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monsoon

Saks Developer wants Money from the City

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A Saks and 5-star hotel Uptown, I'd consider supporting. But where it is? NO WAY IN HELL. It's so obvious, she sees other developers (namely Spectrum) begging for money, and she wants in. Charlotte has to pick and choose its projects very carefully here. They better damn well fund the Entertainment Center and Bechtler Art Museum (along with several other projects) before even considering the Saks issue.

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I rsponded to this when Dee Dee's letter was first put up on SSC. This ws my reply.

Originally Posted by Style

In the letter, Harris called the "once-in-a-lifetime" project a "coup" and a "pace setter" for the state.

"Every person wants to leave the world better than they found it," she wrote. "If that were not so, I would be playing tiddly-winks at the beach now. Instead I have chosen to dedicate the last twelve years of my life to taking almost insurmountable ... risks and jumping hurdles too tall for me, but they are not too tall for you."

Yeah sure, a "pace-setter" for the state? Okay, except that NC already has Saks and 5 star hotels. I can't help but think that this whole "I'm doing it for the city" thing is a sham. She's in it for the cash and to get pats on her back from her blue blood SouthPark cronies. Other developers in the SouthPark area are probably salivating right now at the prospect of this deal falling through and them having the opportunity to pick it up for themselves. Anyway, I never really liked the thought of this development being located where it is. A Saks and a hotel would be much better suited to Grubbs new Morrison Place development across Morrison St. from the mall. And with the mall's new plans for that corner, having these two projects in Grubb's development would do a lot to improve the walkability of South Park. So part of me does hope she looses out and Saks (and possibly a hotel) move to a better SouthPark location. I'm sure Simon also has Saks on the speed dial "just in case". Saks was one of the names Simon dropped when it initially bought the mall.

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And I love the farce of her letter that came out today in the Charlotte Observer.

SOS, SOS! Save my, er, OUR Saks

DON HUDSON

To: Charlotte City Council

N.C. legislature

From: Mrs. Cameron Harris

Dee-Dee here. You know, DEE-DEE Harris, wife of Cammie Harris, sister-in-law of Johnny Harris, granddaughter-in-law of the late Gov. Cameron Morrison. Shall I go on? I mean, it's not as if I have to name drop.

As you know from my letter this week, I have $15 million sunk ... ahem ... invested in a huge hole near Quail Hollow, underground parking for my -- I mean our -- new Saks Fifth Avenue/hotel.

But there's a problem. My gift to the community -- and how shall I put it in terms you'll understand -- is broke. My crisis is the city's crisis. I pay taxes. I'll take a check.

Unless you rally to our project at Seven Eagles, our city will never realize its potential as a shopping destination. Nordstrom and Belk are both so mall.

I know it would be easy to dismiss me because of my ZIP code. But I am a visionary big-hearted enough to care about the plight of the little people.

Remember my letter?

"Every person wants to leave the world better than they found it. If that were not so, I would be playing tiddly-winks at the beach now. Instead I have chosen to dedicate the last 12 years of my life to taking almost insurmountable... risks and jumping hurdles too tall for me, but they are not too tall for you."

I mean, you're already building that parking deck in Elizabeth, which is little more than a mill village. And what's this about our Saks not being on a transit line? Why would Saks ever be on a transit line? Otherwise, transit riders would expect to shop there.

Besides, when I borrow Cammie's $300,000 Maybach sedan, we can't have it baking in the sun, can we?

I am negotiating with one of the most renown hotel flags in the world. We're this close to a deal. All I need is, say, $15 million or so, pocket change to that Tober person.

Stiff me, and the state would lose an incredible educational opportunity. All those products of the public schools could save time and money and proceed directly to a five-star facility for the best in on-the-job training. A world-class city needs world-class bellhops and waiters, too.

If our dream doesn't come to pass, those people will be forced to train at mere four-star hotels like Ballantyne, or even fleabags like the Westin.

Is that the future you want? Would you trust those people with a vote, much less recommending what wine goes best with the veal?

Why risk the wrath of the high-end female shopper? They vote their pocketbooks. Very large pocketbooks.

I can promise that we will schedule our weekend fashion jaunts to Milan, Paris and Manhattan just to be here on election day. (What's to lose? Whoever heard of a Givenchy sale on a Tuesday?)

In closing, if I seem a bit forward, it's because I usually don't work through you, um, public servants. But with Hugh at the ranch, Ed playing golf and all the time it takes to figure which Ken is where, I turned to you.

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I find it hard to believe that she and her family, as wealthy as they are, are actually out of money. I guarantee you they have more than enough money stockpiled to fully fund this project, they just don't want to bite the bullet.

I kinda feel sorry for the people in Seven Eagles whose houses back up to this giant dirt hole now. It would be funny if they sued her.

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I kinda feel sorry for the people in Seven Eagles whose houses back up to this giant dirt hole now. It would be funny if they sued her.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

We can only hope. After her gift of a Walgreen's at Morrison and Sharon, a tar and feathering might be in order.

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How much "city assistance" do you think she'll ask for the Walgreen's. Asphalt prices are rising, she may not be able to pave the whole parking lot.....lol

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You gotta be kidding me. I can't believe the city is giving her anything.

Harrises get $345,000 for sliver of land

As the best golfers in the world get ready to tee it up next month at Charlotte's Quail Hollow Club, the city council teed up a six figure settlement for the owners of the property across the street from the golf course. The owners are Cameron and Dee Dee Harris.

The deal started two years ago with a nearly million dollar city project to improve traffic near Charlotte's big money Wachovia Championship golf tournament. The tournament is played at the Harrises family founded country club, Quail Hollow. But while the golfers played one game, the Harrises played another.

In the final round of let's make a deal with city hall, the city got a sliver of Harris land on Gleneagles Road, across from the country club. The Harrises pocketed $345,000 taxpayer dollars. Plus they got $100,000 worth of sidewalks, driveways, and other property improvements for free.

But what the Harrises really wanted help with the giant hole that was supposed to be their new Saks Fifth Avenue shopping center.

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Regardless of how good this development may or may not be, this sets a dangerous precedent... now every joe schmoe developer will expect the city to cover sidewalks, turn lanes, and curb cuts for them.

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Good, i hope it sets a precedent.... that every developer create a space that is world class, that brings national prestige and tourists to charlotte. Cul-de-scrote mcmansions, no thanks... pga-quality links, yes please.

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I've driven down Glen Eagles too many times to count and I must say that piece of land is just as described, a sliver . It is definitely not worth $345,000. I can't believe that the city caved in. It even says that the road is closed to the public during the tournament, so why do they need an extra turn lane?

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I don't she needs money for one second, however I support the village. It would be a quality development. Morrocroft was quality, it actually helped the South Park develop. Yeah uptown would have been a better place to put, but the uptown market will be in demand for the department store market in the future, and the time will come when the city doesn't need to spend money on subsidising projects there.

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The village actually looks nice, but I hope Saks doesn't go there. I'd rather it be in the Elizabeth project. This could be a good site for a Crate & Barrel or other high-end retailers...

Is this thing going to get built, or is she going to leave a huge hole in the ground there forever??

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