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Downtown Greensboro Developments


cityboi

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This blog entry is from 2007 when Blair Kamin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune came to Greensboro. He made some architectural and urban development suggestions for our downtown. I think we need to challenge our city leaders and local developers to take Greensboro to the next level architecturally and start focusing on more vertical downtown projects.

 

 


But if your building is third rate, then your company’s image will be third-rate. And if your city’s buildings are third-rate, then the image of your city will be third-rate. And if the image of your city is third rate, then how on Earth are you going to attract the most desirable people—“the creative class,” as Richard Florida calls them? You won’t. You’ll be a provincial backwater. You won’t be fully equipped to move into the 21st Century. It’ll be as though as you were living without cell phones and Blackberries and computers. They’re all essential right? Well, good design is too.

 

 

 I love the old Jefferson Pilot Building, with its twin towers, its terra cotta façade and its bust of Thomas Jefferson overlooking Elm Street. I don’t think it was at all a coincidence that somebody put this building on a postcard. This skyscraper was a civic symbol as well as a piece of real estate. It spoke of craftsmanship and attention to detail and a prosperous Greensboro that had fully embraced the 20th Century. But would anybody put [contemporary] Greensboro skyscrapers on a postcard? They are utterly undistinguished, wasted opportunities to enliven the civic realm. They flunk what I call “the postcard test”: If a skyscraper is beloved enough, it will enter the realm of popular culture and you’ll see it on T-shirts, key chains and dinner plates. But the broader point all these buildings raise for Greensboro is this: The next tall building on your skyline may be residential, not office; that building may be tall and thin, not short and squat; and this building could be boldly expressive, a skyline icon, not just another box like the one now being built across from Center City Park.

 

My challenge to you--to the business leaders of Greensboro, to the political leaders and to the citizens--is to recognize that architecture matters and to act on that understand in fresh and creative ways. You’ve made a good start in reviving your downtown, but now it’s time to raise your game to the next level. You can:

 

 

• Expand the downtown revival beyond Elm Street to create lively districts; right now, you have one lively street and everything else is pretty much a desert;

• Extend the vitality of downtown into the skyline, which desperately needs a powerful vertical presence, a new campanile, to symbolize downtown’s rebirth;

• Encourage the creation of contemporary architecture that will signal that the downtown is not standing still and that it has moved decisively into the 21st Century

• Ensure that density is accompanied by urbanity in new downtown residential developments—indeed, in all projects

• Keep on preserving the past—the whole past, not mere slivers of it

• And green the downtown, its buildings and public spaces, in a way that gives new meaning to the name Greensboro.

 

There’s an old saying: You get what you deserve. Well, we get the built environment we deserve, especially in a small city. Chicago, a big city, can take the occasional bad building; it fades into the woodwork. But here, every building counts; it has a disproportionate impact on the urban fabric. There is not a lot of room for error. So my advice to you is this: Seize every chance you get. Be bold. And absolutely, positively, do not accept mediocrity.

 

http://preservationgreensboro.typepad.com/weblog/2007/11/my-two-cents-pe.html

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I have always thought the Gate City CBD was small considering the larger urban area it represents.  Not speaking from numbers or an educated urban planner but from a wide eyed citizen who has travelled the world and wants the best for all NC urban areas.  I agree with Mr. Kamlin that a city has to take control of its own destiny and build itself a brand or identity.  Maybe not a siggy tower in the midst of a weak economical recovery but building up that density and bringing life to the streets.  The civic leaders and orgs have to put their petty differences aside, small town thinking and think from an anchor city pov.  If Greensboro is going to be the tie that binds the Triad then if has elevate the game and do so buy showing that everyone is on board for progress.  

 

Im not sure what has stunted the growth of NC cities in terms of the lack of urban growth and development downtown in the past.  Most of the "dynamic" parts of our cities are located on corridors that leave downtown as small enclaves that have seen token development.  Greensboro needs to build that core then build vertical maybe.  Most importantly though is all the citizens have to be board.  In order to make the city grow it has to be safe, fair and full of oppurtunity so the city can attract far from its borders.  Thats how I see it anyways.  I look forward to seeing more urban residential clustered around the CBD in the future and possibly a commercial project to feed off that newfound density.

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More vertical development will come when the market demands it. I agree that it would be nice to have some defining showpieces for the skyline when the demand for such can be justified, but it's not something city leaders should focus on. Rather, the focus should be on enhancing and improving the street-level experience. From an outsider's perspective, Greensboro has been and is doing just that--Center City Park, the ballpark, Southside, the South Elm Redevelopment, performing arts center plans, etc. Of course there's always room for improvement, but Greensboro is generally on the right track IMO.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A new office building could be coming to downtown Greensboro

 

 

Councilman Matheny said a new office building in downtown Greensboro is likely in the upcoming months. While the proposed building would only be two to four stories,  it would be the first office building built downtown in years. Its a sign the downtown office market is on the rebound and a new era of midrise/highrise office projects could be around the corner. Matheny said a second office project is in the works and could be announced this summer.
 
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  • 2 weeks later...

It's great to see the Southeastern Building mixed use apartment project finally under construction. The demand for downtown apartments is on the rise as The Greenway at Fisher Park will soon start construction on phase 2, The Greenway at Stadium Park. The second phase will overlook NewBridge Bank Ballpark. In addition, CityView at Southside will start construction on its 3rd expansion in a few months. The expansion will include 97 more apartments, small park and an 8,000 sq ft amenities center with a 6,000 sq ft gym. The gym will be MUCH larger then the current cardio room in the clubhouse which is really too small for a complex of this size. Currently its difficult to get on an exercise machine during peak hours. But it looks like with the new amenities center, CityView will have two clubhouses. The new residential units will feature another 4 story building. After expansion, CityView will have about 450 units in ten buildings making it by far the largest apartment complex in downtown Greensboro. Since many of the units feature two bedrooms with multiple tenants, there will be at least 700 people in this one apartment complex alone. This complex will have more residents than the Center Pointe tower.

 

details on the cityview expansion here

 

http://greensboro.rhinotimes.com/Articles-Articles-c-2013-03-13-215073.112113-Zoners-Approve-CityView-Expansion.html

 

 

Construction on the South Elm/Lee St project is also expected to begin later this year and the first residential units in the project will include apartments.

 

Apartment websites

 

http://www.cityviewatsouthside.com/

 

http://www.greenwayatfisherpark.com/

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More apartments planned for downtown area. Former Guilford County commissioner Skip Alston is planning an 84 unit apartment complex just south of downtown off of South Eugene St. The site is in close proximity to the South Elm/Lee St project. The apartment complex will be gated and will have a clubhouse and picnic area. Rents will range from $650 per mo to $850 per mo.

 

Asberry Courts Apartments

 

http://www.asberrycourts.com/

 

http://myfox8.com/2013/04/26/former-guilford-county-commissioner-wants-to-build-6-million-apartment-complex-in-greensboro/

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  • 1 month later...

new headquarters being built downtown. While the building will only be three stories, the architecture will be more modern with significant glass. I was getting tired of the brick retro buildings. Another office building may be in the works and that plan could be announced this summer.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/blog/2013/06/charles-aris-we-want-to-be-a-part-of.html?page=all

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new headquarters being built downtown. While the building will only be three stories, the architecture will be more modern with significant glass. I was getting tired of the brick retro buildings. Another office building may be in the works and that plan could be announced this summer.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/blog/2013/06/charles-aris-we-want-to-be-a-part-of.html?page=all

 

To only be a 3 story building, it looks pretty nice. I'm sure revisions will be made. Wow! What a big improvement for that area of downtown. I'm glad to see that this business is bullish about staying/investing in downtown. Maybe this will cause others to do so.

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To only be a 3 story building, it looks pretty nice. I'm sure revisions will be made. Wow! What a big improvement for that area of downtown. I'm glad to see that this business is bullish about staying/investing in downtown. Maybe this will cause others to do so.

 

just imagine how nice that rendering would be if it were a high-rise building. The center glass portion actually reminds me of a tower in downtown Charlotte.

 

http://myfox8.com/2013/06/19/greensboro-city-council-approves-200000-loan-for-charles-aris/

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demolition to begin for phase 2 of Greenway at Fisher Park Apartments. The second phase will be called The Greenway at Stadium Park and will be built next to the ballpark overlooking the field. The Greenway at Fisher Park apartments is 100% leased which is rare for any apartment complex in Greensboro. CityView at Southside is above 95% leased which is evidence there is high demand for downtown apartments. Most apartments through out the city are around 85% leased.

 

http://www.news-record.com/news/local_news/article_a8635808-d9da-11e2-a5d5-0019bb30f31a.html

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/blog/2013/06/demolition-to-start-on-north-state.html

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  • 1 month later...

Well it would appear that's not the only news for that part of downtown today, apparently Roy Caroll is studying the prospect of building a hotel across from the ballpark... http://www.news-record.com/business/article_8d1b479c-0147-11e3-916e-001a4bcf6878.html

 

The news and record says Greensboro might "have a new addition to its skyline" The number of rooms would determine how tall this hotel would be. Great news! Its encouraging to see all this development going up near the ballpark. The Greenway at Stadium Park Apartments will be going up soon next to the ballpark. Roy Carroll is becoming the Joe Koury of downtown Greensboro

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update....the News & Record reports the hotel could be 7 to 8 stories, which is about the height of the O'Henry and Proximity Hotels at Friendly Shopping Center. So we are talking about a borderline mid-rise/high-rise hotel. Roy Carroll says construction could begin next spring. The location of the hotel gives guest views of the field at NewBridge Bank Ballpark so they can watch games from their room. The northwest side of downtown is starting to see a construction boom with the Greenway at Fisher Park Apartments, Greenway at Stadium Park Apartments, a new 3 to 4 story corporate headquarters building, the downtown greenway and a new grocery story. The hotel will only attract more development. The performing arts center will be the largest downtown project over the next few years and will have a huge impact in downtown Greensboro. It will become a magnet that will draw out of towners to downtown Greensboro with its Broadway, comedy and traveling shows. The mayor say GPAC should open in 2016.

 

 

We could be seeing a hotel this tall overlooking the ballpark across the street

 

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y239/krazeeboi/HiltonColumbiaCenter.jpg

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fox 8 video clip on the hotel proposal

 

http://myfox8.com/2013/08/10/developer-planning-hotel-for-downtown-greensboro/

 

Newbridge Bank Ballpark will have a nice urban environment around the stadium with apartments and now a hotel overlooking the field. I'm wondering if developer Roy Carroll is planning underground parking for the hotel because the site doesn't appear to be large enough for above ground parking for a hotel of that size unless the hotel will have a very small footprint. I would prefer underground parking over a parking deck anyway. Underground parking was chosen for a similar size hotel overlooking BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte. The recent surge of downtown development is evidence the economy is on the rebound and I'm excited to see what will happen next.

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Here is an interesting article about the evolution of downtown and its residential growth. People from all walks of life are moving downtown. The demand to live downtown is so great, people are being turned away from the Greenway at Fisher Park Apartments because they are 100% full. There is a waiting list. The complex's second phase, The Greenway at Stadium Park will open up more units for people who are waiting. In the case of CityView at Southside, the demand is so great, the apartment complex will soon begin construction on its third phase and is building a larger gym and clubhouse to accommodate the new residents. CityView is the largest apartment complex and the largest residential complex in general in downtown Greensboro. The Lofts at Greensboro Court stays 100% full most of the time. The demand has led other developers to take on a renovation project with the 9 story Southeastern Building which will have a restaurant, offices and apartments. As downtown get more amenities such as Deep Roots Market grocery store and a performing arts center, more and more people will want to live downtown. Developers are going to have to be prepared for the demand and the center-city may finally get more larger scale and taller residential projects. I would like to see developers take on high-rise apartment projects, renovation and new construction. I would love to see the 15-story Guilford Building turned into an apartment tower. It could be an expansion of the Greensboro Court apartments as originally planned. The Guilford Building was built in 1926. Its was suppose to be a hotel but instead opened as home to Greensboro National Bank. Another high-rise hotel called the King Cotton opened that same year. Overtime the King Cotton Hotel became neglected as other newer and modern hotels were being built in other areas of the city. For a short period of time it served as a dorm for A&T students. The 14 story hotel was eventually demolished in the early 1970s which was an unfortunate lost. during the early 70s, renovation was not the trend. It was out with the old and in with the new. Many historical commercial row buildings on that same block were demolished to make way for the News & Record building which has caused that part of Davie and Church street to be dead with no activity. The commercial buildings which existed before the News & Record building looked like the old buildings we see on South Elm street today. Just think how vibrant that block would be today with restaurants, cultural art galleries and a renovated hotel if those structures had been saved. It could have become the cultural hub of the cultural district on Church Street similar to the early days of the SoHo neighborhood in New York City.

 

 

link

http://www.news-record.com/news/local_news/article_d699bce0-022e-11e3-8e3f-0019bb30f31a.html

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a second hotel is planned for downtown Greensboro. This time the Wyndham Luxury Hotel plan is back on the table. The planned hotel would be over 10 stories located on S Elm/Davie Streets attached to the Elm Street Center. If the hotel is built on top of a multi story parking deck, it could be 13 to 15 stories tall. This would be a conference hotel. Wyndham would be the first luxury brand hotel to enter the Triad market. Just a few days ago an 8 story downtown hotel was proposed for a site across from the ballpark. It seems that the planned performing arts center has triggered both hotel proposals. Both hotels would be under construction around the same time and would open close to the time the performing arts center is scheduled to open. We could be seeing a couple of high-rise cranes towering over downtown in the near future :)

 

link

http://www.news-record.com/news/local_news/article_3077f524-0379-11e3-b05e-001a4bcf6878.html

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Hahaha, something tells me more is going on than it seems. I'm guessing someone else came to the city *cough*, Q&W, *cough* with a deal to build a hotel on the North Elm site if the city were to purchase it and build the PAC there first, and now you have Roy Caroll and Randall Kaplan announcing their prospective hotels before the city moves on the deal so as to try and prevent the deal from going through and prevent competition. This is pure speculation at this point, but all these hotel announcements coming right after the rather odd plans to move the PAC seems more than a bit strange.

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It would make sense. What if Q&W not only came to the city about building a hotel there but provided a nice donation towards the PAC itself? developer Milton Kern said something odd in an article. In reference to Roy Carroll's hotel proposal he said

 

"I think it’s an excellent idea and I’d like to see a couple more hotels next year downtown, too.”

(Wyndham & PAC hotel?)

 

The question is can downtown support three new medium sized to large hotels considering downtown already has a 300 plus room Marriott hotel? The purpose for moving the PAC to the North Elm site is to have enough land for "other development" on the site. sounds like the city may be taking a few ideas from the developer who proposed the Greensboro Triumph Center. His proposal, which many never took seriously, included a PAC/hotel. It is a good idea though. It sets Greensboro apart from Charlotte and Durham which dont have hotels attached to their PACs

 

DCB..there may be a lot going on behind the scenes that we dont know about. There may be a surprise or two associated with this PAC. The city may very well be planning to partner with a developer on this project for something larger than originally planned and it could explain why the city suddenly abandoned the YWCA site for the larger North Elm Street site.

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Triad Business Journal link on Randall Kaplan's hotel plans

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/blog/2013/08/plans-restart-for-40m-downtown.html?page=all

 

Triad Business Journal link on Roy Carroll's hotel plans

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/blog/morning-edition/2013/08/hotel-mixed-use-project-could-come-to.html

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todays article about the two hotels. In other news, the republican controlled county commissioners board will decide on Thursday on whether to allocate $10 million in hotel tax revenue for the performing arts center. Many republicans have been skeptical even though not one dime will come from the city's general fund nor will residents taxes be raised for the project. However two republicans on the board said they will vote in favor. Republican commissioner Linda Shaw said to her fellow commissioners that its Greensboro's money, not the county's and that with all the private funding, it would be foolish to turn this down. Another republican commissioner said he does have concerns but agrees that its Greensboro's money. Other republicans have said they are not sure how they will vote. But if the two republicans side with the democrats, it will be enough votes for it to pass. There are 5 republicans and 4 democrats. All the democrats will support it so only one of the two republicans who said they will vote for it is needed for this to pass. If this passes the county board, all of the funding will be in place for the $60 million performing arts center. Organizers have said they are exceeding their $20 million goal for donations and the city has already approved $20 million from users fees. $10 million will come from premium parking at the PAC and the last $10 million from the hotel tax approved by the county board. It's an extraordinary feat for Greensboro to build a $60 million 3,000 seat state-of-the-art performing arts center without money coming from the city's general fund or a bond/tax hike on the residents. Not many cities have done this. It will be the largest and most expensive performing arts center in the state and it will even rival facilities in markets across the country larger than Greensboro. This is a facility that will be the showplace of the Carolinas. It is also a facility in part that is triggering the development of two mid-rise and high-rise hotels. And who knows what else will go up on the PAC site.

 

"Second New Hotel May Cement Revival"

http://www.news-record.com/news/local_news/article_3077f524-0379-11e3-b05e-001a4bcf6878.html

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Wow! I'm loosing count of the number of hotel projects proposed for downtown Greensboro! I think the project at Elm and February One and the project at South Elm and Lee St. do not have solid financial ground. I would not expect them to get off the drawing board anytime soon if ever. 

 

On the other hand, if anyone can make a project work it is Roy Carroll. He has said he will totally finance the project himself!. Who else in Greensboro could do that besides Carroll? My money is on Carroll. I totally see him moving forward with his project without wasting much time. 

 

As much as I want to see downtown grow, I sure as heck don't want to see 3 hotels built and see them all fail. I'd rather see one project now and maybe others in the future. As exciting as it may sound, nothing good ever comes out of explosive development. 

 

I am excited to see the residential and office building announcements that have been made for downtown Greensboro in recent weeks.It is nice the see the bulls running in downtown Greensboro

again. I believe we have a bright future ahead if our leaders do things right!

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