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cityboi

major hotel in the works for downtown Greensboro

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well its about time we started hearing major proposals again :) A 300 room luxury hotel is being planned for downtown. This project should really help jump start more entertainment, restaurants and retail on South Elm south of the tracks. I must say im surprised that a hotel this size is being planned for that location. But thats great because its right off Lee Street and the site is about a mile and a half east of the Greensboro Coliseum. No word on the height of this proposed hotel. The article says an identical hotel is being built in downtown Memphis (The Phoenix Hotel) so im trying to find renderings of that hotel to see what the design might look like and how tall the building would be. To give some indication of height, the Marriott downtown has about the same number of rooms and its 11-stories tall. Im sure there would have to be an attached parking deck. This proposal is currently in the beginning stage so lets hope this succeeds and doesnt colapse like other hotel proposals. If I were building this hotel I would include a multiplex theater with the project. But this is the biggest downtown development news in Greensboro since the Greensboro Triumph Center.

http://www.news-record.com/content/2009/06..._schools_office

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Oh man this is a surprise. I would not have thought of a large hotel there. However given the name "Phoenix" I guess its intentions are for it to be built in a redeveloped area. I assume the same is true of the Memphis location. For all of this to work though I think there needs to be at least some retail in the project and ideally one entertainment attraction. To really bring that side of Lee street into the downtown mix there has to be something substantial over there.

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Oh man this is a surprise. I would not have thought of a large hotel there. However given the name "Phoenix" I guess its intentions are for it to be built in a redeveloped area. I assume the same is true of the Memphis location. For all of this to work though I think there needs to be at least some retail in the project and ideally one entertainment attraction. To really bring that side of Lee street into the downtown mix there has to be something substantial over there.

indeed. The luxury hotel in Memphis is being built in a redeveloped area. In Greensboro's case I think a project like this will help expand downtown southward. The streetscape on Lee Street need to be improved and for the love of God pave Lee Street. Its so irritating driving over all those damn bumps in the road. Hopefully the used car lot at Lee and Arlington St will move because its an eye sore, especially with it being right next to the luxury FountainView condos. In fact that could be a reason why there are no buyers yet. Eye sores create a perception for a neighborhood and there are a lot of homeless people lined up at a house in the mornings next to FountainView as well. But a hotel at Elm and Lee would make a great anchor for the southern end of downtown and hotel guests wouldn't have to get in their cars to go to a restaurant or have a little urban entertainment. This hotel project is estimated to be $75 million which is almost twice the cost of the Center Pointe renovation.

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This is a very impressive proposal and a good sign, as indicated above, that maybe we're bouncing back?? Cant wait to see the renderings. Does anyone have a photo of the site where this redevelopment is planned? I remember an article from a while ago about historic buildings in this area being renovated for residential/commercial use. I could be wrong.

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here is the area in question. The red areas that I have highlighted show what has already been demolished to make way for new development. The red/yellow area to the right would be for the planned school administration building and some residential/retail/office.

developmenthotel.jpg

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I don't want to get too excited because so many big projects have been announced before and then fallen through. And also I don't want to get on board with this project until I can see some renderings and know that this person's caliber of work is high.

That said, Whether this project falls through or not, the area being considered will be redeveloped sooner rather than later because the city owns the land and has spent millions in federal dollars performing environmental remediation and cleanup for the express purpose of redevelopment.

If there's this level of interest before the city has even sent out RFPs (Request for Proposals) I'm sure there will be other good things to come.

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I don't want to get too excited because so many big projects have been announced before and then fallen through. And also I don't want to get on board with this project until I can see some renderings and know that this person's caliber of work is high.

That said, Whether this project falls through or not, the area being considered will be redeveloped sooner rather than later because the city owns the land and has spent millions in federal dollars performing environmental remediation and cleanup for the express purpose of redevelopment.

If there's this level of interest before the city has even sent out RFPs (Request for Proposals) I'm sure there will be other good things to come.

I agree that we shouldn't get too excited. Two major hotel projects have already fallen through. As far as caliber of this person's work, I can assume it is pretty high caliber. The hotel project in Memphis is being built next to the FedEx Forum so I would expect a great design. Hopefully it won't be too generic and incorporate surrounding architecture in the area. I still don't like the idea of the new school administration building being built on part of the land. It will be such a huge building taking up valuable land that could be used for more residential, retail or maybe even a future grocery store. But then again if the hotel project can some kind of way be combined with the school project, Federal money or some kind of stimulus money could go a long way in help both projects along. That idea was presented with the concert hall that Action Greensboro had proposed. The idea was to combine the high-rise court house with the concert hall and the Feds would foot the bill for the whole project. Now it wouldn't happen exactly like that in the case of the hotel project but I do see where government money could benefit this whole area and make it much easier for projects to become a reality. But there really has to be a public-private partnership. Certainly I wouldn't expect city government to loan the developer millions of dollars though.

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What is the current occupancy rate for hotels in Greensboro...and is there a need for a new hotel?

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What is the current occupancy rate for hotels in Greensboro...and is there a need for a new hotel?

It cant be too low because Roy Carroll is talking about building a hotel (not downtown I don't think). But a 300 room hotel is not out of the question being there are a limited number of hotel rooms in the downtown area. Greensboro has enough business travelers and convention goers to sustain new hotels though.

Stay tuned because its likely that this project could include a little more than just a hotel. IF this happens, it would likely be at least a 2 or 3 years or even more before construction starts based on the cost, complexity of the project and the current credit crisis. If it weren't for the credit crisis, I'm sure construction could begin within two years. But I would love to see a hotel around 10-stories. Thats not too tall for that section of downtown.

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Yea I am not really feeling the school admin building. From what I can tell the design isn't what I would like for downtown. Based on the possible renderings of the South Elm area it is suppose to be very pedestrian oriented. The admin building looks like it could overwhelm a block much like the way the YMCA building does. And if they build a large surface lot with it then it will be that much more of a pedestrian obstacle. I am hoping that they will take lessons from Southside when building out this area.

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Yea I am not really feeling the school admin building. From what I can tell the design isn't what I would like for downtown. Based on the possible renderings of the South Elm area it is suppose to be very pedestrian oriented. The admin building looks like it could overwhelm a block much like the way the YMCA building does. And if they build a large surface lot with it then it will be that much more of a pedestrian obstacle. I am hoping that they will take lessons from Southside when building out this area.

I agree. The scale of the planned school administration building in terms of its footprint is just too large for the area. It could have been better designed but I don't like the idea of it being there at all. It just doesn't belong there. Why not build it off if Maple St near Summit Ave where the new department of Social Services building is. A lot of residential units can be put in the same footprint of this administration building.

Clearly the school administration looks out of place with the surrounding architecture. This looks like something that belongs on A&T's campus, not in the Old Greensborough area. The hotel is suppose to be built across the street from this structure. What are todays' architects thinking? My major in college was architecture and I know better than that. Im surprised preservationists and downtown merchants aren't up in arms over this building. They rasied hell over the 5-story Lindbrook development which is more compatible with surrounding architecture than this building is.

drawing.jpg

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It looks like the city is really going to push for this building being built there.

http://www.digtriad.com/news/features/arti...2&catid=216

They see it as the catalyst to get that area started. I am not against that part of it I just don't quite see how this architecture fits in with any of the detailed studies which were completed for that area. I am like you, there are other areas of downtown where this building would be better suited. If it were half the footprint and twice as tall it wouldn't be so bad.

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It made it on FOX 8 too. The luxury hotel will include a conference center as well. The entire project is much bigger than anyone visioned. Mayor Johnson said if the city can get stimulus money, construction could begin on the school building in about a year. The intial project will not only include the school building and hotel/conference center, but will also include residential and shops. Mayor Yvonne Johnson added the plan is to start on a ten acre plot and eventually build out onto 75 acres between downtown and the Old Asheboro neighborhood. This would essentially expand downtown. This is strikingly similar to the plan in Memphis which will include the same kind of hotel. 10 or 15 years ago I would have thought anyone was crazy if they believed a 300 room luxury hotel would be built at Elm and Lee Street. I would have said the same exact thing about Southside which at one time was plagued with crime, crack heads, winos and abandoned homes. Southside proved that anything is possible and it would be absolutely amazing to see a 300-room luxury hotel rise in an area where "it shouldn't'"

http://www.myfox8.com/wghp-story-gso-new-s...0,4058813.story

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here is an update on the downtown hotel project: The business woman from Memphis believes she has found a way to build this hotel in a tough credit market. It could happen a lot sooner than we think depending on when the school admin building is built. If the city can get government grants/loans, construction on that can begin in months. In regards to the hotel project, it just might happen because of policies the Obama administration put in place. The whole point of those policies are to create economic growth and jobs. I don't think she can just build this hotel anywhere. I think it needs to be built in a brownfield/redevelopment area to qualify for some of this stimulus money/loan. Thats what makes the South Elm/Lee Street site so attractive for her. She does have a track record of finding these federal dollars to help her projects. She has done it with the same exact development in Memphis and the first phase of the project there is now under construction. This is in contrast to developers who have had lofty plans for downtown but had no track record of doing such projects. This project would also help speed up streetscape projects on Lee Street between the coliseum and downtown. Im sure the city could get some stimulus money for that as well.

"The proposal is going into high gear now, said Bridget Chisholm, because billions in redevelopment bonds were just released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in June as part of the massive American Reinvestment and Recovery Act."

http://www.news-record.com/content/2009/07..._is_a_tough_job

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Here is a rendering of the proposed downtown hotel. Its not a high-rise but its nice mid-rise structure. Design wise, this can work, It mimics 19th century architecture that Greensboro use to have and its very luxurious looking, almost Grandover like. Clearly its not a dressed up Hampton Inn. My concern is how this will look being across the street from that awful school admin building that is in total contrast of the hotel design. Thats seems to be becoming a problem on the Lee Street corridor. We are seeing new development but every developer is building something thats totally different in design. Lee street won't have a uniform look by the time its completely redeveloped. But in regards to the school admin building, I think local leaders need to be following their own downtown design guidelines that they are putting in place.

Greensboro_hotel_downtown.jpg

drawing.jpg

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So much for this being a several years out. LOL. It sounds like there is still a lot of pieces which would have to be worked out but I love the effort. Even if things don't work out I love to see people thinking and trying big things.

The hotel and school office building are two totally different looking buildings. I have a really hard time seeing them being across the street from one another. My ideal would be to have the hotel at one corner of Lee and Elm and then at the other corner have a building with matching architecture including ground level retail. Then place the school building a block or so deeper into the development away from Lee. I know they probably do not have the property purchased for that yet but that would be my ideal.

My concern is that if you do not have retail at at least one corner you will not get any pedestrians crossing over Lee unless they have business at the hotel or school building. You will lose that connection with the other side of Elm. Lee street will already be a barrier but if people can see more shops just across the street they will be more likely to continue across. Southside did it right. The neighborhood opens up with retail and then transitions into just residential as you go deeper. In this case open up with at least a little retail and then transition into office and residential.

I also think it would be much easier to get private investment at the corner of Lee and Elm then a block or two deep into the area. I would hate to see a prime lot with the highest value used on a government building.

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For what its worth, I don't think the school admin building is unattractive. I agree it looks nothing like the rendering for the proposed hotel, but does it really matter. I personally don't want a downtown / lee street area that is completely homogenous in look and feel.

Besides, I think both of these proposed facilities could be reworked or redesigned. I'm pretty sure the school admin building will be redesigned if the project moves forward, because the current rendering was put together by a non-profit organization to pitch the proposal to the school system. I think the current design wouldn't look bad as long as they incorporated some ground level retail on the sides of the building. I think that would help break up the massive look of it.

Overall, I think having the school building in this location would be a good thing. It would certainly increase demand for shops and restaurants in that area of downtown. And from what I've heard about the current proposal, there would be little, if any, surface parking.

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This is great because for a long time downtown Greensboro was on a roll with proposed developments. Things got quiet after the announcement of the Greensboro Triumph Center two years ago and it has been quiet ever since until a day ago. There were a few small announcements like the Lindbrook development on South Elm St. But yea it looks like this project is on a fast track....but that all depends on getting stimulus funds/loans. Without that, this deal would likely fail. Thats really the only stumbling block I see at this point, otherwise the project appears that it will move forward. Its certainly happening in Memphis. I think one solution to help the barrier situation Lee Street creates is to reduces Lee Street to one lane in each Direction in the downtown area between Eugene Street and MLK Dr. Include turn lanes and also a landscape pedestrian friendly median. The median could have decorative double street lights in the center of the median, like the ones on I-40. That combined with a few traffic calming devices will slow the traffic down so people wont feel as intimidated to cross the street. But this is an exciting project and it would surely create a more active atmosphere on Elm Street south of the tracks. As far as the school building, Yes there needs to be street level shops and restaurants on the ground level. otherwise the building doesn't promote pedestrian activity. As much as I dont like the idea of the school building here it seems to be the anchor that will make the hotel a reality. So if you support the hotel, you pretty much have to support the school building. The good thing that comes out of it is that it means more workers downtown increases demand for more residential, shops and restaurants. One simularity between this project and the Greensboro Triumph Center is that both were proposed by minority developers. Its really a smart location for a hotel because not only is it downtown, the site is less than 2 miles away from the Greensboro Coliseum complex on the same corridor.

The hotel would have 300 rooms. Looking at the rendering, it doesn't look like 300 rooms so I assume there is another wing on the backside thats not visible in the rendering. We know it will include a conference center. With it being a luxury hotel, im sure it will include other amenities such as a spa, pool and fitness room. The Memphis hotel will include a large green space so this hotel will be no different.

The proposal is going into high gear now, said Bridget Chisholm, because billions in redevelopment bonds were just released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in June as part of the massive American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

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I don't like the rendering of the proposed hotel. A little too french chateau and definitely not urban. I hope the design on this will be changed if it moves forward.

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I don't like the rendering of the proposed hotel. A little too french chateau and definitely not urban. I hope the design on this will be changed if it moves forward.

believe it or not, that was the architectural style of a number of downtown Greensboro buildings from the 19th century that no longer exist today. Greensboro really lost a lot of beautiful architecture. But I wouldn't say this is not urban. Its a different kind of urban. It doesn't have the urban "brick" "warehouse" "loft" look if thats what you are refering to. but I suspect the design will be tweaked a little. The final product never comes out exactly like painted renderings. But its in interesting design and its nice to see something a little different.

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I am glad to hear the school admin building design may not be set in stone. I guess we will just have to see how everything plays out. I probably shouldn't judge too much now because everything is so uncertain and undecided.

My understanding is the hotel would be identical to the hotel being built in Memphis. I am sure using the same plans would be a big cost savings.

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It would have been nice if the hotel was around 10-stories but nevertheless this will be a great project. Im hoping the hotel will spur some kind of entertainment options as well. I'm still wanting to see a downtown multiplex theater.

Greensboro_hotel_downtown.jpg

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here is the website for the group the developer put together for this project. You can see the experience involved and the kind of projects this group has already built. This hotel would actually have more rooms than the 11-story downtown Marriott. That hotel has 274 rooms.

http://urbanhotelgroup.com/

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I like the idea of building up s. elm street, but at what cost? The city of greensboro has many roads that need to fix, and badly too. Funding should be spent of better street lighting and roadway construction as a priority.

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