Spartan

Renaissance Park Projects & Developments

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Not bad at all! It should add a lot to that block. Thanks for finding it. I like that its going to have that pinnacle. It should make for a decent "semi-terminal vista" down Liberty Street.

Come to think of it, wasn't that posted here a while back? It seems oddly familiar to me for some reason.

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Well at least I'm not crazy. I just have entirely too many projects floating around in my head between Spartanburg, Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville.

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The University of South Carolina Upstate will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its new $30 million George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 6 at 160 E. Saint John St., the facility

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ARe they still going to call the street grom the Marriott. "Promenade Road". I wish they could could name it in honor of good ole' Arthur Cleveland.... Yeh, he mismanaged and lost his shirt, but it was still his vision that started Renaissance Park.

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Well we have a Cleveland Street already. I hate roads that are named after people. Specifically, and I know I've ranted on this before, I hate it when its their full name on the road sign. Like Hudson L Barksdale Blvd or John B White Sr Blvd. Why does it need to be that long? Nobody calls it "John B White Senior Boulevard" they call it Reidville Rd. Back in the early days of cities we named thing after people's last names, and IMO that policy should still be valid.

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I'd rather it be called Archer Street or Silver Hill Street to continue the names of the streets that it will connect to.

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The $30 million University of South Carolina Upstate George Dean Johnson Jr College of Business & Economics has officially broken ground. How's that for a name? Because it is so long, it has been dubbed "The George." I think I'll start using it too, because its proper name is rather unwieldy.

This is what USC President Harris Pastides had to say about it, and I think this is the best quote from the article:

"It's my desire that someday Spartanburg will be a cover story, not in a local magazine but a national magazine, and it will say something like, 'Spartanburg, South Carolina: How Did It Happen?' And it happened because we all came together to create something special," Pastides said. "I can tell you that the entire eyes of the University of South Carolina (system) are on Spartanburg today."

They plan to be done with the whole thing by May 2010. With committed funding and otherwise unoccupied construction workers (thanks to the economy) I am optimistic about this being completed on time.

Article

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I'm very excited about this project, and I really like the look of the building, but what do you guys think about all the architecture looking basically the same? It just looks like every building Johnson ot McMillan Smith seem to be involved with look so similar. Is that good or bad?

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I for one think it sucks that they are all starting to look alike. Its kind of like the late 60's and early 70's when all those cookie cutter stadiums went up across the country and they were all multi sport stadiums (Riverfront in Cincy, The Vet in Philly, Busch in St Louis, etc.). Can't we mix it up a little?

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Most of these buildings look good on their own, but I agree with Sparkleman, Make them different in looks and function. I have stated in this forum before that Spartanburg is being developed as a suburban office park. Johnson just doesn't get it and unfortunately the City leaders support his every effort with out question. I'll try to get a photo of another mixed use building that was recently proposed for downtown that had residential and ground level retail/restaurant. It was shot down so fast the developers have no further desire to develop here.

Spartanburg wasted its time, money and effort on the Master Plan. They only needed to say let George handle it and cut the BS with a supposed master plan that is really to control the little man and let the money guys do as they please.

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Johnson is building the city is his image. It is unfortunate that his image is based on the how it will look from a car which is further rooted in notion that suburbia works.

You're right in saying that his buildings are all starting to look the same. In fact I think we have a thread about Spartanburg's architecture and how all of the buildings developed lately have a very common "mill" theme going on. That and stucco or beige EFIS.

Its a sort of catch-22 though. How many other developers are building speculative office space in downtown right now or have in the past 10 years? I can't think of any. The catch is that the City Government is not in a position to be overly demanding because right now they need to build up a tax base. Spartanburg simply doesn't have many resources, and economic development is the fastest way that it can build them up to compete against other cities in SC. Does anyone think that the ends justify the means?

Besides that, we don't actually know how many developers that he has run off, or if its directly because of him. Only the City Planning Dept and presumably the Planning Commission knows that. I would not be surprised if he has run off quite a few though. Who was it that said Johnson asked for a rendering of a proposed development so he could see what it would look like from his office? What ever came of that?

I'd like to know more about why that mixed use development was shot down.

The Code, should it not be adopted, would definitely be the BIGGEST waste of tax payer dollars ever because it has the potential to reshape the fabric of downtown, which would eventually lead to higher quality of life for everyone and even more economic development in the future since more people would want to live here. Its frustrating that people don't see the big picture.

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The mixed use building I am talking about was actually in process for several years. I do think the final straw was when the City Manager ask for additional renderings and/or elevations to show how the new development would look from one of George Deans buildings (simple math here I think). The City shot the project down by continually asking for things that were not relevant and delaying and delaying and delaying until it became obvious that this project was getting the run around and wasn't going to get the approval needed. It was killed not by a specific notification, but by a process that was obviously determined to make this project go away. I did get the rendering of the building from my associate who also gives me all the info, but its too large to scan and post here. Its really a beautiful building that would have added all the needed elements that we discuss on this forum. I think it would have added so much more than most all of George Deans projects thus far.

I also agree with you Spartan, that Johnson Developments projects are better than nothing and some are very nice, but I wonder how many other projects are railroaded so that Spartanburgs destiny is determined by one individual.

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USC Upstate got a $1million donation for the George. I don't have much else to say about it, but its good news. Maybe it will mean extra attention to details.

Article

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To the city's credit, their parking garages have been getting progressively better in terms of design. I doubt it will have retail or office space fronting Saint John St like it ought to, but I expect it will look something like the buildings adjacent to it (CCC and the USC Upstate building). So look for a lot of brick and stucco, like the side of Magnolia St Garage that fronts the Square, ESA, and Magnolia St.

Why have variety when you can have monotony? Yay bricks and stucco!

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The garages have been well designed for cars and they don't look bad either, but if they would design them to accomodate residential or office on the street side at least, they would be much more funtional and possibly add more to the activity downtown. The other concern I have for the project is: I don't think any of us have seen a rendering!!!! Its more of the same from Spartanburg. The garage is ready for construction and no one has seen any renderings. Its a public project and no one gets to question the look, details or offer any input or suggestions whatsoever. I am also concerned that it has 700-750 spaces and will be low rise. How much valuable land will it take up? I don't think a parking garage should dominate the landscape, but thats why it should be designed to accomodate residentail or office steetside or on top of the parking. I guarantee you it will be screwed up in some way with just the City and George Dean overseeing it.

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