!

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I don't care for the BofA proposal much, but I'm fine with the other two.....I like the intensity of the Scaleybark Partners proposal which includes office and hotel, however Torti Gallas (part of the Baron team) does really high quality urban planning.

I probably prefer Scaleybark Partners proposal, though I'm concerned that they can get raise that much cash to build all of that of spec.

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I went to the presentation of all three. I was vastly more impressed with the Scaleybark Partners (which is Pappas++) over the other two. I like the density, height, and general design.

I wanted to like the Furman/BofA plan, but somehow, it seemed like it underreached. It wasn't unique, didn't seem to create a focal point, and wasn't near the people, retail, and size that Pappas++ planned. I also didn't like that they skipped out on a new street connection parallel to South Blvd that the other two did.

Crosland owns an equal portion of land across South Blvd, so I really hope they don't win. Frankly, I feel like selling them the land would remove the competitive forces in the area, and they'd end up doing the same amount across more land.

Scaleybark Partners (Pappas++) proposes more than double the housing, almost double the retail (they even have a grocer ready to sign), plan the largest amount of open space, double the parking, more community uses, and have a design that provides a focal point for the area. The entirety of the part that faces South Blvd and the park will have street-facing retail.

I guess I can't say any more, I really really liked the Scaleybark Partners proposal.

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Interesting, to see the UP cognoscenti thinking that Furman has taken a swing and missed.

Wasn't Pappas the winning bidder on the Tyvola coliseum site? They could really be biting off a lot to handle at once.

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