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Downtown Greensboro Developments


cityboi

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Hopefully, the new jail won't be so ugly.

we call it ugly now but whats ugly now may be worth preserving years later. Many thought the King Cotton Hotel was ugly so it was demolished for the sake of progress in the early 1970s. Today it would not be looked at as being ugly. The county jail and governmental plaza is very unique architecture for the city despite its concrete fortress like design. I think too often we expect everything to be built of brick and glass.

Edited by cityboi
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Downtown Greensboro, Inc.'s annual report to the community states that several previously mentioned projects will be moving forward in 2009-2010, including the renovation of the Southeastern Building, and the installation of a carousel on Church Street near the children's museum.

The report also talks about the upcoming request for proposals for the South Elm/Lee site currently undergoing environmental remediation. The spitting match for this land, which will be sold for redevelopment at a significant discount, has already begun, with residents of the Old Asheboro neighborhood throwing their support behind the hotel proposal previously mentioned several months back.

The proposal has apparently already been submitted to the Redevelopment Commission, but it isn't posted on their website. So I can't say whether plans have changed since first mentioned a while back.

Personally, if this hotel project does win the site, which is by no means a given at this time, I hope they at least change the exterior design. I wasn't too keen on the French chateau look. I hope the greater Greensboro community is given a chance to view proposals and provide feedback before a decision is made.

Edited by beyonce245
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Downtown Greensboro, Inc.'s annual report to the community states that several previously mentioned projects will be moving forward in 2009-2010, including the renovation of the Southeastern Building, and the installation of a carousel on Church Street near the children's museum.

The report also talks about the upcoming request for proposals for the South Elm/Lee site currently undergoing environmental remediation. The spitting match for this land, which will be sold for redevelopment at a significant discount, has already begun, with residents of the Old Asheboro neighborhood throwing their support behind the hotel proposal previously mentioned several months back.

The proposal has apparently already been submitted to the Redevelopment Commission, but it isn't posted on their website. So I can't say whether plans have changed since first mentioned a while back.

Personally, if this hotel project does win the site, which is by no means a given at this time, I hope they at least change the exterior design. I wasn't too keen on the French chateau look. I hope the greater Greensboro community is given a chance to view proposals and provide feedback before a decision is made.

I think it was more of a conceptual rendering. I think the final design of the hotel will be quite different. After looking at the rendering im not sure how that design would fit onto the site. If the developer can get the federal dollars which appears to be likely, this hotel project moves forward. I'm also glad to see the Southeastern Building and carousel project moving forward.

Edited by cityboi
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Not all Brutalist architecture is bad. Look at the Guilford County Courthouse for example. Preservation Greensboro seems to value this building and they even go on to say that the Guilford County Court House is arguably the best example of the style in North Carolina, if not the southeastern United States. The Guilford County Courthouse was designed by well known architect Eduardo Catalano from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Some of his other designs are the Juilliard School of Music at New York City's Lincoln Center, US embassies in Buenos Aires and the Stratton Student Center at MIT in Cambridge Mass. So these buildings in Greensboro must be preserved at all cost because they are a rare form of architecture in North Carolina and designed by a well known architect.

Guilford County Courthouse - designed by Eduardo Catalano

GCcourthouse.jpg

Here is an another example Eduardo Catalano's brutalist designs

Juilliard School of Music at New York City's Lincoln Center

800px-Juilliard_School_-_Alice_Tully_Hall.jpg

But read the article in this link about this form of architecture in Greensboro. Its very interesting

http://preservationgreensboro.typepad.com/...g/architecture/

another great example of brutalist architecture. I think of this style as being like art sculptures. They are not meant to attract street level activity. I know we love our brick, steel and glass and even though this form of architecture doesn't belong on South Elm Street, there is a place for this architecture in our city. it adds to the diversity of architecture in our downtown. I think its important to have styles from all eras so our downtown doesn't look too old or too new.

In fact architects today are even reviving brutalist architecture with a more modern twist to it.

11013_thestandardnewyork_exterior_lowrez.jpg

Edited by cityboi
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Drove by the Miller Furniture building and there seems to be some activity going on. The first floor has been completely cleared out. Hopefully, this means that the owner is actively working on renovating the ground floor for the restaurant concept from WS (Elm & Vine) and converting the upper floors into apartments.

I'd really like to see more rental units being renovated or built over the next few years instead of simply condos. A lot of people, especially young professionals just starting out, can't afford a mortgage payment.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The South Elm Street Redevelopment decided last week that it wants one master developer to construct a mix of retail, office, and residential at the land at Lee and S. Elm. The News & Record states that this move effectively blocks the proposed hotel, unless the woman pushing the hotel can get it included in the master site plan.

Personally, I'm happy about the decision and hope the hotel doesn't get built. I didn't like the rendering for the proposed hotel. And even if it was merely "conceptual," it clearly demonstrated that the hotel group had poor taste and didn't understand the architectural fabric of the surrounding areas. And the proposed profit-sharing agreement with the residents of the Asheboro neighborhood was just plain shady. Plus, I'd rather see more residential units occupied year-round than a sometimes full hotel. Hopefully since the city will be selling the land at a discount, the city will encourage the eventual developer to include more modestly priced condos or apartments so more people can afford to live downtown.

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Some how I feel that if Dennis Quaintance or Roy Carroll were proposing a hotel at this site there would be no issue. I do think its a good location for a hotel. having more hotel rooms downtown increases out of town foot traffic on the streets of downtown. Sure the rendering wasnt the best for this site but like the developer of the 5-story building on South Elm, Bridget Chisholm and her team could work with local businesses and preservation Greensboro to build something more suitable. We forget so soon that the developer of the 5-story building on South Elm had a rendering that showed the building almost completely made of glass and steel. It didnt fit at all with the rest of the buildings nearby. Now the final design fits in perfectly. The truth is Bridget Chisholm's hotel project is financially feasible because of federal grants. but I am suspicious as to why she is being discouraged to go forward with this project if you get my drift. I guess some people are not suppose to build projects like this and if they try people immediately think it will be a failure because of who they are. Nevertheless Bridget should try to get in on the master plan and I do believe she could build something thats suitable for the site. I think we need more than just residential and some office at the southern gateway of our downtown.

Edited by cityboi
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Some how I feel that if Dennis Quaintance or Roy Carroll were proposing a hotel at this site there would be no issue. I do think its a good location for a hotel. having more hotel rooms downtown increases out of town foot traffic on the streets of downtown. Sure the rendering wasnt the best for this site but like the developer of the 5-story building on South Elm, Bridget Chisholm and her team could work with local businesses and preservation Greensboro to build something more suitable. We forget so soon that the developer of the 5-story building on South Elm had a rendering that showed the building almost completely made of glass and steel. It didnt fit at all with the rest of the buildings nearby. Now the final design fits in perfectly. The truth is Bridget Chisholm's hotel project is financially feasible because of federal grants. but I am suspicious as to why she is being discouraged to go forward with this project if you get my drift. I guess some people are not suppose to build projects like this and if they try people immediately think it will be a failure because of who they are. Nevertheless Bridget should try to get in on the master plan and I do believe she could build something thats suitable for the site. I think we need more than just residential and some office at the southern gateway of our downtown.

I do get your "drift" and I don't think that has anything to do with it. I can't speak for the commission. But personally, I would be concerned about Chisholm's ability to see this project through from start to finish, especially since she's only discussed non-interest bearing federal bonds as a means of financing construction. This assumes that this project would even qualify for the bonds or that bonds are still available. The amount of financing provided for these types of bonds is not limitless. I would at least expect her to have to demonstrate some sort of other capitalization for this project, because the bonds alone leave too many ifs, ands or buts unanswered. Also, she wants 4 acres for the hotel. That's a pretty sprawling design considering the density in that area. If she somehow does get included in the master plan, she should be required to build up or condense the design and use less acreage so that the city can get the most out of this land. Dennis Quaintance or Roy Carroll building on this site would be completely different because they have a track record in development and the hospitality industry in. Chisholm doesn't.

Edited by beyonce245
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Glad to hear this. I was concerned that the hotel was going to be a block killer and not at all in keeping with the proposed plans for that area. I also question the feasibility of a hotel at that location. Perhaps after that side of Lee has been redeveloped then it could be attractive for travelers. But as of now I don't see many travelers wanting to stay on that side of the tracks.

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Actually Chisholm does have a track record. She has been involved with the development of hotels in Memphis. But I think progress is being made to clean up the perception of "south of the tracks" The police have already cracked down on the loitering at Eugene and Lee Streets making rounds every 30 minutes. We are seeing new development on Lee Street as well. Other improvements the city can make is more lighting and improved landscaping along Lee Street. I remember back in the 90s when people thought Southside would fail. They couldn't believe an upscale product could be developed in a "questionable area". Because while a developer had visions of upscale townhomes, shops and restaurants in the neighborhood, there was crime, abandoned homes, winos and homeless people walking the streets. At the time it was a ludicrous notion to propose what we see today. Southside began much like the South Elm-Lee street project where the city cleaned up the neighborhhood and had meetings with potential developers. I don't think we should underestimate the potential of what can happen at South Elm and Lee.

However if I were Chisholm, I would not build it as a luxury hotel and i would reduce the number of rooms to about 150. But if the hotel project fails, I dont think economics would be the biggest factor but rather her being squeezed out of the project. Thats just my opinion. Again no one would be treating Roy Carroll like that if he had proposed a hotel here. BTW What commission is this and who is on it? If its not the developer, zoning commission or city council, no group should be deciding what is built where.

Edited by cityboi
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Actually Chisholm does have a track record. She has been involved with the development of hotels in Memphis. But I think progress is being made to clean up the perception of "south of the tracks" The police have already cracked down on the loitering at Eugene and Lee Streets making rounds every 30 minutes. We are seeing new development on Lee Street as well. Other improvements the city can make is more lighting and improved landscaping along Lee Street. I remember back in the 90s when people thought Southside would fail. They couldn't believe an upscale product could be developed in a "questionable area". Because while a developer had visions of upscale townhomes, shops and restaurants in the neighborhood, there was crime, abandoned homes, winos and homeless people walking the streets. At the time it was a ludicrous notion to propose what we see today. Southside began much like the South Elm-Lee street project where the city cleaned up the neighborhhood and had meetings with potential developers. I don't think we should underestimate the potential of what can happen at South Elm and Lee.

However if I were Chisholm, I would not build it as a luxury hotel and i would reduce the number of rooms to about 150. But if the hotel project fails, I dont think economics would be the biggest factor but rather her being squeezed out of the project. Thats just my opinion. Again no one would be treating Roy Carroll like that if he had proposed a hotel here. BTW What commission is this and who is on it? If its not the developer, zoning commission or city council, no group should be deciding what is built where.

It's the Redevelopment Commission. It includes five citizen members appointed by the city council, including Nettie Coad who is a big community organizer for that area of town. And I don't think anyone is treating Ms. Chisholm disrespectfully. If they want to let her build a hotel there, it's ok with me. I just want them to make her make it less of an atrocity and more compatible with the surrounding areas. But again I'd rather see ground floor retail, with office space and residential units above instead of a hotel. But that's just my personal preference.

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It's the Redevelopment Commission. It includes five citizen members appointed by the city council, including Nettie Coad who is a big community organizer for that area of town. And I don't think anyone is treating Ms. Chisholm disrespectfully. If they want to let her build a hotel there, it's ok with me. I just want them to make her make it less of an atrocity and more compatible with the surrounding areas. But again I'd rather see ground floor retail, with office space and residential units above instead of a hotel. But that's just my personal preference.

I agree. But I dont think it has to be either or. The project can be very dynamic and have different elements including some form of entertainment. I dont think this project should be just more of the same for downtown. This is the gateway to the center-city so it needs to be something special. If anything Ii think a hotel is a better fit for this location than a school administration building. I do think 300 rooms is a bit too much for the location and im sure the rooms will be reduced in number.

Edited by cityboi
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I agree. But I dont think it has to be either or. The project can be very dynamic and have different elements including some form of entertainment. I dont think this project should be just more of the same for downtown. This is the gateway to the center-city so it needs to be something special. If anything Ii think a hotel is a better fit for this location than a school administration building. I do think 300 rooms is a bit too much for the location and im sure the rooms will be reduced in number.

I certainly don't like the early renderings we've seen of the proposed school administration building either. And like I said previously, I wouldn't mind if a hotel was part of this redevelopment. But giving Ms. Chisholm 4 of the 7 acres for a hotel is simply unacceptable. Why not she what she proposes for one acre or two. And I also don't think having Mixed-use in this area would be "more of the same." If anything, I think it would help the adjacent portion of S. Elm continue to transition, especially if there was office space for new employees who would frequent the area's restaurants, etc. That would be one of my reasons for supporting mixed use over a hotel, is year round patronage of the area's offerings. But again, I'm not adverse to a hotel there. And I agree with you that the number of rooms would have to be reduced. I'd say no more than 150, and the hotel should be something like Courtyard by Marriott or a Hilton Garden Inn. Still very nice hotels but without the luxury pricing.

For the life of me, I don't know why everything proposed for downtown is freakin' luxury this and luxury that. Not everything has to be luxury.

Edited by beyonce245
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I certainly don't like the early renderings we've seen of the proposed school administration building either. And like I said previously, I wouldn't mind if a hotel was part of this redevelopment. But giving Ms. Chisholm 4 of the 7 acres for a hotel is simply unacceptable. Why not she what she proposes for one acre or two. And I also don't think having Mixed-use in this area would be "more of the same." If anything, I think it would help the adjacent portion of S. Elm continue to transition, especially if there was office space for new employees who would frequent the area's restaurants, etc. That would be one of my reasons for supporting mixed use over a hotel, is year round patronage of the area's offerings. But again, I'm not adverse to a hotel there. And I agree with you that the number of rooms would have to be reduced. I'd say no more than 150, and the hotel should be something like Courtyard by Marriott or a Hilton Garden Inn. Still very nice hotels but without the luxury pricing.

For the life of me, I don't know why everything proposed for downtown is freakin' luxury this and luxury that. Not everything has to be luxury.

mixed-use can include a hotel. Hotel guests along with regular city patrons will spend money at shops and restaurants in the proposed project and the rest of downtown. I dont think the 4 acres for her proposal is set in stone. I do think she can give a little to make her project work. If anything reducing its size will help it be more financially feasible. But I think before ANYTHING is built there, the city needs to add streetscaping along Lee Street, at least between Freeman Mill Rd and Murrow Blvd. I've noticed that a new decorative stop light is being put up downtown on Lee Street at the Freeman Mill Rd exit.

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I certainly don't like the early renderings we've seen of the proposed school administration building either. And like I said previously, I wouldn't mind if a hotel was part of this redevelopment. But giving Ms. Chisholm 4 of the 7 acres for a hotel is simply unacceptable. Why not she what she proposes for one acre or two. And I also don't think having Mixed-use in this area would be "more of the same." If anything, I think it would help the adjacent portion of S. Elm continue to transition, especially if there was office space for new employees who would frequent the area's restaurants, etc. That would be one of my reasons for supporting mixed use over a hotel, is year round patronage of the area's offerings. But again, I'm not adverse to a hotel there. And I agree with you that the number of rooms would have to be reduced. I'd say no more than 150, and the hotel should be something like Courtyard by Marriott or a Hilton Garden Inn. Still very nice hotels but without the luxury pricing.

For the life of me, I don't know why everything proposed for downtown is freakin' luxury this and luxury that. Not everything has to be luxury.

mixed-use can include a hotel. Hotel guests along with regular city patrons will spend money at shops and restaurants in the proposed project and the rest of downtown. I dont think the 4 acres for her proposal is set in stone. I do think she can give a little to make her project work. If anything reducing its size will help it be more financially feasible. But I think before ANYTHING is built there, the city needs to add streetscaping along Lee Street, at least between Freeman Mill Rd and Murrow Blvd. I've noticed that a new decorative stop light is being put up downtown on Lee Street at the Freeman Mill Rd exit.

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mixed-use can include a hotel. Hotel guests along with regular city patrons will spend money at shops and restaurants in the proposed project and the rest of downtown. I dont think the 4 acres for her proposal is set in stone. I do think she can give a little to make her project work. If anything reducing its size will help it be more financially feasible. But I think before ANYTHING is built there, the city needs to add streetscaping along Lee Street, at least between Freeman Mill Rd and Murrow Blvd. I've noticed that a new decorative stop light is being put up downtown on Lee Street at the Freeman Mill Rd exit.

I don't know about between Freeman and Murrow, but the city is and/or has plans to do streetscaping in the area where you saw the stop light. It's part of the $7.5 million earmarked for High Point Road streetscape improvements from the 2008 transportation bonds.

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The Biz Journal reports that Momentum Development Partners, a Raleigh investment group, is planning to invest $6.5 million to renovate two buildings at S. Elm and Lewis Streets. The buildings are already under contract and the group hopes to recruit "well known destination restaurants" for the buildings by the third or fourth quarter of 2010. Office space will be on the second floors. They're also planning to to build a 150 spot surface parking lot on land on Barnhardt Street, adjacent to Sidetrax.

Normally I would be opposed to a surface parking lot, but I think more parking is needed in this area of S. Elm. All of the city's parking decks are located on the other side of the tracks, and street parking is quite hard to come by.

I wonder if the group's decision to do this now was in anyway influenced by the fact that the city will soon be redevelopment the S. Elm and Lee land not too far away?

Information about the group, their marketing package for these buildings, and photos can be found here.

Edited by beyonce245
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The Biz Journal reports that Momentum Development Partners, a Raleigh investment group, is planning to invest $6.5 million to renovate two buildings at S. Elm and Lewis Streets. The buildings are already under contract and the group hopes to recruit "well known destination restaurants" for the buildings by the third or fourth quarter of 2010. Office space will be on the second floors. They're also planning to to build a 150 spot surface parking lot on land on Barnhardt Street, adjacent to Sidetrax.

Normally I would be opposed to a surface parking lot, but I think more parking is needed in this area of S. Elm. All of the city's parking decks are located on the other side of the tracks, and street parking is quite hard to come by.

I wonder if the group's decision to do this now was in anyway influenced by the fact that the city will soon be redevelopment the S. Elm and Lee land not too far away?

Information about the group, their marketing package for these buildings, and photos can be found here.

Sounds good. Thanks for posting.

I am not against a surface lot so long as it is on a side or back street.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Construction on new addition to Greensboro skyline underway

work begins on new 8-story downtown jail addition and renovation of current jail. Architecturally the new jail does look better.

_487106609112009.jpg

http://www.news-record.com/content/2009/11/08/article/work_begins_on_new_jail_downtown

http://www.digtriad.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=132872&catid=57

Edited by cityboi
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Construction on new addition to Greensboro skyline underway

work begins on new 8-story downtown jail addition and renovation of current jail. Architecturally the new jail does look better.

_487106609112009.jpg

http://www.news-record.com/content/2009/11/08/article/work_begins_on_new_jail_downtown

http://www.digtriad.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=132872&catid=57

I agree. I like the architecture much better than the existing facility. I wonder what street corner that entrance is supposed to face?

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A jail is a jail. It's just a necessity these days. I don't think it's anything to tout in terms of the skyline or the urban fabric though.

What touting? If I'm not mistaken, you're the first person to even mention the skyline or urban fabric in relation to this project.

The comments about the building architecture were mainly in response to the following comment I made a while ago:

Hopefully, the new jail won't be so ugly.

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