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Founders Hall Renovations/Expansion

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I could have sworn that this was discussed a while back, but this thread will be dedicated to the renovation of Founders Hall to tie in with the expansion through the Winter Garden into the BoA SuperBlock.

Still in conceptual stages for Founders Hall, the project was originally handled by the same firm as the SuperbBlock, but now the tower, the Winter Garden and Founders Hall have been split up as three seperate but connected projects to three seperate firms.

Let's keep an eye out on this one. Founders Hall is a very grand structure that should have been planned with a better relationship to the outside. It will be interesting to see how this changes the relationship with the cityscape.

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An term used to describe an urban-unfriendly development, where one project consumes an entire city block, leading to lack of visual distinction. :)

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An term used to describe an urban-unfriendly development, where one project consumes an entire city block, leading to lack of visual distinction. :)

I believe that's not quite right.

A superblock is basically where a street / streets has been demapped to make a block that's larger than a normal city block. This could be for a development, or a park, or pretty much anything.

The MacArthur Center in Norfolk is a classic example of a superblock development. It is 22 acres in size, and makes a single block out of what used to be 8 city blocks.

In Charlotte, the Bobcats Arena is a superblock (Brevard Street was demapped.) The convention center is a superblock. Much of the Wachovia complex is a superblock. (1st street was demapped.)

The BOA complex actually isn't a superblock at all, as it doesn't disrupt the street grid in any way.

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Hmmm....well this wouldn't fit that criteria, but I was attempting to be more humorous than exact.

Regardless, to get this theard on topic, the medical offices located within Founders Hall at the corner of College and Trade have signed a lease at EpiCentre. Their moving out, makes it much easier to open up this portion of Founders Hall to the street. I don't know what can be done about the rehersal space at College and 5th.

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Hmmm....well this wouldn't fit that criteria, but I was attempting to be more humorous than exact.

I'll gladly change the terminology if need-be! :tough:

And I'll know more about this project soon. I'll post what I learn when the time comes.

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I believe that's not quite right.

A superblock is basically where a street / streets has been demapped to make a block that's larger than a normal city block. This could be for a development, or a park, or pretty much anything.

Superblock is just the terminology that BoA is actually using for this project.

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^ Yes I have noticed all the building permits for the new office tower and Ritz are labeled "BoA Superblock"

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Ah. I've heard it before and didn't know if there was a singular use of the term.

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It is that they are trying to MAKE it a superblock by have a very wide bridge/plaza over College. College sort of becomes a tunnel. As Tryon is on a different grade than College, the people basically can go at grade into the main level of Founder's Hall, and then onto the Plaza over College and then onto the Winter Garden level of the Ritz/Office tower block, where most of the retail is, and then at the same grade that the LRT station is.

I guess it does provide a solid connection for pedestrians, and gets those people outside as well. It also provides some cinergy for the new retail with the current Founder's Hall retail, hopefully allowing them to lease more space and attract more retailers than street-level retail might get.

This is certainly a major blow to the hope of getting more street life on the actual street level. However, a case could be made that this is positive if there are plenty of outdoor connections between the street and the outdoor plaza above. Also, if they have as much space at the street level that could fit anyway, then you could also make a case that this is bonus retail over and above what could have been at the street anyway. You can also make the case that the street level is already a lost cause on Founder's Hall, so why not just go ahead and support the Tryon-Founders-Light Rail grade instead of the College-Trade grade, and try to get those Founder's Hall people outside.

NOTE: The actual discussion of the Ritz and Office components of the Superblock should go here: http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=32287

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Mainly because it's going to create a huge moat at the street level for 5th street. With the retail along college between Hearst and the International Trade Center, there's a nice little stroll district going the other way that includes the library, 7th Street Station, and back up to Tryon. By ignoring the street they continue what is there now (mainly nothing, the walking traffic turns right up Trade and doesn't continue down College past Trade, and really create a hole between the Epicenter and College & 5th.

A missed opportunity if you ask me....but I'm willing to see how it works out, since I haven't even seen a clear site plan yet.

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Trade and College would really be a prime intersection after the Founders Hall renovations if it weren't for that God-awful Omni hotel.

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It is that they are trying to MAKE it a superblock by have a very wide bridge/plaza over College. College sort of becomes a tunnel. As Tryon is on a different grade than College, the people basically can go at grade into the main level of Founder's Hall, and then onto the Plaza over College and then onto the Winter Garden level of the Ritz/Office tower block, where most of the retail is, and then at the same grade that the LRT station is.

I guess it does provide a solid connection for pedestrians, and gets those people outside as well. It also provides some cinergy for the new retail with the current Founder's Hall retail, hopefully allowing them to lease more space and attract more retailers than street-level retail might get.

This is certainly a major blow to the hope of getting more street life on the actual street level. However, a case could be made that this is positive if there are plenty of outdoor connections between the street and the outdoor plaza above.

What about making large, wide, inviting stairs open up onto College that will allow people to come and go to the indoors retail or back onto the street level. Kind of like the retail is set up at the corner of Park and Woodlawn where Mama Fu's and Qdoba's is.

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There was supposed to be an escalator, but it looks like it was moved inside.

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The CBJ has an article today about the Founder's Hall renovation. BOA has filed a zoning request that would allow the expansion in size of the sky bridge and create a glass wall that extends near College Street. They will add a collection of colorful lights and images to the sky bridge that can be seen by pedestrians and drivers below and a large slice of glass to extend out of the building and point toward the bar and restaurant at the Ritz. One thing the article said that I didn't realize was that uptown boasts 102 restaurants and 52 nightspots.

Current View

89802-400-0.jpg

FOUNDERS HALL TENANTS

BofA branch

BofA museum and company store

Caribou Coffee

Crown Athletic Club

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers

Kostas International Hair Salon

Taverna 100

Sonoma Modern American Cuisine

Spratt's Kitchen & Market

Two physicians practices

U.S. Post Office

Performing Arts Center box office

WBTV center city studio

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I'm so glad that BOFA is finely making this more street friendly and not hidden away to people on the street this will definately added so much needed life to that block.

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I love the idea of making it glass to fit in with the development across College. That brown brick was really not doing much for Founders Hall, or making you feel like you were welcome inside.

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Does anyone know if Pelli designed founders hall as well because the central plaza is virtually identical to that of towercity's in Cleveland, especially the stairs.

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The Observer is reporting here that BofA has applied for permits to renovate Founders Hall and create street level retail. Also, they are planning on revamping the plaza area at the square, whatever that means. I can't wait to see some renderings of what they are planning on doing, but this is going to be a great project I think. It should be done around the end of 2009. Is that on par with the expected finish date of the Ritz and new tower?

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The Observer is reporting here that BofA has applied for permits to renovate Founders Hall and create street level retail. Also, they are planning on revamping the plaza area at the square, whatever that means. I can't wait to see some renderings of what they are planning on doing, but this is going to be a great project I think. It should be done around the end of 2009. Is that on par with the expected finish date of the Ritz and new tower?

I wonder how this will affect the event I have booked in Founders Hall in late March...Might have to look elsewhere...

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hopefully the mentioned Plaza revamp will entail that hideous blank concrete wall across the street from epicentre

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The observer has updated its article here and has included a rendering of what the finished product will look like. I can't post it because I'm at work and image hosting sites are down, but I hope it is really going to have the colors along Trade street that its showing. It looks like they are trying to match the glass look of the Ritz and office building with the college street side. Overall, I think it looks great, but we will see what the final product looks like.

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Here's the current rendering:

484-foundershall290.standalone.prod_affiliate.57.jpg

While it's much better than the current blank wall, it looks like all they're doing is replacing it with glass. I thought there was going to be some funky glass design involved.

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personally from a rendering standpoint, I am disappointed. I was expecting to see separate storefronts, each unique with its own design. I was expecting to see something along Trade, rather than just across the Ritz project. All they are doing is replacing it with glass. How does that create street-facing, street-level retail? I see no "urban" improvement, especially since it is supposed to compliment Epicenter and Ritz.

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I wonder how this will affect the event I have booked in Founders Hall in late March...Might have to look elsewhere...

Honestly I'd start looking elsewhere, I went to a function at the Charlotte City Club when they were adding on upstairs, and it was not a pleasant environment, it was loud in places and the air conditioning was not functioning. Make sure you call the coordinators and ask how this will affect you.

hopefully the mentioned Plaza revamp will entail that hideous blank concrete wall across the street from epicentre

It won't. There is a seperate initiative to take care of this situation. There is a plan to at some point shed some parking for some retail spaces, how this will affect the big blank wall I do not know, but it will at least help the street feel a little less scary.

personally from a rendering standpoint, I am disappointed. I was expecting to see separate storefronts, each unique with its own design. I was expecting to see something along Trade, rather than just across the Ritz project. All they are doing is replacing it with glass. How does that create street-facing, street-level retail? I see no "urban" improvement, especially since it is supposed to compliment Epicenter and Ritz.

This is just a preliminary sketch, not the final thing. I'm fairly certain there are supposed to be a number of retail spaces available(4 or 5). I think it looks fairly nice, and it will do a lot for the street. Unfortunately it will just be a glorified entrance to the misfortune we have, known as the overstreet mall. One positive is Bank of America is looking at recruiting a nice mix of retail(not just restaurants and bars) to go in founders hall, the wintergarden, and street level along college. With many of founders halls SQ. Footage moving accross the street to epicenter, there will be plenty of space for new retailers.

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