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Downtown Greensboro Developments


cityboi

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It sounds like Roy Carroll was making a big fuss over relatively minor issues.

Hopefully all the interested parties will be able to work out their differences. The zoning commission hearing had been set for yesterday but was unanimously delayed by the board so that city staff could work with downtown property owners.

I think the downtown guidelines will be a good thing.

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It sounds like Roy Carroll was making a big fuss over relatively minor issues.

Hopefully all the interested parties will be able to work out their differences. The zoning commission hearing had been set for yesterday but was unanimously delayed by the board so that city staff could work with downtown property owners.

I think the downtown guidelines will be a good thing.

He may have been afraid he'd face a similar situation like the 6-story project on South Elm Street. But I agree that issues will be resolved and Roy will keep building. Hes like the Joe Koury of downtown.

Edited by cityboi
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Although I have great respect for Roy Carroll, sometimes I have a hard time trying to figure out whats going on in his head! To send an email to the Triad Business Journal and threaten to scrap downtown projects is nothing more than a way to paly the system! He has no plans to scrap anything! He is seeking leverage to be used when it does come time to build. Saying things about "scrapping projects" sturs the pot and get his name in print along with scaring the hell out of city leaders and those of us that advacate downtown redevelopment. And, I'm sure if he does move forward with his plans (and I think he will) you can be he will have some leverage to work with.

As for the "design manual", its about time Greensboro started acting like a city! I could not be happier that a "framework" is being put in place to "guide" future development. Growth is great but it has to be planned growth. I see nothing wrong with Roy having to put "landscape buffers" around any tower he builds. He'll will complain about it for a while then start building. I believe he realizes his future $$$'s are in downtown Greensboro. So, start building Roy!

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A downtown developer who is afraid of downtown design guidelines is a loser and should be laughed out of town. Design guidelines for downtown make sure that any adjacent property to his will be developed to a higher standard, therefore enhancing the value of the parcel he seeks to develop.

You don't do lowest-common denominator stuff downtown. That's the raison d'etre of the exurbs.

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I agree that Roy may have gone overboard in his reaction to the matter but before we rip the man down, understand that it was him that took a big risk in the Center Pointe project. When no other developers wanted to touch the old Wachovia Building with a 10 foot pole, he had the guts to take the chance. Because of his vision, we have a building to proud of and if it were not for him, we would be looking at that empty pink Wachovia Building today. So I wouldn't rip the man down and tell him to go take a hike. I look forward to seeing more of his proposals become reality because right now he is the only developer that is thinking big for our downtown.

Edited by cityboi
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This update helps to understand where he may be coming from. I glanced through the manual and there is a part in there where it talks about the height of the building can only be a certain percentage taller than the width of the sidewalk. If it is higher than that, then the building has to have setbacks as it goes up. Something to that effect. It may be that according to the guidelines he could not build a taller version of Center Pointe on his property next door. He may have already invested lots of money into the design of the second building which would now may not meet the requirements. That property is small which may mean setbacks are not even possible. If this were the case I might be upset and against the guidelines as well. The guidelines may be throwing a wrench into his plans.

I initially wondered what suburban crap was he wanting to build. But it now sounds like his plans may actually be too urban for the guidelines. I understand a big part of the guidelines is to make sidewalks "friendly" by not having tall buildings looming over them or tall walls against them, but in some cases there should be exceptions. In many cases I would rather have a nice decorative retaining wall next to the sidewalk so the building could be closer to the street then have to set it back and put in landscaping next to the sidewalks. There needs to be some flexibility in the guidelines.

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This update helps to understand where he may be coming from. I glanced through the manual and there is a part in there where it talks about the height of the building can only be a certain percentage taller than the width of the sidewalk. If it is higher than that, then the building has to have setbacks as it goes up. Something to that effect. It may be that according to the guidelines he could not build a taller version of Center Pointe on his property next door. He may have already invested lots of money into the design of the second building which would now may not meet the requirements. That property is small which may mean setbacks are not even possible. If this were the case I might be upset and against the guidelines as well. The guidelines may be throwing a wrench into his plans.

I initially wondered what suburban crap was he wanting to build. But it now sounds like his plans may actually be too urban for the guidelines. I understand a big part of the guidelines is to make sidewalks \"friendly\" by not having tall buildings looming over them or tall walls against them, but in some cases there should be exceptions. In many cases I would rather have a nice decorative retaining wall next to the sidewalk so the building could be closer to the street then have to set it back and put in landscaping next to the sidewalks. There needs to be some flexibility in the guidelines.

the question I have is how far would the set backs go back? That could determine if a 30-story building next to Center Pointe would meet the guidelines. I would actually prefer the building to taper as it goes up though. It just improves the design, especially with the building being 30-stories tall. If you look at the picture I photoshopped above, you\'ll see what I mean. I really want Roy Carroll to do something interesting, bold and unique with the design and shape of his planned tower. Maybe the building could be cylindrical or portions of it. I really want to see some curves in future towers. Everything is sharp 90 degree angles. But I do think there will be flexibilty. If im not mistaken the city actually has guidelines for overall city planning and zoning. Its part of the 2025 plan. City Council and the zoning commission don\'t always go by those rules when apporving projects because every case is different. I have no doubt that things will be worked out and if Roy Carroll has a tower planned for that lot which apparently he does, the city isnt going to block it because it doesnt perfectly meet a set of guidelines.

Here is a 30-story condo tower that is an example of the kind of interesting design I\'d like to see in future downtown towers. Its bold but not too bold and foreign for Greensboro. Im hoping Roy will go for a design more interesting like this. Greensboro\'s high-rise architecture is too conservative. I want to see someething that makes you say WoW.

ar124181345548393.jpg

Here is another example of what I\'d like to see. the bulding has curves to it and its not just a flat box.

main_one_westocean.jpg

Edited by cityboi
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^^ Yea, those are really cool. It would be neat to see some different designs. Now that Center Pointe is pretty much completed I think we may see something from Carroll in the near future.

I admit I do not know a lot about the guide book or whatever it is called. I could be totally wrong about whether the height/setback thing would even apply to Carroll's case. It is like 150 pages and I just skimmed through it. I just feel like his arguments may not actually have to do with suburban-style development but rather some requirement which complicates his plans to build his second tower. For a man who chose to redevelop a long vacant office tower, in the heart of downtown, and choose to live there; he probably is more likely to build more urban-style developments rather than something that belongs in Green Valley.

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I'm certainly not knowledgeable about structural engineering or construction. So I have no clue about what these setbacks mean. I will say the sidewalk on Elm beside Center Pointe is quite large. So I don't really see a problem. But again, I'm an amateur.

In the end, I don't think Roy Carroll has much to worry about. I think Center Pointe has proven that his company does excellent work. The city is sure to work with him to find an amicable solution.

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I'm not sure what the guidelines say specifically about setbacks for taller buildings, but in general, I'm in favor of them (usually starting at the 3rd/4th floors) as it tends to force architects actually address the street in their designs and helps avoid those pedestrian-unfriendly "fortress" entrances for towers that plague so many of our downtowns.

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^^ Yea, those are really cool. It would be neat to see some different designs. Now that Center Pointe is pretty much completed I think we may see something from Carroll in the near future.

I admit I do not know a lot about the guide book or whatever it is called. I could be totally wrong about whether the height/setback thing would even apply to Carroll's case. It is like 150 pages and I just skimmed through it. I just feel like his arguments may not actually have to do with suburban-style development but rather some requirement which complicates his plans to build his second tower. For a man who chose to redevelop a long vacant office tower, in the heart of downtown, and choose to live there; he probably is more likely to build more urban-style developments rather than something that belongs in Green Valley.

I agree Carroll has a vested interest in downtown but I guess when you spend millions of dollars on land and hundereds of thousands of dollars on designs, I can understand why he would be concerned. But they are just concerns, nothing that will dramatically affect his planned projects. But It looks like he already has designs drawn up for the second tower. He just hasn't submitted them to the city and made them public yet. My guess is that the same Architect that designed Center Pointe designed the second tower as well. In a Triad Business Journal article last year, it mentioned that Roy Carroll was gearing up for his second downtown high-rise project. The economy is starting to pick up a little now so I would expect some big announcement within the next year or two in regards to this second tower. Lets hope his high-rise plans are not scaled back. We dont need anymore 20-story buildings for a while. We need something taller so Greensboro's skyline doesn't look so flat and boring. A great skyline has buildings that vary in height. I want to see a new signature tower.

Edited by cityboi
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Lets hope his high-rise plans are not scaled back. We dont need anymore 20-story buildings for a while. We need something taller so Greensboro's skyline doesn't look so flat and boring. A great skyline has buildings that vary in height. I want to see a new signature tower.

Well, a developer will only build what the market can sustain. Surely no developer is going to build a 30-story tower just because it helps the skyline aesthetically. The market will determine whether Greensboro even "needs" a 20-story tower.

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I think Carroll has a taller building planned for that lot. He may not build until the market is favorable but I expect when it is built it will be at least as tall as Center Pointe and most likely taller. That lot is not very large and is surrounded by two fairly tall parking decks and Center Pointe. A high rise is the only thing which makes sense there and I have trouble envisioning a building of the same height as Center Pointe. To look right it will need to be a different height. Any shorter and it will barely get above the parking decks so taller makes more sense. That is also keeping with the concept drawings which were released several years ago.

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Well, a developer will only build what the market can sustain. Surely no developer is going to build a 30-story tower just because it helps the skyline aesthetically. The market will determine whether Greensboro even "needs" a 20-story tower.

I understand that clearly which is why I said lets hope its not scaled back meaning it could get scale back if the market is not there for a 30-story tower. But based on things that he has said, done to Center Pointe and the earlier leaked rendering, his intentions are to build a tower that would be at the most 30-stories. But the height of the building really depends on the ratio of office and residential space. If there is more office in this building than Center Pointe we could see something near 30-stories. I do know that office space vacancy is extremley low in downtown Greensboro right now and the Business Journal talked about office projects being proposed by developers a year ago. But the height of Roy's second building could also be determined by what type of residential could be in the building (condos or apartments). It might be better for him to go with luxury apartments in this second building as oppose to condos. Or it may be a combination of both condos and apartments which could easily add some height to the building. But the price tag of his second tower proposal, which is about $10 million more than Center Pointe would indicate a taller building unless in this building he's using super expensive materials to construct a "green" building or something like that. How tall it will end up being is anyones guess but in his first rendering its 30-stories. But Roy has credibility and a track record now, unlike others who have proposed big projects but have never built anything downtown. Roy Carroll has done something that few would have thought would happened at this point which was to turn that ugly pink Wachovia Building into high end luxury condos. So if he says hes going to build a 30-story tower I believe him.

Edited by cityboi
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UNCG eyes downtown property for pharmacy school

The site is next to the Greensboro Children's Museum (old Duke Power site). Everyone might remember that a few years ago this same land was being eyed for the "Greensboro Triumph Center"

http://www.news-record.com/content/2009/06...pharmacy_school

More students downtown is always great news. Great for business, great for street activity. I would love for A&T to do the same since the campus is so close.

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More students downtown is always great news. Great for business, great for street activity. I would love for A&T to do the same since the campus is so close.

Agreed. Maybe a joint venture like the Gateway Research Park, except put it someplace equally convenient to both schools (ie downtown). Greensboro is in a unique position by having two decent sized universities so close to downtown, but doesn't seem to have done much to cash in on that fact. I'd say students & recent grads are the most likely demo to live downtown so long as there's affordable options (fewer luxury condos, and more apartments).

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Agreed. Maybe a joint venture like the Gateway Research Park, except put it someplace equally convenient to both schools (ie downtown). Greensboro is in a unique position by having two decent sized universities so close to downtown, but doesn't seem to have done much to cash in on that fact. I'd say students & recent grads are the most likely demo to live downtown so long as there's affordable options (fewer luxury condos, and more apartments).

I agree. I would encourage anyone who supports the proposed pharmacy school to write city council members and ask them to show their support. Greensboro's big community foundations (Weaver, Bryan, etc.) seem ready and willing to help. It would be great to see the city's elected officials to show some love as well. I also think having the pharmacy school downtown could potentially bring additional jobs from other companies to the center city.

As for apartments, I've been singing the tune about affordable options for a while now. Yes, everyone wants to live in the lap of luxury. But few people can afford to pay upwards of $1,000 a month for an apartment downtown. I know a lot of people who would love to live downtown and would be perfectly fine skipping some of the extras (granite countertops, stainless appliances). The whole point, at least for me, is to be in a more urban environment and not be so dependent on a car to get everywhere. It's nice to be able to just walk down to the corner to get coffee or see a show or eat dinner.

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My alma mater was an urban campus and downtown had a number of lofts that were income restricted & filled with students. Don't know for fact, but presumably the developer got tax incentives for renovating these historic buildings, and additional incentives for making them low income. Even if apartments weren't as immediately profitable, they could still shift their tax burden, and the downtown land would surely appreciate. Why do I not see that here (aside from the fact that many would-be suitable structures are now parking lots)?

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I understand that clearly which is why I said lets hope its not scaled back meaning it could get scale back if the market is not there for a 30-story tower. But based on things that he has said, done to Center Pointe and the earlier leaked rendering, his intentions are to build a tower that would be at the most 30-stories. But the height of the building really depends on the ratio of office and residential space. If there is more office in this building than Center Pointe we could see something near 30-stories. I do know that office space vacancy is extremley low in downtown Greensboro right now and the Business Journal talked about office projects being proposed by developers a year ago. But the height of Roy's second building could also be determined by what type of residential could be in the building (condos or apartments). It might be better for him to go with luxury apartments in this second building as oppose to condos. Or it may be a combination of both condos and apartments which could easily add some height to the building. But the price tag of his second tower proposal, which is about $10 million more than Center Pointe would indicate a taller building unless in this building he's using super expensive materials to construct a "green" building or something like that. How tall it will end up being is anyones guess but in his first rendering its 30-stories. But Roy has credibility and a track record now, unlike others who have proposed big projects but have never built anything downtown. Roy Carroll has done something that few would have thought would happened at this point which was to turn that ugly pink Wachovia Building into high end luxury condos. So if he says hes going to build a 30-story tower I believe him.

All of that is well and good, but you stated, "We dont need anymore 20-story buildings for a while. We need something taller so Greensboro's skyline doesn't look so flat and boring." You can't say that Greensboro doesn't "need anymore 20-story buildings for a while." A 20-story tower at this point would be a significant addition to both the downtown office/residential market and the skyline as a new tower hasn't been built downtown in about 20 years. You can't see into the future to know what the city's needs will be as far as future office space is concerned. You were speaking strictly from an aesthetic point of view when you said that, which is why I said any developer will only build what the market can sustain.

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There is nothing wrong with talking about what Greensboro's skyline needs from an aesthetic point of view. I realize that what ever is built, it will be based on what the market calls for. I know buildings aren't built for looks. I was just indicating what I think Greensboro needs to have a better skyline should the market call for it. But we'll see if Roy Carroll goes with his 30-story proposal or something lass than 30-stories.

Edited by cityboi
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There is nothing wrong with talking about what Greensboro's skyline needs from an aesthetic point of view. I realize that what ever is built, it will be based on what the market calls for. I know buildings aren't built for looks. I was just indicating what I think Greensboro needs to have a better skyline should the market call for it. But we'll see if Roy Carroll goes with his 30-story proposal or something lass than 30-stories.

All I'm saying is temper what you'd like to see with a bit of realism. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't reject a 20-story office tower being proposed for downtown because that's not what the skyline "needs."

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what y'alls read on the design manual? is it red tape or is it a method for ensuring high quality? my take is that when we look at the unintended consequences of then trendy architecture from the past (google brutalism for example), we often end up with large structures that are hideous, uninviting and damaging to a city's center. look at the fed building in winston or the greensboro-guilford county gov center for local examples where then trendy architecture is now seen as cold and despotic.

give roy carroll an opportunity to be creative and respond to what he thinks the market will bear, while simultaneously maintaining a high quality standard for our city center. the tenants will change over time, but a well designed building will enhance a city center while a poor quality design can hurt a city's vibrancy.

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All I'm saying is temper what you'd like to see with a bit of realism. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't reject a 20-story office tower being proposed for downtown because that's not what the skyline "needs."

so a 30-story tower is not realistic? Let just wait and see what Roy Carroll has up his sleeves and where the market goes. The economy has been in a slump and most projects have been put on hold. But when the economy picks back up lets see what happens. As far as we know Roy may include a hotel in this building. A year ago Roy Carroll said he was looking to build a hotel. But no I wouldn't look down on a 20-story tower being built but from a "aesthetic point of view" we have enough around that height.

Edited by cityboi
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