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The Gateway Site

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6 hours ago, SVL said:

https://greenvillejournal.com/2018/03/28/city-asks-what-the-future-holds-for-downtown-greenville/

 In the Gateway District, there are plans to build a hotel on the former Greenville Memorial Auditorium site. 

Interesting quote in the Journal today. Wonder when the plan will be revealed?

It's an important tract for development as an entrance to downtown...unfortunate traffic flow issues around it.  Would be ideal to have a sizeable, convention style hotel due to proximity to the Well & downtown...an attractive building comprised of a 5-8 floor parking garage and a 12-15 floor structure on top.  Would imagine a reputable hotel chain  will study room occupancy for existing hotels plus those now under construction (completion soon).  I hope the first shovel of dirt will be turned sooner than later...been a really long wait. 

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I haven't juggled any figures, but I'd think with property prices, someone could afford to add a proper pedestrian bridge across N Church St to any development there.

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Agree with both posts above. I would love a statement building there, both in size and architecture, but I am not confident in that. I also don't know how we could support any more hotels right now, especially sizeable ones. Mixed use seems to be our best bet IMO. I have often thought an overpass could work there as well. I have also thought that a pedestrian underpass with a few shops lining the way would be a really cool way to go. Those are very popular in Asia, and probably Europe, but I'm sure it would be costly and I doubt any of our developers would take a chance.

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12 hours ago, distortedlogic said:

Agree with both posts above. I would love a statement building there, both in size and architecture, but I am not confident in that. I also don't know how we could support any more hotels right now, especially sizeable ones. Mixed use seems to be our best bet IMO. I have often thought an overpass could work there as well. I have also thought that a pedestrian underpass with a few shops lining the way would be a really cool way to go. Those are very popular in Asia, and probably Europe, but I'm sure it would be costly and I doubt any of our developers would take a chance.

The problem with the crosswalk--a great idea in theory--is that it's hemmed in by a courthouse and a historic church+cemetery. Not sure how you'd make that work, since--I would think--there'd have to be sizable approaches to something high enough for truck traffic.

Now if the county included a new courthouse in their redevelopment of County Square, the existing courthouse could perhaps be repurposed and associated with something on the gateway site, or demolished and replaced. I don't recall ever having been inside the County Courthouse building, so I don't know whether it has any historic value that's worth preserving.

But I've often wondered whether there'd be a way to use the land in between the Hyatt and the Gateway site to create a larger convention capacity: like the way the Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton in Atlanta co-host large events; just Greenville scale.

I was recently at a meeting at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, which has a ~20 story Sheraton attached to it. I don't know what its capacity is, but it's in the multiple thousands. It's essentially in a mall parking lot and the Coliseum is not far away, I gather. If Greensboro  can do it, surely Greenville can--and what I've outlined above would distribute the risk of the "facility," since there wouldn't have to be one as such. But distortedlogic is probably right--in terms of hotel construction, we've probably passed the point of feasibility for that kind of thing for the time being.

It is interesting to me that we somehow managed to build a 330 room Hyatt almost 40 years ago, when downtown was in an iron lung; and in the time since nobody's built anything even close to that size.

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It is interesting to me that we somehow managed to build a 330 room Hyatt almost 40 years ago, when downtown was in an iron lung; and in the time since nobody's built anything even close to that size.

The short answer is Max Heller's friendship with the owner of the Hyatt chain. It lost money for years after it was first built.  

 

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2 hours ago, vicupstate said:

The short answer is Max Heller's friendship with the owner of the Hyatt chain. It lost money for years after it was first built.  

 

Surely Hyatt had/has no ownership in the real estate. Presumably Greenville was taking all the losses. I suppose it was Heller's influence that kept the Hyatt brand on the building.

I did a little informal ciphering, and I've come up with 1485 rooms** that are in existence or under construction downtown from 350 N Main to Main & Markley, and from Church to Academy, not including the Hyatt or the Poinsett. With the Poinsett, that's the same number of rooms as are in the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta. Not bad at all.

I just find it interesting that, given the city's obvious interest in convention business downtown, hotel development has been so scattered and small (relative to the Hyatt). I know they've got the Palmetto Expo albatross and a study that says "if you build it, they won't come." And of course there are limits to shepherding of developers. Still, all those hotel rooms and there's no way to capitalize on them for maybe a bigger slice of the convention business because they're so scattered. Seems a shame.

**I couldn't find definite numbers on Main & Markley or on 350 N. Main, so I just used 150 for each. If my info is up to date, Res. Inn/Spring Hill is the biggest at 240 rooms; Poinsett is 200; all the rest are from 115 to 160.

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No the city was not taking the loss on operations, Hyatt was. The city subsidized the convention space but that was a one time up front expense.  The funding of which may have been federal money in whole or part.  There was a low cost loan for construction that was federal money also.  

Based on the city size and the condition of DT at the time, there was no business reason at all to build the Hyatt there.   

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42 minutes ago, vicupstate said:

No the city was not taking the loss on operations, Hyatt was. The city subsidized the convention space but that was a one time up front expense.  The funding of which may have been federal money in whole or part.  There was a low cost loan for construction that was federal money also.  

Based on the city size and the condition of DT at the time, there was no business reason at all to build the Hyatt there.   

Wow. Accounting losses with positive cash flow maybe? Strength of friendship has its limits, especially when you're talking business losses.

And there was a UDAG involved. Is that the federal money you're talking about? All this is hazy memory for me.

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The company chairman's wife was born and raised here. Also, Heller escaped the Holocaust and I believe the chairman or the CEO or somebody  high up at Hyatt was Jewish also.   

It may have been UDAG. I'm sure John Boyanowski's  book would go into more detail.  

There is a brief mention in this weel's Journal on it.

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I saw that in the Journal as well. Building the Hyatt at that time truly was a pioneering feat, there was basically nothing DT; pre Peace Center and all. It would be neat to read a more comprehensive account of that deal. The Journal article says it opened during a snowstorm with three overnight guests!

Exile, are you sure about that number, that sounds low, especially with the ones under construction, I would think there would be close to 1000 just in the pipeline.

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2 hours ago, distortedlogic said:

I saw that in the Journal as well. Building the Hyatt at that time truly was a pioneering feat, there was basically nothing DT; pre Peace Center and all. It would be neat to read a more comprehensive account of that deal. The Journal article says it opened during a snowstorm with three overnight guests!

Exile, are you sure about that number, that sounds low, especially with the ones under construction, I would think there would be close to 1000 just in the pipeline.

No, not entirely sure. I included Home2, Aloft, Residence/Spring Hill, Hyatt Place, Poinsett, Courtyard, AC, Hampton, Embassy, Main & Markley, and Bohemian. But, as I said, I couldn't get definite room counts on two of them, so I just used an average # of 150 for each. I suspect Main & Markley at least will be bigger.

 

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Thanks, that's probably  close then. So you did not include Hyatt or Holiday Inn next to Landmark?  That's a lot of hotels for our "little" DT Greenville, plus there's another at the corner of Augusta/Church. DT growth right now is just amazing!

Anyone know how that compares to some peer cities; Columbia, Greensboro, Knoxville, Chattanooga?

Edited by distortedlogic

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According to hotel guides.com there are 8 hotels currently open DT with a total of 1242 rooms. 

ALOFT- 114

Home 2 -117

Hyatt -330

Holiday Inn -80

Hampton Inn -115

Poinsett - 200

Courtyard -130

Embassy Suites -156

Now we can add in the ones under construction, this still does not include Comfort Inn Augusta/Church, looks like that one has 60 rooms, if you want to add that in would be 1302.

Edited by distortedlogic

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Bohemenian: 160

Spring Hill/Residence : 286

AC Hotel: 140 

Hyatt Place:  130 

Homewood Suites: 144 or 150 IIRC 

By 2019 the total should be 2162 or slightly more 

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I was counting rooms added since the Hyatt, and just in the DT area, i.e., rooms that could conceivably be attached to or a short walk from a convention facility. The Comfort Inn building's too far, and significantly predates the Hyatt. And as for buildings with some proximity to DT, the Brio used to be....something, I can't remember, but it was a hotel, and a pretty good one, at least for a while. It was a respectable venue for wedding receptions, that sort of thing.

And incidentally, undoubtedly some in this forum are old enough to remember "The Wicked Witch," a basement bar that you entered through a now-blocked-off stairway at the Waterstone end of the Comfort Inn building (which I think was originally a HoJo).

The SH/Res is larger than initially advertised; but I overestimated Home2. All the others look about the same as what I found.

But I defer to y'all on room counts. I haven't lived in Greenville for a long time now.:tw_cry:

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On 3/29/2018 at 11:34 AM, Exile said:

The problem with the crosswalk--a great idea in theory--is that it's hemmed in by a courthouse and a historic church+cemetery. Not sure how you'd make that work, since--I would think--there'd have to be sizable approaches to something high enough for truck traffic.

 

One idea I've pondered off and on for years would allow a large-sized development on the Gateway site without the need for significant onsite parking.  A large parking structure would be built adjacent to the BSW arena with vehicle access to/from Church Street and Academy Street, and connected to the Gateway site by a uniquely-designed, air-conditioned pedestrian bridge over Beattie Place traffic.  The Gateway development could include significant commercial/retail/hospitality space on the arena side of Beattie Place as well, if the landowners would be willing to offer their properties for redevelopment.

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Just for comparison, DT Cola has 11 current hotels with 1604 rooms and  Knoxville has 10 with 1860 rooms, per hotelguides. Don't know what is under construction or planned in those places. With Greenville's upcoming ones we'll be at 14 with 2162, per Vic's info above. Not bad considering we don't have a major university DT. I checked Greensboro but it seems most of their hotels are several miles outside DT, including a Double Tree and Four Seasons beside their Coliseum, with the Four Seasons being a 28 story 990 room facility. Chattanooga has 18 with 2575 rooms. 

Edited by distortedlogic

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Was downtown today...hope something happens soon 'fore the weeds take over and the green fence does not completely collapse/disappears. Such an eyesore....

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Just had a thought...and it may be one that has already come up. I think using this site as a tourist draw would work out well...just not sure what could go there. It is THE prominent location in downtown now, has quick road access, a parking garage across the street with bridge access. 

I know there is an aquarium in Charleston, but why not in the upstate and catering to inland water species.  It could be a companion to the Greenville Zoo. 

Or...

A place set up like The Discovery Place in Charlotte but geared more towards older kids.

Thoughts?? 

 

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On 5/9/2018 at 10:04 AM, adrockc2 said:

Anything would be an improvement but I think this would be the perfect spot for a soccer stadium.

LOL...I submit an exclusive 9 hole Par 3 golf course...the 9th being an engaging shot over the Well. 

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On 7/19/2018 at 8:42 PM, cabelagent said:

Any news  on this?  I figured someone  is keeping  something secret.  :tw_glasses:

This site is cursed like corporate headquarters at ONE so it’s probably dead. 

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