atlrvr

Armchair Developer/Planner

98 posts in this topic

I'm going to try this thread as a pinned topic at the top and see how it goes. This is where anyone can come post their specific ideas for a new development, planning design, retail concept, etc. Just keep it local to the Charlotte area and the more specific the better.

I'll start with 2.

#1. I would really like to see a private school in Uptown. The ideal site in my opinion is the Treolar House (7th and Brevard) which would be renovated and wrapped with a larger modern building that would include a roof top playground. The school should target PK-8th grades. The location is ideal due to its adjacency to ImaginOn and eventually a new park, and the Treolar House already has the "schoolhouse look" which would make it fitting to rehab for this purpose.

I think for Uptown to grow with families, there is going to need to be a private school option. Most families are happy with Myers Park as their "home" HS, but not with the "home" Elementary and Middle school options at CMS. Trinity Episcopal has a fine reputation, but I believe it is wait listed, and only goes to 5th or 6th grades. I'm not aware of any non-religious private schools closer than the South Park area, which isn't logical for a family where the parents live and work downtown.

#2. I really would like to see an slightly upmarket "breakfast all day" type of establishment, and think that the cursed City Tavern/Twist/Daddy's/almost Ugly spot would be ideal. The size of the space seems about right, and it is both convenient to a large number of office workers as well as the densest residential portion of Uptown. I'm torn styling wise between "retro diner" and white tablecloth. I had invisioned a diner for a while, but after spending $80 for a 2 person breakfast (only 1 Mimosa) at Sarabeth's in NYC Upper West Side, and standing in line for 45 minutes to do so, I think the white tablecloth concept has some appeal and might be a better fit for the location.

Anyway.....I hope everyone will post their quirky dreams, and I hope someone with the means to recognize good ideas and the capital to implement them will read them.

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#2. I really would like to see an slightly upmarket "breakfast all day" type of establishment, and think that the cursed City Tavern/Twist/Daddy's/almost Ugly spot would be ideal. The size of the space seems about right, and it is both convenient to a large number of office workers as well as the densest residential portion of Uptown. I'm torn styling wise between "retro diner" and white tablecloth. I had invisioned a diner for a while, but after spending $80 for a 2 person breakfast (only 1 Mimosa) at Sarabeth's in NYC Upper West Side, and standing in line for 45 minutes to do so, I think the white tablecloth concept has some appeal and might be a better fit for the location.

I totally agree with the breakfast joint (with late night hours on weekends) in the Daddy's spot. Ever since I heard someone recommend that right when Daddy's closed (it could have been you, atlrvr), I just think it's a perfect idea. Latorre said today that he is planning on looking for another restaurant/bar tenant, but I think that the string of failures for a spot primarily for drinking has proven that this location just doesn't work. I do think that the breakfast joint would need to be affordable -- this isn't NYC and I doubt many people would be willing to fork out $80 for breakfast at any time of the day except for possibly Sunday brunch.

Outside of that particular location, the Flying Biscuit will fill this gap for a breakfast joint in downtown. I don't know what the hours will be, but they would be stupid to close before 4:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

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1: I would like to see I-277 between uptown and South End cover as much as possible with retail and parks. Allow more high rise office, hotels and condos with retail into the South End area.

2: Bury Brookshire freeway under ground and expand uptown east and north.

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I'd like it if we didn't apply suburban zoning to inner city neighborhoods. My specific pet peeve: I live in Noda, and if they tear down a house, they're not allowed to build the new one set back the same distance from the street as the old one because of the zoning--they have to push it back another ten feet or so. It breaks the continuity of the street and it's just ridiculous that the city actively discourages maintaining elements of the urban fabric like that.

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I would like to see the major double two lane/oneway streets in and leading out of uptown converted to median separated bikeways.

That is to say:

South Blvd from where the Lynx leaves the median through Caldwell and out to Optimist Park,

Kenilworth/Stonewall from at least Midtown - but preferably from East - through uptown and out to Morehead,

11th through and into McDowell

I am not even THAT avid of a biker, but I see no need for 2 lanes of automobiles when we could have one and a lot better of a pedscape.

Kind of like this:

kent_bike_path.jpg

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I would like to see more smaller footprint projects downtown of the scale of the Dunhill hotel, where only a sliver of land is used, and the building is of a small number of modestly sized units and a single elevator or something. No pool, no massive structure, just simple density on a small footprint.

I'd like to require overhead utilities to be buried. The city spent significant money making a number 'signature' intersections on South, like at Woodlawn. They made expensive aesthetic improvements, but when come up to the intersection, most people don't look or see those little planting walls with art embedded, they just see the mess of wires all over the place. It is far from a 'signature' intersection as a result.

We should require all buildings meet a minimum sustainability standard, possibily require LEED certification. Buildings last at least one generation, and sometimes two or three, yet are by far the leading cause of energy use and catastrophic global warming. If we don't start requiring higher standards now, it will take generations before we can make significant improvements. Voluntary application of these standards has been successful, but it is getting to be time where these should be required as part building codes as some other countries do. If not a full standard, then at least certain components. Absolutely, we should ban toxic and petrochemical-based building products like vinyl, EIFS, and probably even asphalt shingles. There are plenty of viable alternatives, including returning to wood siding now that there have been many improvements in the treatment of it to avoid rot.

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#1. I would really like to see a private school in Uptown. The ideal site in my opinion is the Treolar House (7th and Brevard) which would be renovated and wrapped with a larger modern building that would include a roof top playground. The school should target PK-8th grades. The location is ideal due to its adjacency to ImaginOn and eventually a new park, and the Treolar House already has the "schoolhouse look" which would make it fitting to rehab for this purpose.

I think for Uptown to grow with families, there is going to need to be a private school option. Most families are happy with Myers Park as their "home" HS, but not with the "home" Elementary and Middle school options at CMS. Trinity Episcopal has a fine reputation, but I believe it is wait listed, and only goes to 5th or 6th grades. I'm not aware of any non-religious private schools closer than the South Park area, which isn't logical for a family where the parents live and work downtown.

That is a great idea, and spot on logically with the high end residences coming on the the market whose owners would likely desire such a thing.

#2. I really would like to see an slightly upmarket "breakfast all day" type of establishment, and think that the cursed City Tavern/Twist/Daddy's/almost Ugly spot would be ideal. The size of the space seems about right, and it is both convenient to a large number of office workers as well as the densest residential portion of Uptown. I'm torn styling wise between "retro diner" and white tablecloth. I had invisioned a diner for a while, but after spending $80 for a 2 person breakfast (only 1 Mimosa) at Sarabeth's in NYC Upper West Side, and standing in line for 45 minutes to do so, I think the white tablecloth concept has some appeal and might be a better fit for the location.
I would have said Merts already fits that bill pretty closely, but not complaining about having more (I'm a big breakfast sandwich lover).

Anyway, my idea for uptown - a massive 3 level bookstore slash true coffeehouse/deli (not a la Borders) slash late hours establishment, the late hours being key. Perhaps the descriptor "lounge" sneaks it's way in there, with appropriately themed music. I would design it much like older libraries with many intimate nooks and crannies for reading, and to be both sleek and new but also with an older more comfortable feel, so stone, glass and heavy wood, light on the decorative steel theme.

Edited by nowensone

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Seems to me this is nothing more than a reverse of the "My Rant About Charlotte", "Boring Charlotte", "Uptown Sux", etc etc etc threads. So far it's nothing more than how downtown should be changed without admitting that downtown needs to change. I am not sure this is worthy of being a pinned topic because I don't see where this topic is any different.

If you really want to have an Armchair development topic then I think first there ought to be a discussion what would constitute a desirable downtown or even better a better city that focuses more than just making changes to a few blocks around Trade and Tryon. Will this happen? Probably not because nobody wants to admit this isn't a perfect place. Case in point the recent topic where Charlotte is compared to some place that most do like and immediately the chorus of "oh that is isn't a fair comparison because......".

Ok so fine. Have the discussion yet again, but I really don't think its going to head anywhere that would warrant pinning because we can't have an honest discussion on the matter.

Note: Escapists, I do like what you posted about changing the streets to be less oriented towards car transportation.

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My fantasy armchair developer project would be to develop the corner of Pecan/Central from the Independence freeway bridge all the way to the railroad tracks on Central. My vision includes a high rise residential with retail that fronts Pecan and Central. The balance of the property would be gridded streets with more housing and retail. A certain number of the residential units would be rent controlled and affordable to have a good mix of residents. I would also set aside some of the retail for entrepreneurs and have rent based on a sliding scale to promote and eclectic mix of retail.

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I would like to see an inventory of all the extraneous surface lots that suck life out of Uptown and are a major impediment to having an authentic urban vibe IMO. Uptown seems to me like a mirage of shiny towers choked by a concrete desert. Owners would be encouraged to allow infill development or artwork through incentives.

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I would like to see an inventory of all the extraneous surface lots that suck life out of Uptown and are a major impediment to having an authentic urban vibe IMO. Uptown seems to me like a mirage of shiny towers choked by a concrete desert. Owners would be encouraged to allow infill development or artwork through incentives.

I personally would not be a armchair developer, I would wish to be Danny Levine's Jiminy Cricket. I can't remember the current count of acreage he owns. We'll say its 35 acres.

With this 35 acres (including hal marshall) I'd do oh so much.

10 acres of green space total

As some what of a continuation of the Brevard Stroll District, Brevard will be my main drag.

My plan calls A mix of towers 8-25 stories, and one 40 stories with an observation deck.

All with 2-5 story setbacks with at least two levels of retail.

Architecture/Retail: Each store will be encouraged to be two stories to keep them in a skinny shotgun kind of set up, to maximize visual clutter. Most buildings would be on the scale of the dunhill or tryon house, and there would be no such things as superblocks. Everything is mixed use, nothing single use here guys! Very Little will be discouraged from come here, I will even give coyote ugly a home if I have to. Sorry fellas but chains will be allowed, just not very many. There will be at least a TGI Fridays. Retail would be around 450k sq feet. Each block will have to be a collaboration by owners and architects, I don't want any building to look exactly the same, there is no new urbanism crap here. I want blocks to be distinct from one another. I'd love some modern here, some tradional there, hell throw in a tudor style shakespearean theatre, and I'd be very happy.

Arts: Since my land includes the new UNCC Design Building already, I would try to court and attract RISD to the area as well as encourage gallerys and museums. I would also open a museum dedicated to the thriving industries of the area from the past, present and future, maybe a textile museum, I know it sounds boring but I'd try.

2 small museums. + 1 in RISD

3 gallerys

1500 seats: 500 seat theatre, 200 seat theatre to be my own shakespearean playhouse, 200 seat theatre, and 600 seat ampitheatre.

Hotel

3 hotels total of 800 rooms.

1 boutique, loft style, 150 rooms,

1 national chain, 350 rooms, most likely embassy suites,

1 luxury hotel 300 rooms.

All with 1 floor of service based and restaurant retail.

Residential

1,500 residential units, 800 apt. 500 condo and 200 fractional ownership/timeshare.

500 condos: 400

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I would like to see an inventory of all the extraneous surface lots that suck life out of Uptown and are a major impediment to having an authentic urban vibe IMO. Uptown seems to me like a mirage of shiny towers choked by a concrete desert. Owners would be encouraged to allow infill development or artwork through incentives.

I like this idea... I'd like to see just a minimum amount of surface lots if any at all. Until we rid ourselves of these lots, people still have incentive to want to drive downtown. I think it's key to adding more pedestrian traffic and the light rail extensions. We still have a ways to go though.

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I'd like it if we didn't apply suburban zoning to inner city neighborhoods. My specific pet peeve: I live in Noda, and if they tear down a house, they're not allowed to build the new one set back the same distance from the street as the old one because of the zoning--they have to push it back another ten feet or so. It breaks the continuity of the street and it's just ridiculous that the city actively discourages maintaining elements of the urban fabric like that.

Amen.

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I personally would not be a armchair developer, I would wish to be Danny Levine's Jiminy Cricket. I can't remember the current count of acreage he owns. We'll say its 35 acres.

With this 35 acres (including hal marshall) I'd do oh so much.

10 acres of green space total

As some what of a continuation of the Brevard Stroll District, Brevard will be my main drag.

My plan calls A mix of towers 8-25 stories, and one 40 stories with an observation deck.

All with 2-5 story setbacks with at least two levels of retail.

Architecture/Retail: Each store will be encouraged to be two stories to keep them in a skinny shotgun kind of set up, to maximize visual clutter. Most buildings would be on the scale of the dunhill or tryon house, and there would be no such things as superblocks. Everything is mixed use, nothing single use here guys! Very Little will be discouraged from come here, I will even give coyote ugly a home if I have to. Sorry fellas but chains will be allowed, just not very many. There will be at least a TGI Fridays. Retail would be around 450k sq feet. Each block will have to be a collaboration by owners and architects, I don't want any building to look exactly the same, there is no new urbanism crap here. I want blocks to be distinct from one another. I'd love some modern here, some tradional there, hell throw in a tudor style shakespearean theatre, and I'd be very happy.

Arts: Since my land includes the new UNCC Design Building already, I would try to court and attract RISD to the area as well as encourage gallerys and museums. I would also open a museum dedicated to the thriving industries of the area from the past, present and future, maybe a textile museum, I know it sounds boring but I'd try.

2 small museums. + 1 in RISD

3 gallerys

1500 seats: 500 seat theatre, 200 seat theatre to be my own shakespearean playhouse, 200 seat theatre, and 600 seat ampitheatre.

Hotel

3 hotels total of 800 rooms.

1 boutique, loft style, 150 rooms,

1 national chain, 350 rooms, most likely embassy suites,

1 luxury hotel 300 rooms.

All with 1 floor of service based and restaurant retail.

Residential

1,500 residential units, 800 apt. 500 condo and 200 fractional ownership/timeshare.

500 condos: 400–190-300k condos. 1&2 bedroom. 100–300k-1million condos.

800 apartments: 400–studios/1 BR., 300 2 bedrooms, 100–3+ bedrooms.

Office

1.25-1.5 millions sq feet of Class A Office. LEED Certification of at least Silver Required.

300,000 of which is in the 40 story mixed use tower with observation deck.

Greenspace

Pocket parks and Medium parks. will make up the 10 acres. Public Art will be used throughout, but Fountains will be strongly discouraged. I would like to have a basketball court, and maybe a baseball diamond, but I might not have enough realestate, so if that is the case a couple basketball courts would be nice. I would also like to have bike rental kiosks, and things such as that, since Brevard will be pedestrian only for 2 blocks.

LRT/Lynx

The future 9th Street Station on the Blue Line Extension will be made a signature station with oodles of public art.

its easy to spit all of that out, but does it make money? How does city council react as far as wanting to generate more tax revenue from here and from here? Are all buildings up to some of the crazy building codes? Where is parking implemented? How are you going to get financing? How will neighbors react? Will you be able to draw tenants? But yeah, it does sound nice.

As far as ideas go, if there are always developers willing to listen to good ideas that will make the city a better place and that are financially viable.

I think the private school idea is very good, but at the same time, private schools have a very tough time getting started, and most of their funding comes from donations. Libraries, teachers, building maintenance, there are many difficulties. Once endowment grows, then things get a bit better, but even still I think in most private schools 40-50% of their budget is off donations rather then tuition. If you could spin it to make financial sense, I think you could have something with that idea.

I know of a developer who is looking for great ideas and will do anything, so dont think this topic is a pipe dream, if the some of the ideas are good enough, I wouldnt be surprised to see them done.

Edited by BUILDIT

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This is more of an art proposal.

I'd love to see a large scale "Piggy Bank" scuplture built at the corner of Tryon and 1st (in front of the new Mint and Wachovia CC). Something humorous in proportions and possibly innocently childish, as a way of mirroring/mocking the "Bull" located on Broadway in front of Merrill Lynch's HQ. This would play on Charlotte reputation as a savings/loan town as opposed to an investment banking town.

The Bull in NYC

merrill-lynch-bull-by-travis-s.jpg

Our Pig done at a similar scale.

113325b~Piggy-Bank-Posters.jpg

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^Wow, that's pretty good (=witty). But tacky as hell of course. Visitors would probably think it is a barbeque or farm reference. :) Charlotte's Web?

I suppose a giant floating hornet would just be perplexing...

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^ We could always make the pig menacing! :)

Edit. To make sure it's not confused as BBQ or anything else, having a coin obviously protruding from its back is in order. This is a similar "pig" that was temporarily on display in Cleveland. I want something larger, and less ornate.

piggy-bank-cleveland.jpg

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piggybank.jpg

Or something more realistic:

946388659_67a8dc377f.jpg

Found this on Flikr. Apparently a real piggy bank that accepts donations to keep Pike's Market in Seattle up and running.

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That proposal reminds me of (one of the very few) things that Buffalo has actually done nicely some 10 yrs ago when I lived up there called "Heard About Buffalo". They sold off in a bid process approximately 50 of these "Buffalo" statues that were each individually done with a theme and bid off for tremendous amounts of money in the form of donations. These Buffalo's popped up as sculpture's and art pieces amongst many companies around the city and made for interesting statements, art and culture, and attractions for the city throughout public and private spaces; even for locals. Better yet, the money that was bid with by the companies had their money donated to Roswell Cancer Institution.

buf1.jpg

buf2.jpg

buf26.jpg

This guy seems to have a lot of pictures of them here.

Certainly Charlotte could adopt the concept and bring it to good causes. There's a lot of money in the businesses here and would really benefit and connect uptown with its neighborhoods and be an attraction all for a good cause. Of course Charlotte doesn't have anything as obvious as these were for the city of Buffalo.

Maybe they should have considered doing some art project like this for the LYNX line at each station. Gives companies tax breaks, free advertising, and art in transit, and that money could be freed up from CATs and used towards the transit itself. Remember a lot of art got cut from LYNX from cost overruns... simple solutions my friends...

Edited by Andyc545

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I'm thinking a statue-of-liberty-esque mr moneybags would become quite the tourist draw. We could have a little viewing platform in his tophat.

230575_f260.jpg

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^ Not sure if that was tongue-in-cheek, but I'll take it. Any public art that doesn't take itself so seriously would certainly be more interesting to residents and visitors than our current stock of art/public space.

Andy.....Charlotte actually did a similar parade of rocking chairs that were donated and auctioned off. They were displayed all around Uptown back in the mid-late '90s.

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... Visitors would probably think it is a barbeque or farm reference. :) Charlotte's Web?

Indeed they would. Maybe most here don't realize that Lexington, NC (about 50 miles NE of CLT) is full of decorative pig art similar to that posted above. There are so many of them done by local artists, they have a parade of them each year.

Photo gallery of a few of them here.

Of course Lexington is known for its BBQ.

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Houston did what these other cities have done several years ago, with decoratively painted cows though. I thought it was really bizarre, but I guess it did liven the place up a bit. Come to think of it I think they might still be there, so perhaps permanent.

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this is fascinating as I was having a discussion about this kind of stuff recently. Anything to add something kind of unique and fun to downtown would be awesome, give it a little bit of character if you will. I love the piggy bank idea, or even a mocking monopoly guy would be great.

Taking this on a different course, what do you guys think would be a good character addition around the carolina theater? Something that maybe includes history but at the same time cool and unique. if you give a good one, you just might win.

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