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GvilleSC

Expanding Downtown

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UNTIL THE PRESENT on Main:

Downtown's revitilization efforts started on Main from Beattie Street to Broad Street. A 6 block stretch (Beattie-North-Coffee-Washington-McBee-Court-Broad). Does Court Street Count as a block division since there is no major intersection there?

More recently, at some point along the way, the West End was attempted to be revitalized in a small way by the transition of an old cotton warehouse into the West End Market. It stayed quite isolated down in the West End with the only company being the Army Navy store.

Even more recently though, the city successfully connected the West End as an integral part of Downtown by the creation of Falls Park and now the West End Field. As it stands today, along Main there is a 9 block stretch of continuous pedestrian activity (extending from Beattie to Augusta-- adding 3 blocks- counting from Broad to the river as one block).

NOW AND TO THE FUTURE on Main:

Main Street activity is expanding in both directions now. The West End portion, which is expanding at the greatest rate, continues to see the renovation of numerous old buildings, recently finished up street scaping to Pendleton Street, and will soon have the Field House to serve as another major anchor and a spur for resturant and retail development. To the North, Main Street has or should soon finish street scaping to Academy Street, and will have soon have a 13 story tower rising tall with a retail presence on the first floor.

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WHERE TO off of Main???

-Augusta Street has really come alive in the West End as of late. The Ball park has spurred major activity on game nights and the new establishments are encouraging. I'd personally really like to see Augusta's pedestrian activity extend all the way to Vardry and the Brick Street Cafe and new lofts being built there. It's entirely possible and probable, but connecting the scattered storefronts is the issue. We need to get the GTA place out of there first of all.

-Camperdown Way should be interesting to watch evolve, because it's currently doing so right now. There's not any real retail presence on the street though. All of the River Place activity is on the other side of the buildings fronting the River. The new Oyster joint, a possible new residential tower on Rhett Street (right off of Camperdown), as well as the rest of the phase two and phase three of River Place should help Camperdown become an attractive venture off Main, but not a destination IMO. I don't see Camperdown ever evolving into such because it terminates into the bustling Academy Street.

-Broad Street holds much potential. West Broad will be an interesting target to watch as the City Hall Plaza site gets developed. It should lure people off Main and to the shops of Poinsett Corners. At PC, pedestrians will easily be able to access the River Walk's shops and resturants. I think this would be a cool way to loop down the River and hit up the River Walk's offerings from resturants to the artist colony... We'll see, though. I'd really like to see the NW corner of River and Broad streets to be developed. That site would be great for a tower hosting a ground floor department store overlooking the River. What would y'all like to see on this corner???

-McBee Street is one of my favorite candidates for a destination street. McBee Station and the Peacock Hotel and Spa is all I need to say. It's definitely well on its way. A few key locations will be the Suntrust parking lot, and the building under renovations across the street. It would be nice to see Suntrust and NBSC add retail components to their first floors :whistling: . I'm anxious to see what will be be built on both corners of McBee and Main- that Carolina First ATM has to GO! Any ideas on expanding McBee in the other direction? Renovations and a greater retail presence in the pink building on the corner would be a start. The bus station is another starting point...

-West Washington is in the works, so we'll have to wait on it to see what's going to happen, but once again the bus station needs to go. East Washington is also in the works with the Bookends phase two being started soon. Does anyone see this street becoming anything great? Available land is there. Ideas for Washington?

-Coffee is one of my favorite streets downtown. It already has a character of its own. It's really a short stretch of road, but if capitalized upon in the right way, it could be a Greenville signature. What do y'all think about Coffee's future, what developments do you see coming, and what do you see it becoming?

-North and Beattie are key links to Heritage Green and the Bilo Center on the other end of the spectrum. Something about them just don't get me excited though. But if you're excited, talk about it!

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Well, which street do you think has the most potential? What developments do you see coming to that street (hotels, retail, office space, residential...)? Or do you think it will be a street parallel to Main? If you have something to add, add it. I'm just trying to generate some dicussion on here. I'd like to keep this in a realistic mind set, but feel free to dream, because that's what this thread is doing in a way. :)

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I think that this is probably one of the largest issues facing downtown today. IMO, the only "problem" with downtown is that its basicly all contained on one street.

I agree that Coffee St is a cool street, and could easily be an extension of the Main St feel. It also has the Map Shop, which is the best store in SC. Campwerdown has a lot of potential as well, and the presence of RiverPlace should really help that area improve. One of the biggest issues is what to do with Spring/River and Richardson streets. These streets as they exist are not very attractive for pedestrians and shop owners, but if downtown is to truely expand off of Main St then these streets will have to be addressed. The Peacock may help enhance Spring St somewhat, but it will probably do more to help McBee, which in turn is going to be helped by McBee Station. Hopfully these developments will generate large amounts of pedestrian traffic, and encourage the city to fix up the area underneath the bridge and over to Main St.

Just to recap- I think McBee, Coffee, and Camperdown all have the best chances for an expansion of the Main St feel.

If I'm wishing then I would want to see Spring St be the home to more infill and shops and such. It has a fair amount of empty space to work with, and it could be easily connected with Falls Park (we just need to get the Gville News to move its operations somewhere else). I also think that side of downtown will be the most attractive to development for the time being.

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I think there are three main areas for future growth. Well, more, but some like the West end are already in progress.

1) The area bordered by the Falls St., McBee, the Church St. Bridge and Camperdown St. - I think that this locations easy access to Falls Park gives it great potential. Current Main Developments are the Suntrust Building, the Coldwell Banker Building and Bowater. Redevelopemtn sould be focused to the once site of the Tower at Falls and Broad and the other Vacant Lots as well as the demolition and redevelopment of the US Post Office, The Bank of America Branch and a number of one a two story office buildings on Camperdown and the Parking Lot at Suntrust. This area could also include development of the vacant site on the other side of the Church St. bridge accross from North Hampton Wines. Ideal developments for the entire area would be mid-rise residential (apartments & condos) and office. I could see a High Rise at Falls and Broad but probably no where else in this area.

2) Haynie Sirrine - Key sites for redevelopment would be what was or will be the Mid-Town Center (Super Bilo) the Brio Parking Lot, Cameron Barkley, and of course The County Square site.

Ideal Development would be Mid-rise mixed-use, regional retail may be able to be attracted to the area becuase of the size of Church St. and its access to 385 and 185. High Rise development may be possible as well.

3) Stone Ave - Main Site for redevelopment would be the 9-12 acres in the collins estate at Stone and N. Main. Again I could see a large mixed use project like McBee Station maybe even a High Rise. Also, I could see the Ghettoe Bi-Lo being redeveloped for a High Rise.

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Does anyone think that the County Square/Haynie-Sirrine area can ever be connected to the City Center district directly and not via the West End? (Pedestrian Wise) That big 'valley' where the Reedy runs seems like a big and difficult division to connect through. Most people would rather not walk a up and down a mountain to reach something...

Most of Downtown's City Center growth will have to be east of Main. The arms and center of the cross (Downtown Baptist, First Presbyterian, and Buncombe Street) hold too much land to allow healthy growth in that direction for more than a block.

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I think that this is probably one of the largest issues facing downtown today. IMO, the only "problem" with downtown is that its basicly all contained on one street.

Just to recap- I think McBee, Coffee, and Camperdown all have the best chances for an expansion of the Main St feel.

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Downtown ultimately needs to work at being as friendly as possible to retail stores. Friday evening I went up to Hendersonville for their Christmas lighting/ town festival. I was blown away at the number of retail outlets Hendersonville has, more than downtown Greenville. At this point, Greenville's reputation is based on restaurants and parks downtown, but not much else. Adding retail that people would want to shop at, not just knick-knack shops selling luxury things, seems like it should be a priority.

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Downtown ultimately needs to work at being as friendly as possible to retail stores. Friday evening I went up to Hendersonville for their Christmas lighting/ town festival. I was blown away at the number of retail outlets Hendersonville has, more than downtown Greenville. At this point, Greenville's reputation is based on restaurants and parks downtown, but not much else. Adding retail that people would want to shop at, not just knick-knack shops selling luxury things, seems like it should be a priority.

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Mcbee station with publix and staples is very good i think. Its just around the corner in downtown greenville but not in the way. This will be attractive to the many condo and apartment holders that choose Mcbee station as their future home!

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We have a few of those - Rush Wilson, Augusta 20, Sworn Denim, etc. - however I do agree that we need more if we are to enhance the appeal of our city's downtown to potential new residents. Downtown is a major attraction, that cannot be argued, but to become a home for thousands of additional people, retail development must happen soon. This is definitely one of the key elements city leaders are aware of, and they are actively working to attract the right players. I hope to see some action soon. :thumbsup:

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One thing they can do is allow restaurants and bars to stay open past midnight. People who live in an urban setting tend to want a nightlife, and right now the city has ordinances that make this difficult (but not impossible). I have heard that people living downtown complain about noise, so the city enacted that ordinance, which applies to new businesses. I personally think that if you want to live in a city, and more importantly in the urban core/entertainment district of a city like Greenville, you should expect noise and learn to deal with it. New people to the area who want an urban life style also tend to want a night life, or at least the possibility of one when they want it. And beyond that if Greenville wants to expand downtown it will need to allow these types of businesses (and other non-traditional ones, like hot dog stands) to exist peacefully within downtown. I think that all of this is just one part of attracting more people into permenantly resettling downtown.

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I am encouraged that the new Brown Street Club (upscale jazz club) will stay open until 2:00am. Good stuff! :shades:

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I think Spring st, River St, and Broad and Washington St. would all be PERFECT for intensive development, and would help DT become more 3-D.

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Good point. People buying downtown should also change their expectation from a surburban mentality and know they are trading peaceful weekends in the back yard, for lights, noise, energy and vibrancy.

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I am encouraged that the new Brown Street Club (upscale jazz club) will stay open until 2:00am. Good stuff! :shades:

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Is downtown expensive in regards to rent and taxes for a business to operate in, moreso say than a shopping center like Cherrydale or Greenridge?

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Is downtown expensive in regards to rent and taxes for a business to operate in, moreso say than a shopping center like Cherrydale or Greenridge?

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I'd think not necessarily (and perhaps cheaper), although some chain retailers look for things such as traffic counts (i.e., cars passing by), co-anchors (i.e., big-box stores or department stores nearby) and minimum population and income levels nearby. Downtown doesn't really have those criteria met yet so it thus isn't really on the radar screen for at least mall-type chains.

I'm surprised though that Mast General Store hasn't generated traffic to keep those dying stores around it in business; Mast seems to be bustling.

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I look at this more from the aspect of the owners. The retail landscape is littered in every city in the country with specailty mom and pop stores that didn't make it. Everybody has a great idea and everybody believes their idea will sell.....the American dream. A year after opening, reality sets in that they simply aren't making the dollars they thought or weren't back with enough cash in the first place. They cut their losses and close. Very few people are truely backed with enough dollars and very few are willing to stand a few years of struggle to make a name and get a business going. For each closing in downtown, more are opening. These closings go on daily in every downtown and even more in the burbs (you just don't notice it in the sprawl of the burbs). Bentley's may close......the new choclate shop is coming......

I don't see any problem with the traffic generated, I see problems with the stores......I mean really Sunshine, I'm sorry, looked like a Cato in the burbs.

The overall picture of downtown is it is growing.....it may take 3 steps forward and 1 step back, but overall it's forward. My investment advisor warned me not to look at investments monthly or I'd go crazy. He said look at them over the longhaul. Make alot of money today, loose a little tomorrow.....3 steps forward, 1 step back. Overall downtown is on a positive upward climb. :thumbsup:

That said, Skyliner I really agree with your rant. :) Locals must support what we have! We can't just depend on tourist. We've got to vote with our wallets.....you can either send money to Minnepalis via a big red Target, or you can invest in your own town via Venti and Bentleys.

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Voting with wallets?

Like has been said, other than Mast and once or twice a year in Bentley's, there is nothing at a local place downtown that I would really want to buy on any regular basis. Other than not being cheaper or convenient, there isn't 'there' that I really want. I can look at doo-dads in Ayer' Leather store, or browse at a print at some shop that I can't remember its name, but that's it.

Putting money into something that I don't like or need isn't really for me, nor does it really help out the town in the long term to artificially prop up a store just because because they are in Greenville.

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I agree you shouldn't "vote with your wallet" just to artificially prop up businesses if they are not meeting your needs or specific wants. Capitalism is not a charity. Captialism rewards a business or individual based on the return the give the receiving party. Charity is given to those who can't help themselves. I've been known to to go to Barnes and Noble find a book a like and then come home and find the same book on Amazon for half the price and buy it that way. I do try to shop and use services near my home however but not at the expense a quality product, food or service I may need. The same agrument has been said in regards to automobiles and electronics from Japan. I've heard, Buy American, Buy American, Buy American by certain industries but why should I reward my "country" if it is producing sub-par products? Yes, I would love to Buy American or in my local community but "propping up" does not help anyone. I don't get what I need and the vendor gets a false sense of my "customer sastisfaction" and is not encouraged to beat the competition at their game.

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One thing I'm getting out of this thread is that a retailer with wide demographic appeal needs to locate downtown. However, as downtown simply cannot compete with Woodruff Road according to typical measures retailers use (as mentioned above, traffic counts, average incomes and population growth) when locating stores, it will likely take a developer giving a good deal to a store or perhaps public funds to attract such a store. That's how large department stores were attracted to some downtowns such as Atlanta and Pittsburgh within the past decade.

Does anyone think such things will happen in Greenville anytime soon? (I'd be philosophically against spending tax dollars to basically subsidize retailers, and I'd think a developer would want whatever stores can pay the highest rents, but perhaps there is some hope?) If McBee Station is attracting a Staples (good lease terms helped, maybe? I don't know), perhaps there is more to come?

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The owner of QI Mountain apparently owns the building and received an offer for the building that could not be refused. I believe the owner is shopping for a new location and will probably resurface in the West End. IMO we will probably we see more of the small mom and pop retail being replace with chains or better financed business as part of a natural evolution of downtown.

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I guess just different strokes for different folks. When I was saying vote with your wallet, I didn't mean just give money and spend for no reason. What I did mean....an example.....say I have 6 office gifts to buy at Christmas. I could choose between spending those dollars with a national retailer (Target, Pottery Barn, etc) or with a local retailer (Venti, Life is Good, Emporium, etc). I have to spend the money anyway, and I've rerouted those dollars into the local economy, not into a corporate headquarters miles away. I find plenty of great things and cool stuff in Venti, Benetz, Mast, OPTaylors, Emporium, Kudzu, Life is Good, etc, etc). :thumbsup: Those are some great stores and glad Greenville has them. Venti has brands and items that you normally would have to drive to Charlotte or Atlanta for.

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I agree with what most are saying here. You shouldn't feel obligated to go out of your way to purchase something simply because it helps a local retailer. Most of us don't have the time, money, or interest to do such a thing. I do see the value, however, in purchasing from a local retailer IF they offer the product you need for a comparable price. I am not the type of person to overpay for a product just because a local retailer has it, but if their price is competitive and/or their product is original enough that I can't find it somewhere else, I will buy it.

I think most people feel this way, and when you get down to it, it is the job of the RETAILER to have products that appeal to people (on price, uniqueness, utility, etc.). It's not the consumer's job to make them think their product is better than it is. That is a Band-Aid approach that only masks the underlying problem.

I think we truly have some great retailers in our city (especially downtown). They are a part of what makes downtown great - an important component of our city's urban core that we should nurture when possible. I think it is clear that, as in any other city, Greenville has some local retailers that are outstanding and others that are just okay. Thankfully, consumers will decide who should stick around and who isn't the best fit for downtown Greenville. :thumbsup:

And unfortunately, a lot of the "purging" will come as Greenville grows, density increases, and national retailers start to move into downtown and the West End. That is a natural progression that every city must go through, but fortunately it leaves room for the good local retailers.

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I don't know if this is stillt the problem it once was, but many of the local shops on Main do not open on Sunday. How can you be closed on what is probably the second best day of the week for retail?

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