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BUILDIT

My Rant about Charlotte

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I guess I will start off by saying I just spent the past two hours walking around by myself in "uptown" downtown or whatever you like to call it. I generally stayed in the 3rd Ward.

After viewing the new park, the Novare development and the new baseball stadium area, I am genuinely upset by these projects now. I like the Novare, but it still screws Mint street with another parking garage. My main thoughts were about how badly building this stadium will hurt this area. By creating a large arena right by the park, we are basically guarantee another dead zone in the city. I love the bobcats, but the arena does kill a large section of town. There are these area with potential, but instead, we are slowly killing them off. This city bends over backwards for developers, and as a result uptown is dying, even though we think progress is being made.

Right now its all parking lots and an abandoned but in my own opinion beautiful Warehouse where the stadium would go. Conditions are deplorable, but there is so much potential for the area. Create retail and residential on all sides of the park, and it could be a nice place; put residential on one side, a massive stadium used by few and only during on season on another, and leave parking lots on the third, and the park is going to be about as populated as the Green is. Sure the Green is lovely, but no one is ever there, just like the rest of the city.

As I walked by Brevard Ct I realized the sad sad story of our city, how can the one, concentrated area of restaurants and maybe a little bit of retail be closed on saturday? I guess it makes business sense, but it was a sad sight.

Back to the stadium, we are losing another old, very cool warehouse while we are at it, that Paper Company building. I think that will be close to the last of the old industrial buildings/warehouses in downtown. Its sad. One reason I love Providence, Rhode Island is because of all the old buildings that intertwine with the newer ones. We have so many more advantages compared to Providence, the fact that we cannot hold onto our history and reuse and reintegrate them is really disapointing.

Of cool note, on the sidewalk on Mint St, there is some Tile and Marble company's logo still sitting there, even though its next to a (surprise) abandoned building.

Its incredibly frustrating. I am really saddened by the way this city developed and is developing. I really do not see too much progress, and my hopes for downtown have a continuos stretch of retail seem to slowly be fading away.

The worst part is, I am 17 and the only person I know who cares.

Sorry for my jumbled rant.

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If you think it is bad now, you should have seen uptown in 1985 when I moved her.

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Buildit, you better head for the hills. They don't like this kind of talk around here. Most people seem to think that building sports venues, that can only exist with tax subsidies, and skycrapers makes for a great city.

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^ BUILDIT makes a good point though. If the resturants, coffee shops, and retail that is already downtown is open on the weekend more people would come in. I remember spending a weekend in Charlotte with my girlfriend and she made the same statement. She went to school in Chicago and with me visiting Chicago we both remarked that the same type of retail was open on weekends in Chicago. It brought more people into the city instead of out of the city. I hate the fact that Charlotte is losing its history but at the same time there is so much potientail for Charlotte that may be overlooked.

I think stadiums are great because it does bring in a large number of people. Look at it this way BUILDIT, Charlotte will have a year round season of sports. Between Baseball, Football and Basketball there will be a large number of people flocking to games all year round in downtonw Charlotte.

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^ BUILDIT makes a good point though. If the resturants, coffee shops, and retail that is already downtown is open on the weekend more people would come in. I remember spending a weekend in Charlotte with my girlfriend and she made the same statement. She went to school in Chicago and with me visiting Chicago we both remarked that the same type of retail was open on weekends in Chicago. It brought more people into the city instead of out of the city. I hate the fact that Charlotte is losing its history but at the same time there is so much potientail for Charlotte that may be overlooked.

I think stadiums are great because it does bring in a large number of people. Look at it this way BUILDIT, Charlotte will have a year round season of sports. Between Baseball, Football and Basketball there will be a large number of people flocking to games all year round in downtonw Charlotte.

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I don't consider the arena area to be a 'dead zone'. A new multi-purpose deck is going up right next to it, and I think other projects will follow. The arena hosts events probably almost half of the days of the year, bringing thousands of people into Uptown.

The stadium area is a different ball of wax. An NFL stadium only hosts maybe 15 events a year. The rest of the time it sits there, lifeless, surrounded by a ridiculous amount of surface lots that are necessary for a 70 thousand-seat venue. That's why I don't think NFL stadiums belong in a city's downtown.

Having said that, a baseball stadium will bring 80+ events annually to Uptown, and because it will be built in Third Ward it will share some of the lots that are there for the stadium, so at least there is some overlap there. Will Third Ward someday be some thriving neighborhood within Uptown? Probably not. It'll probably be the "sports district" that will be mostly lifeless when a football or baseball game isn't being played, but at least with the addition of the baseball stadium you're probably looking at having some level of street life about 1/3rd of the time throughout the year.

As for the parking deck being built as part of the Twelve project, I agree...horrible.

JayGee, I'm in Steele Creek too...whereabouts do you live?

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It's my opinion that there is enough excitement about what is happening in center city that people are coming out to just be a part of it. Ride the LYNX on Sat or Sun and you'll hear it all around you. There is always someone vocalizing a tour of the city from the LYNX windows for a visitor "That's where the NASCAR HOF is going, That's where the Epicentre is going..." I run into it all the time. The momentum in the city is infectious. But the biggest problem is, once the suburbanites ride the LYNX in, they say, "now what, what is there to do?" (assuming they are not coming in for a scheduled event - Bobcats, NFL, Imaginon whatever). How are people used to spending their free time? Walking around Target? Macy's? Going the movies? Bowling? Strolling the park on nice days? Window shopping? Clubbing at night? Dinner? Theater? What can we do better? I'd say the Brevard strolling district will help. We need NONdestination attractions to fill in the gaps.

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Interesting points, though I have to disagree that Uptown is slowly dying.....it was killed many decades ago, and is slowly returning.....that's not to say that what is returning is optimal, but ultimately anything is better than a parking lot.

As far as baseball, I agree that this is not the optimal location from a "creating urban fabric" point of view, but I take comfort in knowing that it's not permenant (as condo towers are), so there is a chance of righting this wrong in my life-time.

Also, as a note, Novare will be including about 12k sq ft. of retail in the parking garage fronting Mint, so the deck should generate decent pedestrian activity and not ignore the street, which is more than I can say for The Ledge along 7th and McDowell Sts.

I'm feeling generally optimistic today, so I'm holding out some hope, though I certainly can agree on most of your points

The key really will be the continual addition of residents....it'll come.

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We discussed numerous times in the stadium thread the fact that having the Knights Stadium downtown will bring thousands of people out about 100 nights a year who will be out and about on the streets, shops, bars, and restaurants before and after each game. It also has potential to host other events such as NCAA, ACC, and CMS games/tournaments as well as special events like concerts. It will be a welcome addition to the area.

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The key really will be the continual addition of residents....it'll come.

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I would think that the 3rd Ward Park would be something that brings pedestrian involvement into 3rd Ward, not deters it. The surrounding properties (300 S Tryon, Novare, Future Novare, and the ball park) will be an opportunity to bring the urban mix in interaction making much of 4rd Ward much improved. I think it won't be too long before more pedestrian activity spills out near Panther's stadium. I don't see why Panther's stadium doesn't open up and host more events year round to gain more permanent activity over on Mint.

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I'll agree that uptown might not be the best place for an NFL stadium, but it if is going to be in center city, it is in the right spot, tucked over in a corner inside the 277 loop.

I too have heartburn about another sports facility breaking up the street grid network, but have come to accept that if the baseball stadium is going to be close to town, this is the only spot that is likely to work. Well, not including a Marshall Park MLB park ... <_<

On the VA Paper Company building, I like the building as well, and liked how Park & Rec proposed to use it when 3rd Ward Park was to be on the baseball stadium land, but as a stand alone building, I'm OK with it going away in order to build the baseball stadium.

I am still holding out hope that the Novare parking deck will turn out OK, but have not seen renderings on how it will present itself on 1st or Mint.

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I understand the sentiment here, but remember that DC's MCI Center/Verizon Center sparked enormous growth and vitality in a section of town, Chinatown, that was once moribound. Arenas can revive a center city.

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I'll agree that uptown might not be the best place for an NFL stadium, but it if is going to be in center city, it is in the right spot, tucked over in a corner inside the 277 loop......

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I've never liked the baseball park plan for the exact reasons mentioned, BUT things like this can be done right. The new Pittsburgh Steelers football stadium is wrapped with retail that is open throughout the year, not just when a game is going on.

Retail is tricky. Rooftops are needed to get them open and strong. Give it a little time.

My own little rant: enough with the "signature restaurants" at the bottom of every bloody new building! Jeez! We don't need another one (yet).

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I've never liked the baseball park plan for the exact reasons mentioned, BUT things like this can be done right. The new Pittsburgh Steelers football stadium is wrapped with retail that is open throughout the year, not just when a game is going on.

Retail is tricky. Rooftops are needed to get them open and strong. Give it a little time.

My own little rant: enough with the "signature restaurants" at the bottom of every bloody new building! Jeez! We don't need another one (yet).

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As far as the football stadium goes, yea I agree. It's a dead spot ~355 days a year. Considering its location, I suppose there are worse places for it. It is fairly easy to get to, especially if you live in the area. For people like me, I can spend the 10-15 minutes to walk to it from my home. I think it beats putting it in an isolated location where all 70,000 fans have to drive to the game. Anyone ever tried going to Redskins game at FedEx Field? Been there 2-3 times and it's a nightmare getting in and out...

For the Knights stadium, they never said they need the taxpayers money to build their stadium. They are the ones who said they will pay for it. It's not coming out of our wallets. If it was, you'd actually have more than 5 people objecting to it. The reason why the current Knights stadium isn't working is b/c of its location. Not many people in Charlotte want to drive down to Fort Mill. And what is there to do after a game in Fort Mill? Not much. To be realistic, most people don't go to a minor league game to see their favorite player. They go b/c it's cheap entertainment. That's why it would work in uptown (if done correctly).

And for TWC Arena, I think we've all beaten up this topic pretty good...

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I still don't have a problem with TWC Arena. We've already had a condo tower named for its proximity to the arena (Courtside). Another condo tower was planned for the adjacent lot...even though it hasn't happened it goes to show that the desire is there. Down the street a huge entertainment development is going up. The Blue Line's main station has opened up to help serve the arena and transit center, and recently a new multi-purpose deck was announced for the parcel behind the arena. Sounds to me like the area IS slowly but surely building up, in part thanks to the arena.

...and all this while the bobcats are one of the most pitifully marketed teams in the league that struggle to draw 14k/game. As the team gets better I expect attendance will grow as well, and the arena will become an even better attraction for the Center City.

But with BofA Stadium, this is as good as it gets. To be honest, we're lucky there aren't more surface lots as a result of the stadium. You should see the sea of surface lots that surround most NFL stadiums. It's pretty sick, and it certainly isn't appropriate for the Center City.

Ralph Wilson Stadium (Buffalo Bills):

l_2ba98753b9c87cb1af5f1ab97c42ffd6.jpg

Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City Chiefs):

l_cd802d3794ada144a34feda7bb64c5d6.jpg

Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots):

l_c0dbe9502a23cfb3d502b0cc6a5c22a3.jpg

Bank of America Stadium for comparison:

l_7c94b632bba5fd8423b0f225eb728428.jpg

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I've never liked the baseball park plan for the exact reasons mentioned, BUT things like this can be done right. The new Pittsburgh Steelers football stadium is wrapped with retail that is open throughout the year, not just when a game is going on.

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well, all of these reply's are interesting. When more people live and thus spend a majority of time in an area, it will only make sense for more services to cater to them. Like atlrvr was talking about, the urban fabric of this city is really weird, 28 story condo towers next to vacant lots and parking lots. As far as the NFL stadium creating revival, we all know that didnt happen, infact I would say it just has helped to increase the number of parking lots in the third ward. I understand the history of Charlotte pretty well, I wrote a research paper on its development from 1870-1950, (great resource is Sorting Out A New South City by Thomas Hanchett), but another big part of the problem is that those with the means to force change dont really seem to care. South Charlotte is happy to keep shopping in Southpark Mall, and remain in that area. A majority of students at my school rarely go to uptown, infact generally only for Bobcats games or Panthers games.

I guess I am just worried that the city feels like we are heading in the right direction, when really we are not doing this in a smart and tactical way to make uptown a great place in 10 years. I mean, the 2010 plan that the city "adopted" really did wonders?! Oh wait. The city council doesnt need to keep doing studies to understand that the city is still limping. The brevard st plan? I walked along Brevard St yesterday. The plan will never happen without serious city council action and tax incentives, plus that street is already at a disadvantage because of its surroundings. The Pursuit Group may try to do wonderful things, but the AT&T building, the Transit Center really hurt the idea of a continuous corridor. If they were serious, they should look into doing something like the Power & Light District in Kansas City where they allow Alcoholic Beverages to be carried outside and have an aggressive retail, restaurant, and residential strategy for the new buildings along the street, not compromising with developers. Something to make people want to be there versus in Southpark. But will that happen, maybe Im pessimistic, but I doubt it.

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Pittsburgh's two stadiums sit across the river from downtown and really make no effort to mesh with the rest of the city. Having said that, this layout is a good example of how the surface lots for a football stadium and a baseball stadium can overlap in an urban setting:

l_390c5b4bc7c6d1857b501dd4f0bbf789.jpg

This is more or less what we'd be doing here in Charlotte...minus the river that cuts Pittsburgh's stadiums off from the rest of the Center City. Take a look at other cities on Google (rather than me posting more pics here). Lots of cities do the same thing, putting their stadiums in close proximity for the sake of overlapping parking lots...Denver, Seattle, Philadelphia, etc. Look, the damage is done with BofA Stadium...might as well make the most of it with this baseball stadium.

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If they were serious, they should look into doing something like the Power & Light District in Kansas City where they allow Alcoholic Beverages to be carried outside and have an aggressive retail, restaurant, and residential strategy for the new buildings along the street, not compromising with developers.

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I really cannot talk about the dress code and it being racist as I dont know the code or really the whole story, but I think it is fully within any restaurant or entertainment areas rights to have a dress code, clubs do, and it has nothing to do with whether I am white or black, as do fancy restaurants. That seems iffy to me.

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I too am annoyed and distressed by Uptown's fragmented "life'. We have a few nice islands of interest but it is more than swallowed up by depressing surface lots and prime land being sat on by you know who..... :whistling: I take heart with the long range plans ( Blkyn Village, Brevard Corridor) etc but it's hard to be upbeat about that because it's so pie in the sky uncertain. The new City Public Market will be a great addition and compliment the LRT and encourage more sensible urbanity if done right. I would also like to see less reliance or obsession perhaps on high dollar restaurants.. how about some more casual sidewalk cafes? Uptown's laser focus on the high life gets old after awhile, we should not just have a vertical Ballantyne vibe in our urban core.

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Having moved to Charlotte in 2005 I have been encouraged by ongoing transformation in the city center. I am not a native therefore I cannot know for certain what works best now as opposed to "what was there before" but yet I like what Charlotte is becoming. This city should be the envy of most mid-sized cities IMO. I had relatives down a few months ago from up North and as we drove through uptown they were very impressed with the city but when we got to the area around the Greyhound bus station on Trade street they remaked about how it suddenly became a "dead zone". I think thatthis area should be a primary focus of redevelopment to connect it to the rest of the downtown Renaissance.

The BOA stadium, well I agree that that area needs help. The city should encourage building human-scale things around it and find a way to also connect it to the rest of Uptown.

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