uptownliving

SREE Springhill Suites Hotel and Center City Green

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On Monday City Council will have a vote on the sale of Arena Outparcel #1 to Lincoln Harris for $8M. This is the pie shaped property bounded by 5th, 6th, Brevard, and the LRT Tracks across the street from Bobcats Arena. Lincoln Harris plans to build a parking deck with street level retail (think 7th St station) on this site that could structurally support a building on top of it at a later date. Here are the details:

− Reservation of the Light Rail Transit Area for seven years, with the City having the right to repurchase the area for the same price during that time
− City Planning Director approval of the project's urban design components
− Ground level retail space, and the structural capacity to add office, residential or other use above the parking structure
− Approval of a pedestrian bridge over the adjacent light rail corridor and a pedestrian bridge over the 100 block of North College Street; the reservation of the Light Rail Transit area for seven years represents payment of the air rights fees for these bridges
− Continuing use of the property by the City and CRVA through April 30, 2008
- The value of the property upon completion of construction is estimated to be $34 million, which will generate approximately $450,000 in City/County property taxes annually.

It seems to me that they are building this to support the new BofA office tower and that is why they want the skywalk over the LRT Tracks so that someone could park in this deck and walk to the new tower w/o going outside.

Edited by dubone

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What are these people smoking? This will be the 4th garage in that area. Thats the worst possible spot for a garage. Take the train. Or the BUS. The transit options alone should remove any parking need from this site. We should be encouraging people to NOT drive.

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the arena creates a dead zone? so will all these parking decks, even with their retail, which will probably turn out to be some cheap food place or something, not the shopping that I am looking for at least

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I think it is perfectly fine to have a parking garage over a surface lot. For one, it provides a place for street retail to be built to get some of that activity moving. But also, there are a dozen or more blocks of surface parking in this vicinity that is refusing to go away because of the continued demand for it. Transit will help curb some of that demand, but if a structured parking deck can go in, then it might help reduce the excuses of people like Levine on keeping the parking.

Levine wants a park to be built in First Ward, and will donate the land to do so, but he won't do it unless the city agrees to help fund an underground parking deck in the area, so that he doesn't frustrate all his current tenants, the ones that park on all his asphalt-covered land. But if some parking decks can be built privately in the area, the city can simply say no to Levine, and maybe he'll just go ahead an build a smaller deck by himself under the park.

The faster we can get the existing parking market covered by structured decks, the sooner we can repurpose the significant percentage of land dedicated to surface parking right now.

Also, what does 'Reservation of the Light Rail Transit Area for seven years, with the City having the right to repurchase the area for the same price during that time' mean? Does that mean they won't build for seven years, or is it just about the small space directly adjacent to the rail line?

In general, parking decks that are screened well, have street retail, and have structure enough to be built on top of when the time comes are a far better way to keep urban doing something while waiting for the development market to catch up to the area.

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Also, what does 'Reservation of the Light Rail Transit Area for seven years, with the City having the right to repurchase the area for the same price during that time' mean? Does that mean they won't build for seven years, or is it just about the small space directly adjacent to the rail line?

That is talking about reserving the potential Southeast LRT corridor through this property for 7 years...which gives the MTC the time they need to decide if they want to build the LRT or not on that corridor.

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^ I was wondering the same thing though. If Lincoln Harris builds a garage, they would never agree to sell the garage back to the city for the price they paid for just raw dirt. Would the parking garage design accomodate LRT on the parcel? It doesn't sound like LH is going to buy this, and wait 7 years to build to see what the MTC's intentions are.

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I think it is perfectly fine to have a parking garage over a surface lot. For one, it provides a place for street retail to be built to get some of that activity moving. But also, there are a dozen or more blocks of surface parking in this vicinity that is refusing to go away because of the continued demand for it. Transit will help curb some of that demand, but if a structured parking deck can go in, then it might help reduce the excuses of people like Levine on keeping the parking.

Levine wants a park to be built in First Ward, and will donate the land to do so, but he won't do it unless the city agrees to help fund an underground parking deck in the area, so that he doesn't frustrate all his current tenants, the ones that park on all his asphalt-covered land. But if some parking decks can be built privately in the area, the city can simply say no to Levine, and maybe he'll just go ahead an build a smaller deck by himself under the park.

The faster we can get the existing parking market covered by structured decks, the sooner we can repurpose the significant percentage of land dedicated to surface parking right now.

Also, what does 'Reservation of the Light Rail Transit Area for seven years, with the City having the right to repurchase the area for the same price during that time' mean? Does that mean they won't build for seven years, or is it just about the small space directly adjacent to the rail line?

In general, parking decks that are screened well, have street retail, and have structure enough to be built on top of when the time comes are a far better way to keep urban doing something while waiting for the development market to catch up to the area.

I am in total agreement. Bring things to the street level and push parking overhead. There continues to be a great traffic flow to the Arena, and that will not get smaller. Also, if Lincoln Harris is committing, there is more potential development lurking in the wings for that area. The other half moon site, where the Breakfast Club is, will certainly follow suit shortly. I can envision commercial and possibly hotel above the Lincoln Harris site, and residential on the Breakfast Club site.

As for the Reservation for Light Rail Transit Area, I do not think that is contingent on the line continuing, the line already exists and will at least go to Seventh Street. I think it has more to do with development on the line itself. That tells me that Lincoln Harris will not necessarily develop along the line itself, and that the authority can buy back that slice for future development for the next 7 years at the current price.

UDUT

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What about LRT going through the parking deck? Kinda like the convention center and that could serve as a stop. Or is the land too small to waste that space?

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That is talking about reserving the potential Southeast LRT corridor through this property for 7 years...which gives the MTC the time they need to decide if they want to build the LRT or not on that corridor.

Thanks. That makes sense now, as the SE LRT (the one that would go down Independence if rail is selected) was going to connect into the Blue line using this parcel. It makes sense that they could still build overtop of that corridor, but reserve a rail line through it for future use like they did with the convention center (only without building underneath the corridor, which the convention center did). They could then convert that corridor to a retail space if the city decided not to pursue that land as a transit corridor.

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I hope they do something as cool as 7th street station. With that location a generic deck with token street retail would be a wasted opportunity.

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^Odd, but an urban way to handle the issue. I still think the better plan is to bury the SE LRT line through Uptown completely (cut and cover under 5th), and not have a rail-switch transfer with the blue line......of course this will never happen, since the city is determined to take the cheap way out on every project.

Edit...the other thing I don't understand is the two proposed pedestrian bridges. I assume one would go from this proposed deck to the Holiday Inn/Trade Center deck. Where would the other go? Is this just rebuilding the skybridge over College between the Ritz and the BofA Corp. Center that was already there until the just removed it? I'm not really opposed to a bridge over the LRT, as it could enhance the Lynx rider's visual experience. I would just hope they don't ignore the parking patrons that would prefer to walk down the street. The Holiday Inn deck, BofACC deck, and Charlotte Plaza deck make it nearly impossible for someone to exit to streetlevel.

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^Odd, but an urban way to handle the issue. I still think the better plan is to bury the SE LRT line through Uptown completely (cut and cover under 5th), and not have a rail-switch transfer with the blue line......of course this will never happen, since the city is determined to take the cheap way out on every project.

Edit...the other thing I don't understand is the two proposed pedestrian bridges. I assume one would go from this proposed deck to the Holiday Inn/Trade Center deck. Where would the other go? Is this just rebuilding the skybridge over College between the Ritz and the BofA Corp. Center that was already there until the just removed it? I'm not really opposed to a bridge over the LRT, as it could enhance the Lynx rider's visual experience. I would just hope they don't ignore the parking patrons that would prefer to walk down the street. The Holiday Inn deck, BofACC deck, and Charlotte Plaza deck make it nearly impossible for someone to exit to streetlevel.

Burying the rail line would require going down at least 30 feet below grade which would cause significant problems with Trade Street, Fourth Street, Third Street, the convention center, and the Belk Freeway. It would be far easier and less expensive to lower Fifth and Sixth and probably Seventh streets, but that would not make sense either.

As to the Honky tubes, one would go to the Holiday Inn Garage, and one from the Holiday Inn to the Hearst Tower as far as I can determine.

udut

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I meant burying the new Southeast Line....not the Blue Line.

I initially thought the skybridge meant between the Holiday Inn and Hearst (which is a horrible idea since there is such good street level activity on both sides of the street), but Uptownliving's post said the 100 block of N College, which would be where the Ritz and Founder's Hall are.

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Getting off topic. But I always thought it would be nice to bury the SE LRT line as well, though maybe under Trade rather than 5th. A connection to the blue line would still be helpful, to share the VMF, though not necessary. The question would then be, should the east-west Streetcar also use the same tunnel, or not. Streetcars on the surface look cool and are very easy for visitors to understand, but a tunnel would make for a faster trip and less chances for collisions.

Back on topic. I'm inclined to agree with Spartan.

The only thing in this day that really encourages people to use transit in large numbers, is the high cost of, or a sheer shortage of, parking spaces. Cost of fuel is a secondary factor at best. Even really bad traffic (think 3 times worse than Charlotte) doesn't do much, because transit is still slower and usually less convenient than driving.

If all the office towers built continue to come with parking decks that accomodate roughly 1 parking space per worker, then transit adoption will be low - period.

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Getting off topic. But I always thought it would be nice to bury the SE LRT line as well, though maybe under Trade rather than 5th. A connection to the blue line would still be helpful, to share the VMF, though not necessary. The question would then be, should the east-west Streetcar also use the same tunnel, or not. Streetcars on the surface look cool and are very easy for visitors to understand, but a tunnel would make for a faster trip and less chances for collisions.

Back on topic. I'm inclined to agree with Spartan.

The only thing in this day that really encourages people to use transit in large numbers, is the high cost of, or a sheer shortage of, parking spaces. Cost of fuel is a secondary factor at best. Even really bad traffic (think 3 times worse than Charlotte) doesn't do much, because transit is still slower and usually less convenient than driving.

If all the office towers built continue to come with parking decks that accomodate roughly 1 parking space per worker, then transit adoption will be low - period.

You are exactly right orulz. More parking means less people will use the rail line.

Its pretty obvious how this transit line will turn out. Only one race will be using it....

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You are exactly right orulz. More parking means less people will use the rail line.

Its pretty obvious how this transit line will turn out. Only one race will be using it....

This parking garage will be replacing what was surface lots, and more of the surface lots will be leaving in the near future. The new BOA building currently under construction will not add enough parking spaces to cover the tenants, and this new Lincoln Harris building will grow into another 30 - 40 story building that will need parking.

Transit will bring people to the center of the city, and race has nothing to do with it

Personal attacks are *NOT ALLOWED*

UDUT

Edited by Neo

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For all that lives outside of Charlotte, there are many bankers riding our buses uptown. So our buses are not just for the poor.

Edited by RiverwoodCLT

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This parking garage will be replacing what was surface lots, and more of the surface lots will be leaving in the near future. The new BOA building currently under construction will not add enough parking spaces to cover the tenants, and this new Lincoln Harris building will grow into another 30 - 40 story building that will need parking.

Transit will bring people to the center of the city, and race has nothing to do with it.

UDUT

Sorry, but replacing one parking lot with MORE parking is NOT, I repeat NOT acceptable. Parking is indeed important in center city, but not next to transit. That simply encourages people to not drive. The goal should be to reduce auto-dependancy, not enable it. Parking does nothing towards that end.

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This is a fine line, as without parking facilities, we lose the market of suburban people who will only drive. For the next few decades, our mass transit system will only hope to serve one quadrant of the city. The rest is pretty much going to drive. As this deck serves 6th Street and Brevard Street, that means a lot of people will be coming in from Independence and from north of town. Those areas do not mass transit, and are not part of the market for the South line.

Right now, there is not a market to develop this parcel into a full development, but there is a parking market. Normally, that leads to yet another surface lot, but in this case it is a deck with structure enough to accommodate a modest tower in the future and street retail spaces to help build of up the flow of activity in this area. When it gets developed, it will be required to have a certain number of spaces, so then the public spaces shift to be only available in the off hours. So for the near term, these spaces compete with the other spaces in First Ward like Levine's surface lots, helping reduce his current cash cow which seems to make it impossible for him to develop anything.

In the longer term, mass transit will serve more of the city, more of those surface lots will be developed, and this deck will get a tower on it that removes those daytime spaces from the commuters going to current facilities.

I agree with the theory of limiting parking to spur transit, but I think that it relies on critical mass of activity and a more advanced implementation of transit. If we do it right now, then I think we run the risk of preventing a number from coming into uptown, which starves it of some of the activity it needs to grow. As long as there are 14 blocks almost entirely dedicated to surface parking within four blocks of this site, we are not in a position to try to stop parking to help transit. I think we try to do that, then those blocks will likely remain parking for a longer period of time.

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Remember too please that there a lot of people like myself that come downtown for events, to take the family to Discovery Place, go to museums, go to games, etc.

I need someplace to park, since driving to Pineville and getting on the train makes no sense for me.

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This is a fine line, as without parking facilities, we lose the market of suburban people who will only drive. For the next few decades, our mass transit system will only hope to serve one quadrant of the city. The rest is pretty much going to drive. As this deck serves 6th Street and Brevard Street, that means a lot of people will be coming in from Independence and from north of town. Those areas do not mass transit, and are not part of the market for the South line.

Right now, there is not a market to develop this parcel into a full development, but there is a parking market. Normally, that leads to yet another surface lot, but in this case it is a deck with structure enough to accommodate a modest tower in the future and street retail spaces to help build of up the flow of activity in this area. When it gets developed, it will be required to have a certain number of spaces, so then the public spaces shift to be only available in the off hours. So for the near term, these spaces compete with the other spaces in First Ward like Levine's surface lots, helping reduce his current cash cow which seems to make it impossible for him to develop anything.

In the longer term, mass transit will serve more of the city, more of those surface lots will be developed, and this deck will get a tower on it that removes those daytime spaces from the commuters going to current facilities.

I agree with the theory of limiting parking to spur transit, but I think that it relies on critical mass of activity and a more advanced implementation of transit. If we do it right now, then I think we run the risk of preventing a number from coming into uptown, which starves it of some of the activity it needs to grow. As long as there are 14 blocks almost entirely dedicated to surface parking within four blocks of this site, we are not in a position to try to stop parking to help transit. I think we try to do that, then those blocks will likely remain parking for a longer period of time.

But we are limiting that critical mass by providing parking so close to the rail in center city. Thats 6-7 stories worth of space that will never be used for residential or office occupancy. Like I said, I am all for parking garages over parking lots for the reasons you state. Just not right next to a transit line in center city. In other parts of center city it will be very important. But putting a structure there to generate retail and pedestrian activity are not good enough reasons to warrant a garage, IMO. There is already nothing on E 6th St to go to except Brixx (because of existing parking garages), so I don't see a line of retail shops as anything that will actually draw people to that area. If the market can't generate a skyscraper, especially in this city, then that lot needs to sit vacant for a few more years until the impacts of the LYNX line are truely understood.

We also have a perfectly good bus system that people can use to get in to uptown.

Remember too please that there a lot of people like myself that come downtown for events, to take the family to Discovery Place, go to museums, go to games, etc.

I need someplace to park, since driving to Pineville and getting on the train makes no sense for me.

Why does driving to Pineville and taking the train not make sense? If I were coming from Rock Hill, or York County in general, that would make the MOST sense. Thats just me though. Please elaborate.

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Personally I would rather have a commercial or residential building on that block rather than just a parking deck but I am not seeing how this parking deck is going to entice people not to ride mass transit. The reason this parking deck is being built is for the new 30 story BofA office tower. This tower will bring in about 5000 net new employees for downtown and with this parking deck about 1000 net new parking spaces. So the net effect is that even with this new parking deck there will be less parking available than there is today. If there is going to be less available parking then I don't see how that will negatively affect mass transit. Now if this parking deck were much larger...say in the 3000+ parking space size then I would go along with your statement that it would have a negative effect on mass transit.

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Personally I would rather have a commercial or residential building on that block rather than just a parking deck but I am not seeing how this parking deck is going to entice people not to ride mass transit. The reason this parking deck is being built is for the new 30 story BofA office tower. This tower will bring in about 5000 net new employees for downtown and with this parking deck about 1000 net new parking spaces. So the net effect is that even with this new parking deck there will be less parking available than there is today. If there is going to be less available parking then I don't see how that will negatively affect mass transit. Now if this parking deck were much larger...say in the 3000+ parking space size then I would go along with your statement that it would have a negative effect on mass transit.

This garage will have ground level retail, probably on all three sides. As money hungry as some think developers are, they will not ignore the opportunity to build retail in high traffic areas.

udut

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2 cents- The parking garage will support a tower on top, which is long-term pro, although I know, it may not happen at all. Also, street level retail is a part of the project, so that is something that is wanted and needed for the area. I would have preferred to see this build in a different lot in 1st Ward, so it wasn't directly next to teh train, but I think it will be good overall.

The deck is greatly needed for all of the future projects between Ritz, BofA, aLoft, Epicenter, 210 Trade. Isn't part of the BofA deck loosing spots, also for the BofA tower that runs itself into the existing parking garage. Nonetheless, that garage is always packed as is, and more jobs and more travelers, a lot that may come by car, need the space. I think it will have no effect on the rail- because after all, the traffic and roads aren't going to get any better, as well as prices to pay to park, etc, vs. using rail. Should be a fine project for the area, again I just wish it wasn't built so close to the other parking structures for aesthetic purposes, seeming to be an excess..

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To elaborate, it takes almost the exact same amount of time for me to drive to downtown Charlotte as it does to drive to Pineville. Taking into account finding a space in the deck, getting the kids unloaded, getting the stroller and bags onto the train, and even waiting for the train, I would be looking at adding about 30 to 40 minutes to my trip.

That just doesn't make sense.

Now, if were just me, or me and a few others, going to a game or a concert, I would probably park at the Tyvola stop and ride the train in. As a matter of fact, I plan on doing that a good bit.

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