Jump to content

Downtown Projects & Developments


Recommended Posts


  • Replies 1.2k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Top 2 floors of the old Kosch & Gray building have been painted.  Looks much better, but that whole side of the block (minus the Evins residence) is soooo bland.   Need more color!

Some major plans being refined and pursued right now. H-J parcel in particular. Should be a fun year.

I think an easy compromise would be a redesign to close dunbar, and set up that block of Main Street to allow for vehicular traffic - but not look like it. Have you seen the redesign of Main Street in

Posted Images

I know Disney was looking at multiple locations so maybe that was one of them too. But I'm about 80+% sure that MB was also in the running. There was a big fuss, I know for sure. But I'm unsure of the details, so I can't say for sure that the story didn't get exagerated. I'm still pretty sure MB was at least --also-- in the running just because of the big fuss around town.

I did not even realize I used the word 'sure' so much. lol :alc:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Man I know we are in a recession right now but Spartanburg is kind of pissing me off these days. Unless your last name is Johnson, not a whole heck of a lot is going on. I have spent the last 3 weekends in Black Mountain NC, Greenville, and last night in Landrum and then Tryon for a movie. All 3 of these downtowns exhibit way more signs of life than our ghost town. Greenville is obvious but Black Mountain & Landrum were positively rolling with activity. One thing I did notice from a restaurant/retail standpoint is that stores are smaller and seem more people friendly and the downtown layouts of each are tighter and easier to get from one place to another.

I am not really going anywhere with this, just musing about how it seems like we have a long ways to go to get where we are trying to go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

[Recession or not, if your last name isn't Johnson, it's almost impossible to make something happen in Spartanburg. He works behind the scenes to make sure things happen just the way he wants. I think all the administration in Spartanburg is in his back pocket and its going to stay that way. If you want to do something Downtown it has to be approved by George Dean. Even Chesnee has more action than Spartanburg.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Anderson is a better comparison. They've made some comparatively impressive strides for being a smaller city than Spartanburg.

One thing I did notice from a restaurant/retail standpoint is that stores are smaller and seem more people friendly and the downtown layouts of each are tighter and easier to get from one place to another.

I am not really going anywhere with this, just musing about how it seems like we have a long ways to go to get where we are trying to go.

The pattern that you noticed (which I highlighted) is something that you will find to be consistent in every great downtown everywhere. People friendly is key. Cars have to be second or third (after bikes) or we'll never succeed. There is a reason that Greenville has seen so much success. You can even look at Asheville, Columbia, Clemson, and Charleston and see the same thing.

Thats why adopting the Downtown Master Plan and Urban Code is so very, very, very, very important. It sets up the framework for the changes we'll need to see to make downtown more successful. Johnson does appear to have good intentions but his urban design for his larger projects is deplorable. We need set high goals, adopt plans, and then work to accomplish them, and then expect or leaders to make it happen.

The other problem seems to be that the people who care the most do not live within the Spartanburg city limits (myself included), so the City Council is not accountable to them. Who here lives in the city limits? The people within the city seem to fall into two broad categories: 1) in charge, or 2) indifferent.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I "technically" do not live in the city limits although I live in a part of Hillbrook that is right outside of it. I have lived inside the city for 42 out of the 44 years I have been around though. I care what happens here and want to make a difference. I just sometimes feel that the current is too strong to swim against and not enough people really care.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Who here lives in the city limits? The people within the city seem to fall into two broad categories: 1) in charge, or 2) indifferent.

I do. And I am not in charge or indifferent, but involved.

The best thing that those outside of the city limits could do - is to start their own campaign supporting their area's voluntary annexation into the city (assuming you live somewhere near the metropolitan area). But I don't imagine that happening anytime soon....

I suppose the next best thing is to spend lots and lots of money in city establishments - help keep them alive, which helps make downtown thrive, and adds to the hospitality tax funds, which are reinvested into city growth and downtown revitalization.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't live in the City limits, but I soon will. I think a lot of people are very interested in what happens, but I think their too busy or feel like they can't make a real differance. The turn outs at the Master Plan indicated a great deal of interest. I just think a certain culture exists within the established administrative staff that could care less. The less things change or advance the less work they have to deal with. Another Roy Lane would do the trick. He had the vision and passion to make a differance and truly cared about where Spartanburg is going. Even in these troublesome economic times I think most of us could think of 10-12 things Spartanburg really needs, but no one is willing to put up the crap the City puts you through. Its hard enough when you are supported, but when you face the obsticals and crap Spartanburg dumps on you its easier to go elsewhere or just give up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Anderson is a better comparison. They've made some comparatively impressive strides for being a smaller city than Spartanburg.

The pattern that you noticed (which I highlighted) is something that you will find to be consistent in every great downtown everywhere. People friendly is key. Cars have to be second or third (after bikes) or we'll never succeed. There is a reason that Greenville has seen so much success. You can even look at Asheville, Columbia, Clemson, and Charleston and see the same thing...

I'd add Hendersonville to that comparison as well. I understand the area's natural appeal toward retirees, but look closely at what they have developed thus far in their downtown - without the colleges and larger metro population. It is a fine display of downtown revitalization in progress on a small scale, similar to what Anderson is experiencing. The activity and public interest levels have skyrocketed as a result of the efforts to make downtown pedestrian friendly. All of these elements form part of the recipe for the eventual creation of vibrancy and vitality.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Even in these troublesome economic times I think most of us could think of 10-12 things Spartanburg really needs, but no one is willing to put up the crap the City puts you through. Its hard enough when you are supported, but when you face the obsticals and crap Spartanburg dumps on you its easier to go elsewhere or just give up.

What would you like to see? Concerning retail and mid-range food? I've heard of someone who wants to put a Night Market downtown. It would also include a coomon area for people to enjoy company and food.The concept is stalls/booths (without walls for the most part) that would entice mircro-business. I am certain the hot dog man would be WELCOMe, and a taco man/woman. I think the plan would be for approx. 10 people. A vegetable-fruit stand, beerwine person, t-shirt person, jewelry, heck anything that was willing to pluck down $200 per month for a 10 x 12 space. A mini-grocer, a dollars store, a used clothing store, Ice cream shop, coffe tea place. The hours would be wed-sat 5-11pm. The reason two fold... to bring something to downtown and parking is very limited during daytime.

It has said if you build it they will come... do you think the dreamer could find people who would like to operate these small businesses and work together for the ecomomic good of all.??

Any ideas? I know the "dreamer" has had this ideasfor quite some and is trying to make it happen but the hoops are MANY and thorny. lol The dreamer has been waiting for the Master Plan to happen to ease parking restricition due to Not being in the Central Business District. Dreamer's neighbors are HEavy Hitters... ie Mr. G.D. Johnson and Qs-I

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think "dreamer" can do well if all 10 or so shops open at once and create an energy that would appeal to many. It has been tried before on a much larger scale at the Bizou market. The Bizou was completely leased with an Ice Cream shop, Mexican restaurant, Tai restaurant, a florist and others, but it took the developers so long to get the project completed that some tenants went elsewhere and others just went away. It was supposed to open in June of 04 but wasn't completed until late 06 (more city bull crap to get through). It lost its energy and as of today has not filled a single space. If I had to pick a few things to put in a small market, some might be:

-Ice Cream

-Hot dog man

-A small BBQ etc.

-A coffee/muffin shop

-Flower shop

-Map/gift store

-Mexican food

-Grocery/Deli counter combo

-Candle/insence/music

-Pizza/Italian

-City/souviner

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input... anyone else have any ideas for dreamer?? Anyone know of anyone who wants to start their own micro business. We should give Wal-mart a run for it's money.... lol. Perhaps this could spur some local production of goods. Selling local grown food would be awesome.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another area that haven't been mentioned is public infrastructure. Namely sidewalks, but also the streets, and the designs of each. The difference between what other cities have done and Spartanburg is QUALITY. Walk down Main Street from Dennys Tower to the Square and it just doesn't feel right. Its not the lack of shops, its not the buildings, its not a lack of people. Its the emptiness that you can't quite explain. The design of a street makes a major impact on how people perceive their environment. People respond in-kind to theses stimuli. The fact that Main Street has that damned "serpentine" design is in part why it doesn't feel right. It feels cheap, like being in the Dollar General. Its also the inconsistent spacing of the trees. Its the ANGLED PARKING. None of it feels right. You feel like you're not really supposed to be there even though there's no physical reason you shouldn't be. When you get to Main & Church to cross over to the Square, you don't feel welcomed. You feel like you have to run across the street so you aren't flattened.

Now, once you get over to the Square it feels better. The new layout sacrificed parking, but it put PEOPLE first. You feel like you're supposed to be there. It feels good. The problem with the Square, ironically, becomes the buildings. George Dean Johnson, despite his best intentions, built a building that is extremely attractive for those driving by at 35mph on Church Street. By ignoring the opportunities for street fronting retail he (and the city) killed that side of the Square. There's absolutely no reason for people to go there except to walk to the parking garage.

Think about how this applies to other streets within downtown. and compare that to other cities. Think about which streets on which you would actually like to walk. We have too many half-streets, and not enough complete streets in Spartanburg. Magnolia St, Ezell St, W. Main St, E. Main St (except for one block), all have attractive, historic buildings fronting one side and horribly designed parking lots/garages or other unattractive dead space on the other side. Or the streets are too wide. Or there's something else that was either done half-assed or that was done to appease drivers and not pedestrians, all while ignoring how land use and transportation interact with each other.

My point is that the streets have to be well designed and then integrated with the abutting land uses in order for this thing we call a city to be successful. The entrepreneurial spirit of Spartans is something I have never questioned. Our citizens WANT our downtown to be great. To compete with Greenville. To be beautiful. Its all a lot better than it used to be, but we still have a long way to go. New restaurants and shops and what not can be very successful, but we have to get our government to position itself to make it happen. This is my dream.

The new Downtown Master Plan and the Urban Code embodies these concepts. IMO, until the plan and the code is adopted, we will not see the level of success that we want our city to see.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to add that its frustrating that all of these things can't seem to happen. But even still, its important to retain optimism. Downtown is 1000x better than it was just 5 years ago.

I think that a good BBQ place (again, something that feels like QUALITY) would be very successful downtown. Wild Wing (sort of) filled this void, and it will again once they get that situation straightened out. I'd rather see some authentic Carolina BBQ place that cooks it on-site. It may not be appropriate for Bijou. I still think a Mexican restaurant would do well if it used all fresh ingredients. A restaurant that had higher quality food (fresh ingredients) than the standard mexican restaurant but with competitive prices would be awesome.

A coffee place would be great. We have 4 of them at one point. Now we're down to zero, right?

We have pizza... like three of them in the vicinity. Sonny's being the closest to the Square, and not a bad walk either.

Ice cream would be great. Put that next to Imagination Station and you have a winning combo.

I would love to see a new pub of some sort. The current selection is disappointing at best. I really want to see a bar that has decent, unique food and that offers all SC-brewed beer. So you get your RJ Rocker, Thomas Creek, then the Palmetto Pale Ales and what not from the Lowcountry, etc. You could even throw in the NC breweries too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you been to a city council meeting to speak your mind or give your opinion? Or just to see what is going on? Why the stall on the Master Plan??Etc. Etc.

The next council meeting is Mon. Jan 26 @ 5:30 City Hall.

They meet 2nd and 4rth Mondays.

Feb 9th

Feb 23rd

March 9th

March 23rd

This is our only forum to say what we, the people, want and demand!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to add that its frustrating that all of these things can't seem to happen. But even still, its important to retain optimism. Downtown is 1000x better than it was just 5 years ago.

I think that a good BBQ place (again, something that feels like QUALITY) would be very successful downtown. Wild Wing (sort of) filled this void, and it will again once they get that situation straightened out. I'd rather see some authentic Carolina BBQ place that cooks it on-site. It may not be appropriate for Bijou. I still think a Mexican restaurant would do well if it used all fresh ingredients. A restaurant that had higher quality food (fresh ingredients) than the standard mexican restaurant but with competitive prices would be awesome.

A coffee place would be great. We have 4 of them at one point. Now we're down to zero, right?

We have pizza... like three of them in the vicinity. Sonny's being the closest to the Square, and not a bad walk either.

Ice cream would be great. Put that next to Imagination Station and you have a winning combo.

I would love to see a new pub of some sort. The current selection is disappointing at best. I really want to see a bar that has decent, unique food and that offers all SC-brewed beer. So you get your RJ Rocker, Thomas Creek, then the Palmetto Pale Ales and what not from the Lowcountry, etc. You could even throw in the NC breweries too.

I would say downtown is about 10 times better than it was 5 years ago. Remember Wild Wing was not here then and who knows when it will be back. Don't think that all the things you mention above have not been thought about by various folks that want to start these types of business, however something is keeping them from starting up. It could be money, but even when that was easy to come by (until recently) some of the buildings that are vacant now were vacant then. Why do entrepenaurs not want to start Main St businesses in Spartanburg? They do in every other town in a 60 mile radius. I think something else is at work here but can't put my finger on it.

There have been improvements such as Hub-Bub and the restaurant next to it (never can remember its name), the Chapman Center, and others but it has been hard to maintain the positive energy. I do like the idea of a new pub but location would be critical. Got any ideas?

PS- I was on business in Greenville today and had to drop something off downtown at lunch. While looking for a parking space (I know use the deck, but its an old Spartanburg habit to break), I saw a hot dog vendor on the corner of Coffee & Main and then another on the corner of Camperdown and Main. Gosh knows how many others there were. Man we are light years from even 1 of these.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Think about all the things that have improved in downtown over the past 5-7 years. Its quite an impressive list. I think about the downtown 20 years ago, the one that people avoided at almost any cost, and its a lot better now. My only point is that we need to remember that progress has been made even though we're making these criticisms.

The restaurant in the Hub-Bub building is called Brasserie Ecosse.

I highly recommend that anyone contact city council and the planning department, etc and let them know what you think or what you want to see. If they don't hear from their constituency then they won't know what people want. To that end, I think that some people on council have lost touch with reality. I can name a few, but without pointing fingers, some lack any vision whatsoever.

Link to post
Share on other sites

To that end, if anyone wants to get involved, the City had vacancies on the Planning Commission at one point, and I would assume the County does as well. You have to live in the city, but if you do its worth trying to get involved with it because they make recommendations to city council about how to act on development-related issues. in Spartanburg City, its mostly re-development. In the County its probably new subdivisions and strip malls.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.