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Downtown Greensboro Developments


cityboi

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, rancenc said:

Great pictures of downtown, @cityboi!!  Gives the area a very dense look...too bad there are not at least two 30+ towers to throw into the mix!!

Yes indeed! Hopefully soon Carroll's project which is now being called Carroll Ballpark South instead of Carroll South of the Ballpark will add even more density and height. A business journal article this week stated Carroll intends to build a 20 story office tower there. Eventually his legacy downtown project before he retires will be the Project 561 which would most likely be built next to Center Pointe. There are false windows on that side of the building for anticipation of a tower going up next to it. But because of the changing office market due to pandemics, Project 561 would have to be more mixed-use than originally proposed. Unless Greensboro lures a major corporate headquarters its hard seeing 400,000 square foot of office space in a single tower being filled up. He's gonna probably do something like 100,000 to 200,000 square feet and the rest of the tower would be a hotel and apartments. He can get to 561 feet but the mixed-use ratio is going to have to change. The tower could have 10 floors of office space, 15 floors of hotel space, 10 floors of residential all sitting atop an 8 or 9 story parking deck putting the tower at 43 or 44 stories. There is definitely hotel and apartment demand downtown particularly as the next few years go on with other projects and the success of the Tanger Center, so I think he can make it happen. By the time he puts plans in action for that tower, downtown Greensboro will be further along than it is today and they'll be a need for more hotels and residential.

But if Carroll wanted to take less of a risk for his 561 foot tall tower he could build it with 28 floors as he first proposed and build a structural spire on top to push it to the height of a 40 plus story building. Then he could build 8 stories of parking, 6 stories of office, 7 stories of apartments and 7 stories of hotel space. That configuration would be feasible today and not 5 to 10 years down the road. 6 stories of office space in the tower is a very conservative number in the new pandemic era and in particularly in downtown Greensboro. You'll probably see less 20 story office towers being built and more 20 story mixed-use towers being built. If I had to guess what hotel he would put in P561, I'd say maybe Aloft since he changed Aloft plans at Carroll Ballpark South to AC Hotel. Or maybe he could take it a step up a do a Moxy Hotel. It would literally be less than a block from the Tanger Center and would give traveling Broadway and other performers along with other visitors and business travelers a more upscale option than the Marriott across the street. The Moxy Hotel brand fits in well being near a performing arts center.

 

5581fd72b82b5.image.jpg

Edited by cityboi
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, KJHburg said:

I liked the Carroll SOB name but I will say this.  If anyone builds the new tallest in Greensboro it will be Carroll and it would have to be mixed use.  

I think this will be typical with most midsized cities. The pandemic has really done a number in the office market and could have lasting effects as more people work remote. That by no means ends skyscraper construction in Greensboro. The uses are going to have to change. Mixed-use is the future for office tower construction at least in cities such as Greensboro. Unless big companies relocate to Greensboro, the era of the construction of 20 story plus towers with single use office is over at least for the foreseeable future. Of course that can always change.

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On 1/8/2022 at 7:54 AM, cityboi said:

Yes indeed! Hopefully soon Carroll's project which is now being called Carroll Ballpark South instead of Carroll South of the Ballpark will add even more density and height. A business journal article this week stated Carroll intends to build a 20 story office tower there. Eventually his legacy downtown project before he retires will be the Project 561 which would most likely be built next to Center Pointe. There are false windows on that side of the building for anticipation of a tower going up next to it. But because of the changing office market due to pandemics, Project 561 would have to be more mixed-use than originally proposed. Unless Greensboro lures a major corporate headquarters its hard seeing 400,000 square foot of office space in a single tower being filled up. He's gonna probably do something like 100,000 to 200,000 square feet and the rest of the tower would be a hotel and apartments. He can get to 561 feet but the mixed-use ratio is going to have to change. The tower could have 10 floors of office space, 15 floors of hotel space, 10 floors of residential all sitting atop an 8 or 9 story parking deck putting the tower at 43 or 44 stories. There is definitely hotel and apartment demand downtown particularly as the next few years go on with other projects and the success of the Tanger Center, so I think he can make it happen. By the time he puts plans in action for that tower, downtown Greensboro will be further along than it is today and they'll be a need for more hotels and residential.

But if Carroll wanted to take less of a risk for his 561 foot tall tower he could build it with 28 floors as he first proposed and build a structural spire on top to push it to the height of a 40 plus story building. Then he could build 8 stories of parking, 6 stories of office, 7 stories of apartments and 7 stories of hotel space. That configuration would be feasible today and not 5 to 10 years down the road. 6 stories of office space in the tower is a very conservative number in the new pandemic era and in particularly in downtown Greensboro. You'll probably see less 20 story office towers being built and more 20 story mixed-use towers being built. If I had to guess what hotel he would put in P561, I'd say maybe Aloft since he changed Aloft plans at Carroll Ballpark South to AC Hotel. Or maybe he could take it a step up a do a Moxy Hotel. It would literally be less than a block from the Tanger Center and would give traveling Broadway and other performers along with other visitors and business travelers a more upscale option than the Marriott across the street. The Moxy Hotel brand fits in well being near a performing arts center.

 

5581fd72b82b5.image.jpg

What is the obsession of building a 561’ tall building ? In Greensboro or anywhere ? It seems like such an odd, arbitrary height. How many hotels (or office buildings) does downtown Greensboro need ? I’ve never seen a situation where a local developer selects an exact final building height and scrambles the various elements (office, residential, hotel) to achieve that exact height, to the exact foot, mind you. Generally, these decisions are made based upon local microeconomic conditions, rather than on “bragging rights” by some local developer with a giant ego.

 

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17 hours ago, SlackJack said:

What is the obsession of building a 561’ tall building ? In Greensboro or anywhere ? It seems like such an odd, arbitrary height. How many hotels (or office buildings) does downtown Greensboro need ? I’ve never seen a situation where a local developer selects an exact final building height and scrambles the various elements (office, residential, hotel) to achieve that exact height, to the exact foot, mind you. Generally, these decisions are made based upon local microeconomic conditions, rather than on “bragging rights” by some local developer with a giant ego.

 

The 561 number came from the height needed to exceed the height of towers in Raleigh and Winston-Salem to be the tallest outside of Charlotte. So it was an arbitrary number that would require a lot of geometry to match. 

I'd say Greensboro really should look to building density with 10-25-story buildings that then drive up the land value to justify taller developments. If there is available land, then buildings will be shorter. The more valuable it is, the more a developer is going to build up to accommodate. I do think there is a hotel glut in a lot of NC downtowns outside of Charlotte and Asheville, so it makes sense to try and build that capacity. 

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Downtown Greensboro would be much better off covering 10 surface parking lots with 3-story buildings, than building 1 30-story tower. What's the best and most interesting part of downtown Greensboro - it has to be South Elm Street, right? How many towers do you see there? Smaller-scale buildings on narrow, deep lots makes for interesting, pedestrian-scale urbanism. The sad part is, this already existed 70-100 years ago, but was torn down as a sacrifice to the automobile. Just reclaiming what once existed is a generational task requiring many hands. Massive developments that consume entire city blocks will not generate the same quality of urban environment. So, even if Carroll SOB gets off the ground (we'll see), don't expect a silver bullet. I'm prepared to be underwhelmed.

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I honestly think Downtown needs more vertical construction not low-rise. Downtown Greensboro is small and there is limited available land.  If they fill up all the available lots with low-rise/midrise construction the city won't be able to maximize what can be built downtown. That's really the purpose of building skyscrapers in a downtown.

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56 minutes ago, cityboi said:

I honestly think Downtown needs more vertical construction not low-rise. Downtown Greensboro is small and there is limited available land.  If they fill up all the available lots with low-rise/midrise construction the city won't be able to maximize what can be built downtown. That's really the purpose of building skyscrapers in a downtown.

Sorry, but I 100% disagree with this. If you define central Greensboro as the area bounded by Fisher on the north, Murrow on the east, Gate City on the south, and the A&Y/downtown greenway on the west, that is almost exactly 1 square mile. Take a look at the satellite view of this area. For what is supposed to be the most urban part of the entire city, it is appalling how much land is devoted to surface parking and useless empty space. There is no shortage of vacant land in central Greensboro.

Also, high rise construction is expensive and complicated, which severely limits the number of developers who are capable of developing such projects, as well as the pool of residents/companies who can afford space in such a building. The large footprints required for such buildings, or even for large midrise apartment buildings, concentrates land in fewer hands. This results in situations like Carroll SOB, where an entire block is at the mercy of one developer's timeline, or Carroll at Bellemeade, where poor design destroys the pedestrian experience for a huge stretch of street frontage.

I'll say it again - if the city put its effort towards filling all of the empty lots downtown with small-scale mixed-use buildings, it would be infinitely better off, rather than hoping for unrealistic vanity projects to materialize.

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1 hour ago, cityboi said:

I honestly think Downtown needs more vertical construction not low-rise. Downtown Greensboro is small and there is limited available land.  If they fill up all the available lots with low-rise/midrise construction the city won't be able to maximize what can be built downtown. That's really the purpose of building skyscrapers in a downtown.

The building of high rises in any downtown is based on space needs...current and future. If there is no projection of long term future need for a huge amount of office, retail, or residential space in a downtown where land is scarce and expensive, you're not going to see skyscrapers being built. The only exception to this is situations where corporations want to build signature towers for branding purposes, like BOA and First Union did in Charlotte and Wachovia did in Winston-Salem.

In a city the size of Greensboro with a small downtown and limited available land, most companies will opt to build out in the suburbs and outlying areas where land's readily available if they need a large amount of space, rather than build a skyscraper in downtown Greensboro just to build a skyscraper at a higher cost that really can't be financially justified. No sensible business is going to do that, and no lender with the money to lend would provide funding simply for ego projects.  Again, there has got to be a need and justification.

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4 hours ago, cityboi said:

I honestly think Downtown needs more vertical construction not low-rise. Downtown Greensboro is small and there is limited available land.  If they fill up all the available lots with low-rise/midrise construction the city won't be able to maximize what can be built downtown. That's really the purpose of building skyscrapers in a downtown.

That's just not true. There is a TON of available land outside the 3 or 4 block radius around the Lincoln Financial building. Downtown Greensboro's footprint is smallish.... but it's not miniscule. And there is a TON of land to build on.

The city is MUCH MUCH MUCH (I can't emphasize that enough) better off focusing on low and mid rise projects.

Carroll SOB will (potentially) give Greensboro a new high-rise. But other than that, focusing 3-7 story development is the way to go. Apartments and condos are probably next.  And maybe some smaller scale offices.

There's absolutely no reason for Greensboro to build high-rise right now other than for vanity.... and that's just stupid and destined for failure.

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Just thinking out loud, but is there a way for the city to legally disincentivize open parking lots/vacant lots downtown? Retail space is at a premium downtown and yet there's a massive amount of vacant lots that contribute nothing whatsoever but the owners won't build a 1/2 story commercial building on it since they're hoping someone is going to come in and build an 80 story high rise on it.

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52 minutes ago, DCB said:

Just thinking out loud, but is there a way for the city to legally disincentivize open parking lots/vacant lots downtown? Retail space is at a premium downtown and yet there's a massive amount of vacant lots that contribute nothing whatsoever but the owners won't build a 1/2 story commercial building on it since they're hoping someone is going to come in and build an 80 story high rise on it.

Yes - it's called a land value tax:

https://www.strongtowns.org/landvaluetax

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2020/1/16/the-power-of-the-land-value-tax

The basic idea is that our current property tax system disincentivizes improvements, because property taxes are based on the combined value of the land and the improvements on it. Therefore, improvements = higher taxes. That is how the owner of a surface parking lot downtown can afford to just sit on the land - as long as there is enough parking revenue to offset the (relatively lower) tax assessment, they can wait for someone to come along and offer to purchase the parcel at a high price.

Under an LVT regime, only the value of the land is taxed. So, it doesn't matter if a parcel contains a parking lot or a 20-story building - if the land valuation is the same, they pay the same amount of tax. In theory, this should incentivize land owners to maximize the revenue generation of their land, while not penalizing them for actually building on it.

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I have been reading and posting in these threads for years, and things have not changed since i've started. I can understand how someone with a very very strong desire to see their city rapidly urbanize and develop an impressive skyline would be irritated by seeing all of the impressive development going on in other NC cities that isn't happening in their city. On the other hand, trying to push ridiculous ideas and making things seem like something other than what it is, is not the way to go. Furthermore posting delusions on a public forum doesn't help.

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I don’t think there is much to worry about.  There won’t be any 500’+ structure anytime soon in Greensboro.  There is no desire or demand for it, least of whom would be developer Carroll, regardless of who tries to play soothsayer and read his mind.  There is only one person “obsessed” with such a pie in the sky, and that is cityboi.....

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20 hours ago, RichardC said:

I don’t think there is much to worry about.  There won’t be any 500’+ structure anytime soon in Greensboro.  There is no desire or demand for it, least of whom would be developer Carroll, regardless of who tries to play soothsayer and read his mind.  There is only one person “obsessed” with such a pie in the sky, and that is cityboi.....

Carroll SOB will potentially land a high rise office tower. It just won't be anywhere near 500'. Probably somewhere in the 200's... if it does get built (50/50 it happens in the decade IMO).

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3 hours ago, AlmaPinnix said:

the areas in red probably need to be redeveloped the most, anyone have insight on what businesses or lack there of are on these plots of land?

redeveloped.JPG

That area (top center) would be great for the small 5,000 seat arena the city would like to build downtown along with some adjoining residential. Combined with the ballpark, it could be a part of a sports and entertainment district.

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3 hours ago, cityboi said:

That area (top center) would be great for the small 5,000 seat arena the city would like to build downtown along with some adjoining residential. Combined with the ballpark, it could be a part of a sports and entertainment district.

5000 is too small. The area (Triad) already has like four or five arenas of about the same size. It's not large enough at attract and AHL or even an ECHL team. Even going up to about 6500-7000 seats or so could help fill in a missing niche in the Triad. Perhaps it could also serve as the new home for UNC-G or NC A&T basketball (probably UNC-G since NC A&T has a 5000 seat arena).

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The blue is where the arena could go. There is great surrounding infrastructure for it. It borders Eugene Street which is a major thoroughfare leading back to I-40. The site sits between two parking decks and two hotels across the street (Hyatt Place and future AC Hotel) the area highlighted in yellow is where a SkyHouse apartment tower could go if Novare Group ever considers Greensboro for one at some point in the future. The 20 story office tower and 12 story AC Hotel at Carroll Ballpark South would sit next to it.

Screenshot_20220115-082623_Gallery.jpg

Light blue - 20 story office tower 

Purple- 12 story AC Hotel 

yellow- potential 7 to 9 story residential development built by new ballpark owners. Sort of like a residential twin of Project Slugger.

Red- my "fantasy " site for a SkyHouse apartment tower.

Screenshot_20220115-085611_Gallery.jpg

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I think the downtown arena idea is a distraction at best. DGI put it out there, but it feels gimmicky to me, along with some of the other ideas like the autonomous shuttles. Their efforts would be much better spent working to facilitate small infill development throughout downtown. I’m sure the expectation is that the city would pay a significant portion of the cost to build an arena. Those millions would be much more impactful doing something like expanding transit service. If we had a useful and functional transit network, developments could devote less space to car storage, which in turn would lead to more walking, biking, and transit use. Sure, that’s not as sexy as a new downtown arena, but it’s a much better investment.

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