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3 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

You claimed that Charlotte could be near auto independent.  So how do you do that?

I would argue this larger point has less to do with the viability of rail infrastructure  (though that's a major piece of the puzzle), and more to do with building housing and commerce infrastructure in a more productive way, and combining it with basic bicycle infrstructure. 

Nodes of commerce with dense  housing (ESPECIALLY townhome-style dwellings suitable for families) scattered around the landscape, all connected with very basic wide paths, and intersections to compliment them, is the key, I feel. Then hopefully we can get business owners to own the buildings they operate out of again. Re-embracing the "corner store" is a first step. 

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2 hours ago, kermit said:

The first step in making Charlotte less auto dependent is to stop building, or expanding, satellite job centers. The second step is to acknowledge that it is not impossible to reduce auto dependence, even in Charlotte. The third step is to make people acknowledge the risk that buying a house in the burbs does not come with a guarantee that society will bail them out (with bigger and better roads) when they discover that traffic is bad there.

I appreciate your good nature about taxes for rail, but I don't share your perspective. I am sick and tired of having my taxes raised to pay for sprawl and road construction and maintenance -- suburban lifestyles are massively subsidized by society and that subsidy makes higher-density (more sustainable) living appear to be more expensive than it would otherwise be. 

This does not actually solve anything.  Saying 'No' to a items you have issue with doesn't solve anything.  

First, the cost of living in the core is not obtainable for many.  Especially a growing region.  So your path does not do anything for the expected population growth.  Second, people moving in need jobs.  Not every company can operate out of towers, let alone, afford the rent.  

For the first two, when you have a population spike like Charlotte has those people need to live and work somewhere.  While you may be tired of having your taxes raised to pay for sprawl, it's the growth that drives the sprawl that is responsible for all of the positive things in the city.  Like I said before, your comments come off as someone who already has theirs and wants everyone to follow your lead even though the economics are not the same.  

Third, I agree that the path forward is not to continue to build bigger and better roads.  I am not in favor of that at all.  I believe in living an urban lifestyle.  I believe in creating dense walkable/bikeable communities.  All I am saying is I don't think it's reasonable or fair to crown Uptown as the only place to do this.  

I don't like anything about how Ballantyne is developed.  It's a horrible layout.  It's not connected by mass transit.  It has too many parking lots.  All that jazz.  But I still think these types of projects should exist.  I just think they need to be done much differently.

I think the most reasonable and realistic path forward is to continue to have Uptown be the focus but also allow for job centers around the region.  The key for me is how these job centers are designed.  How they are connected.  

Not only for what will be developed in the future but also for what exists today.  Why can't downtown Matthews or downtown Pineville become an urban center.  Just what issue would you have with that happening?   

 

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1 hour ago, cjd5050 said:

This does not actually solve anything.  Saying 'No' to a items you have issue with doesn't solve anything.  

First, the cost of living in the core is not obtainable for many.  Especially a growing region.  So your path does not do anything for the expected population growth.  Second, people moving in need jobs.  Not every company can operate out of towers, let alone, afford the rent.  

For the first two, when you have a population spike like Charlotte has those people need to live and work somewhere.  While you may be tired of having your taxes raised to pay for sprawl, it's the growth that drives the sprawl that is responsible for all of the positive things in the city.  Like I said before, your comments come off as someone who already has theirs and wants everyone to follow your lead even though the economics are not the same.  

Third, I agree that the path forward is not to continue to build bigger and better roads.  I am not in favor of that at all.  I believe in living an urban lifestyle.  I believe in creating dense walkable/bikeable communities.  All I am saying is I don't think it's reasonable or fair to crown Uptown as the only place to do this.  

I don't like anything about how Ballantyne is developed.  It's a horrible layout.  It's not connected by mass transit.  It has too many parking lots.  All that jazz.  But I still think these types of projects should exist.  I just think they need to be done much differently.

I think the most reasonable and realistic path forward is to continue to have Uptown be the focus but also allow for job centers around the region.  The key for me is how these job centers are designed.  How they are connected.  

Not only for what will be developed in the future but also for what exists today.  Why can't downtown Matthews or downtown Pineville become an urban center.  Just what issue would you have with that happening?  

1) you can't change land use without a public and political consensus to do so. Building infrastructure in the absence of this consensus is just a waste. I do think my proposed first steps really are first steps. 

2) The current cost of living in Charlotte's core is only high because of a) the culture of our developers (and their perceptions of what the market wants) and b) our zoning (particularly with respect to parking requirements) and permitting which makes infill construction more expensive than it needs to be. These cultural conditions can't be changed without the attitude changes you dismissed. If consumers are willing to change their expectations about how much space they 'need' then there is no reason why high density growth can't be as cheap as suburban growth (with appropriate changes to zoning). IMO population growth makes it easier, not harder, to create more density. Look at Southend and tell me that changing mindsets about residential choice can't accommodate a healthy portion of Charlotte's growth.

3) "it's the growth that drives the sprawl that is responsible for all of the positive things in the city." You and I will have to disagree on this point. Growth is unquestionably good for Charlotte, however when that growth produces sprawl that makes Charlotte a much less user-friendly place (e.g. 77 at 5pm). New arrivals to Charlotte do have to live somewhere but a) a much larger portion of them could  be accommodated in the core portions of the city and b) the ones who choose a suburban lifestyle should be accommodated, but they need to pay the full cost of their choices (which includes the cost of congestion). They are not currently doing that.  Perhaps I am being an entitled a-hole by suggesting that everyone should pay their own way -- mea culpa, but somebody has gotta be the first to say that the status quo aint sustainable and then agitate for change.

4) We got our wires crossed on satellite town centers. I completely agree that we are better off focusing our new suburban development around places like downtown Matthews, Pineville etc. and linking those nodes by transit to the core. Where we diverge is in encouraging employment growth in those places -- job sprawl just stimulates residential sprawl and residential sprawl just makes us more like Atlanta -- a city that satisfies no one.

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Job sprawl is an interesting thing. Employers want to attract younger employees so they want to be near the city center to get them, but they also want to be near "family friendly" housing (senior management that has sway over office locations often have kids in high school or starting college). Many of our transplants come from crown jewels of walkability and transit, like New York City and Chicago, and moved here specifically to buy a single family home and have a shorter commute to Uptown Charlotte than they had from New Jersey or Long Island. Ballantyne is where a lot of them end up.

Whether folks currently in their 20's without children will stay in the city center or run for the suburbs once they have children is anybody's guess. I feel like most of the people I know starting families are moving to single family neighborhoods once they have a kid rather than staying in their apartment or condo near Uptown.  America as a whole has not transitioned to a place where families are living in city centers. Americans continue to select a home with a garage and big yard for the kids. People don't view living in an apartment/condo with kids as desirable and people are typically looking for a minimum of three bedrooms, often four, if they are a family of four. Then you have the school issue which continues to push people further and further out to areas like Union County and Fort Mill in the pursuit of what they consider "good" schools. What we can do better is have more people without kids living in the city center - rents are often so expensive that poorer millennials have no option but to find cheap apartments in the suburbs. City centers need to be appealing to multiple age groups as well, such as the 14.1% of Charlotte between the ages of 55 and 75 so that they move from the suburbs once their kids go to college... the hard thing is after 20 years of raising your kids in that house, it becomes "home" for many families (understandably).

The other issue with job sprawl is center city office square footage doesn't work for all industries. Hospitals are some of the biggest employers and they are located throughout the metro. You have manufacturing and distribution clusters throughout the periphery that aren't fit for a city center location. You will often see 485/85 in Northwest Charlotte back up in the morning as Gaston County and Huntersville commuters head for the manufacturing cluster of Southwest CLT. You have engineering companies that needs R&D labs and facilities that don't work in an office skyscraper - lots of those around University City and SW CLT. Most of the employers in Ballantyne could probably be located in Uptown Charlotte, but a lot of the other big jobs hubs are manufacturing, lab, health, and education based clusters located throughout the metro. How to connect those type of employment clusters to transit is a tough hurdle. 

Largest employers in CLT not located Uptown:

10,000 - 19,999 employees:
American Airlines, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Lowe's, Walmart

5,000 - 9,999 employees:
Daimler Trucks North America, Duke University City campus and plants (not Uptown office), Food Lion, Harris Teeter

3,000 - 4,999 employees:
AT&T North Carolina, Cabarrus County Schools, CaroMont Health, Compass Group, TIAA, Time Warner Cable, UNC-Charlotte, Gaston County Schools, Union County Schools

These are just a few of the largest employers contributing to sprawling employment and traffic on the roads. I could see TIAA being located Uptown and AT&T didn't need to move to the suburbs but they left Uptown. Many of the other big employers contributing to suburban commuting just don't fit in Uptown. Finding solutions for these types of employees to get to work without cars would do wonders. 

Edited by CLT2014
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2 hours ago, kermit said:

1) you can't change land use without a public and political consensus to do so. Building infrastructure in the absence of this consensus is just a waste. I do think my proposed first steps really are first steps. 

2) The current cost of living in Charlotte's core is only high because of a) the culture of our developers (and their perceptions of what the market wants) and b) our zoning (particularly with respect to parking requirements) and permitting which makes infill construction more expensive than it needs to be. These cultural conditions can't be changed without the attitude changes you dismissed. If consumers are willing to change their expectations about how much space they 'need' then there is no reason why high density growth can't be as cheap as suburban growth (with appropriate changes to zoning). IMO population growth makes it easier, not harder, to create more density. Look at Southend and tell me that changing mindsets about residential choice can't accommodate a healthy portion of Charlotte's growth.

3) "it's the growth that drives the sprawl that is responsible for all of the positive things in the city." You and I will have to disagree on this point. Growth is unquestionably good for Charlotte, however when that growth produces sprawl that makes Charlotte a much less user-friendly place (e.g. 77 at 5pm). New arrivals to Charlotte do have to live somewhere but a) a much larger portion of them could  be accommodated in the core portions of the city and b) the ones who choose a suburban lifestyle should be accommodated, but they need to pay the full cost of their choices (which includes the cost of congestion). They are not currently doing that.  Perhaps I am being an entitled a-hole by suggesting that everyone should pay their own way -- mea culpa, but somebody has gotta be the first to say that the status quo aint sustainable and then agitate for change.

4) We got our wires crossed on satellite town centers. I completely agree that we are better off focusing our new suburban development around places like downtown Matthews, Pineville etc. and linking those nodes by transit to the core. Where we diverge is in encouraging employment growth in those places -- job sprawl just stimulates residential sprawl and residential sprawl just makes us more like Atlanta -- a city that satisfies no one.

Would you mind sharing what you think is an appropriate amount of space someone 'needs' as you put it.  The reason I ask is if we're being honest it's not like many of the homes in areas like Dilworth and Elizabeth are on postage stamps.  I would also be interested if you consider these areas to provide a suburban or urban lifestyle because if you dropped someone off on the front yard after being blindfolded...it's not like it's easy to tell the difference.

It's also not like many of the new 'sprawl' homes are being built on large lots.  It's not uncommon for homes in these 'urban' areas to have .25 to .5 acre lots.  It's also not uncommon for new 'sprawl' developments to have lots half the size.  In fact, with most of what's being built, that is the standard.  

I would also be interested in where you think 'the city' ends and where 'the suburbs' begin.  

 

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We need business and office parks like Ballantyne and University Research Park as much as we need a strong vibrant uptown area. Some companies will look at both options suburban and downtown/uptown locations but many companies are looking at one or the other for various reasons. Uptown office space is the most expensive in the market and does not have parking ratios that some office users need. As for housing I am glad our center city neighborhoods are booming but again for many reasons chiefly price per square foot and public schools many intown neighborhoods are not an option for many families. We have a healthy center city area and we need good strong suburbs as well as options. That is the story of every great American city and it is not fair to compare us to Europe for instance. I have a friend in small village 30 miles outside of central London and his town is made up of commuters who want more space for their families and we all know how much transit London has to offer. To each their own that is what America is about. 

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On 8/21/2016 at 9:58 AM, hinsp0 said:

Yes.  There is a substantial shortage of hotel space in Ballantyne.  I work in the business park and I understand the the hotel project is likely to happen.

Urban geek who grew up in Elizabeth, currently lives next to Freedom Park, and now - ironically - works in Ballantyne after years of working in Uptown Charlotte and Penn Ave in DC.  When my firm relocated to Ballantyne, I was initially disappointed.  But, having been there for several years now, I'm pretty happy with the business park.  It's not as stale as many believe.  Lots of nice walking trails.  My main complaint is that a car trip is required to do almost anything in the area, and, aside from some areas of the business park, the Ballantyne area is not pedestrian friendly.

 

I'm curious if most of your co-workers are making commutes from neighborhoods close in to Uptown or if they live south of Fairview Road and beyond into South CLT, Fort Mill, and Union County? I don't work in Ballantyne but I'm wondering if the companies there tend to attract employees that live in the southern portion of the county. Is it more challenging for the firm to recruit young workers in Ballantyne?

Edited by CLT2014

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21 minutes ago, CLT2014 said:

I'm curious if most of your co-workers are making commutes from neighborhoods close in to Uptown or if they live south of Fairview Road and beyond into South CLT, Fort Mill, and Union County? I don't work in Ballantyne but I'm wondering if the companies there tend to attract employees that live in the southern portion of the county. Is it more challenging for the firm to recruit young workers in Ballantyne?

This question does not compute for me.  Maybe it's my age (I'm 39) but I read constantly that millennials are underemployed and have troubles finding jobs.  They are being paid less to start and are having trouble advancing because people are not retiring at the same rate as they used to.  

So if the above is true...just how does a millennial take the position of not only turing down a job because of the location but also wanting to live in a more expensive location that is farther away from job options?   Seems like a self inflicted wound.  

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5 minutes ago, cjd5050 said:

This question does not compute for me.  Maybe it's my age (I'm 39) but I read constantly that millennials are underemployed and have troubles finding jobs.  They are being paid less to start and are having trouble advancing because people are not retiring at the same rate as they used to.  

So if the above is true...just how does a millennial take the position of not only turing down a job because of the location but also wanting to live in a more expensive location that is farther away from job options?   Seems like a self inflicted wound.  

That's what I actually figured. That millennials will take a good job in Ballantyne and drive, even if they live in SouthEnd, or they might even live in Ballantyne. Are most of the people (of all ages) at your workplace residents of South Charlotte and do they like working in Ballantyne due to a shorter commute? or did the office move to Ballantyne extend many people's commutes and they wish they were still in Uptown? I know when I worked in banking Uptown, most people wished they could have been in the Ballantyne office and didn't like having to drive to Uptown or ride the light rail because most of them lived in South Charlotte and Union County. We actually lost some more experienced people to TIAA and MetLife when they opened Ballantyne offices and commute was a big factor.

Edited by CLT2014

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5 minutes ago, CLT2014 said:

That's what I actually figured. That millennials will take a good job in Ballantyne and drive, even if they live in SouthEnd, or they might even live in Ballantyne. Are most of the people (of all ages) at your workplace residents of South Charlotte and do they like working in Ballantyne due to a shorter commute? or did the office move to Ballantyne extend many people's commutes and they wish they were still in Uptown? I know when I worked in banking Uptown, most people wished they could have been in the Ballantyne office and didn't like having to drive to Uptown or ride the light rail because most of them lived in South Charlotte and Union County. We actually lost some more experienced people to TIAA and MetLife when they opened Ballantyne offices and commute was a big factor.

Not Hipsp0 so would love for him to answer.  Sorry to jump in.

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I know a millenial who lives in SouthEnd and commutes to Ballantyne and one in NoDA Plaza Midwood area that commutes to Huntersville. Both love their jobs and where they live.

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3 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

Would you mind sharing what you think is an appropriate amount of space someone 'needs' as you put it.  The reason I ask is if we're being honest it's not like many of the homes in areas like Dilworth and Elizabeth are on postage stamps.  I would also be interested if you consider these areas to provide a suburban or urban lifestyle because if you dropped someone off on the front yard after being blindfolded...it's not like it's easy to tell the difference.

It's also not like many of the new 'sprawl' homes are being built on large lots.  It's not uncommon for homes in these 'urban' areas to have .25 to .5 acre lots.  It's also not uncommon for new 'sprawl' developments to have lots half the size.  In fact, with most of what's being built, that is the standard.  

I would also be interested in where you think 'the city' ends and where 'the suburbs' begin. 

I am not at all interested in the question of how much space anyone thinks they need. People should be absolutely free to live in whatever environment they choose. My derisive tone about 'enough space' is driven by the heavy subsidies that suburban lifestyles receive and the market distortions that shift preferences -- suburban residents don't pay anywhere near the costs they impose on society. I am fine with an ocean of McMansions in Union county, as long as those people pay for a greater share of school, infrastructure, and public safety costs than people living in denser areas because it is much more expensive to service low-density. The biggest subsidy to suburban residents is transportation -- gas taxes pay for less than half of true road costs and this ratio is further imbalanced in low density areas. Combine that with the costs incurred to society from the suburban-driven expectation of free parking everywhere imposes huge involuntary costs (>$10,000 per dwelling unit) via zoning on people who may choose to live without a car.

I am in no way suggesting that we 'ban the burbs' or that everyone wants to live an urban lifestyle. However this is not an all or nothing choice -- we have plenty of space for both. However their are two massive flaws in our current land use system that unnecessarily increase our auto dependence and limit the ability of the masses from living in the core of the region. First, we need to stop subsidizing bad residential choices -- this means we need more rational accounting system for transportation and zoning decisions that account for both positive and negative externalities. This will include things like noise, emissions, public health effects as well as the tax efficiency of development around new transportation infrastructure. Second, we need a social and political system that invests in suburban and urban areas equitably -- since the burbs have seen upwards of 90% of public and private US investment since WWII its time for some substantial investment in our core areas. Once we fix those two problems we can begin to see the true preferences of Americans. At the moment the only visible phenomena are the results of a 75 year old, incredibly successful, social engineering project (the burbs).

To answer your last question, IMO the suburbs begin where residents begin to complain about the length of their commute. People should be able to choose to live where ever they want -- but if they decide to live far from work (or the store, or their kids schools) they need to quit beotching about the traffic as if they are entitled to roads of their own.

 

Edited by kermit
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Here is a Charlotte Chamber commuting time map to all the major employment centers in the Charlotte area and from this you can see where you could possibly get the biggest labor pool from which to draw. For example the University area is has a huge labor market within 30 minutes. Uptown Charlotte has a huge labor market but not as big as some of the others. http://charlotte.global/clientuploads/Economic_pdfs/DriveTime2015.pdf   

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16 hours ago, kermit said:

 

Just now, cjd5050 said:
16 hours ago, kermit said:

I am not at all interested in the question of how much space anyone needs. People should be absolutely free to live in whatever environment they prefer to live in. My derisive tone about 'enough space' is driven by the heavy subsidies that suburban lifestyles receive and the market distortions that result -- suburban residents don't pay anywhere near their true costs to society. I am fine with an ocean of McMansions in Union county, however those people need to pay for a greater share of school, infrastructure, and public safety because it is much more expensive to provide these services in low-density, single use areas. The biggest subsidy to suburban residents is transportation -- gas taxes pay for less than half of true road costs and this ratio is further imbalanced in low density areas. Combine that with the costs incurred to society from the suburban-driven expectation of free parking everywhere imposes huge involuntary costs (>$10,000 per dwelling unit) via zoning on people who may choose to live without a car.

I am in no way suggesting that we 'ban the burbs' or that everyone wants to live an urban lifestyle. However this is not a binary choice, we have plenty of space for both. However their are two massive flaws in our current land use system that unnecessarily increase our auto dependence and limit the ability of the masses from living in the core of the region. First, we need to stop subsidizing bad residential choices -- this means we need more rational accounting system for transportation and zoning decisions that account for both positive and negative externalities. This will include things like noise, emissions, public health effects as well as the tax efficiency of development around new transportation infrastructure. Second, we need a social and political system that invests in suburban and urban areas equitably -- since the burbs have seen upwards of 90% of public and private US investment since WWII its time for some substantial investment in our core areas. Once we fix those two problems we can begin to see the true preferences of Americans. At the moment all we can see are the results of a 75 year old social engineering project (the burbs)that we adopted following WWII.

To answer your last question, IMO the suburbs begin where residents begin to complain about the length of their commute. People should be able to choose to live where ever they want -- but if they decide to live far from work (or the store, or their kids schools) they need to quit beotching about the traffic as if they are entitled to roads of their own

So let me see if I understand your eutopia.  Because you have a very unique view on what an American city should be.

You want to confine employment centers to a singular center for the region against having multiple employment centers around the region. You're against these even after it's been pointed out that it's 1) Most employers don't locate in high rise office space 2) Most companies can't afford to pay the rent even if they wanted to and 3) Most companies simply don't have operations that are suited for that type of office space.  You do this absent of recognizing the economic realities of a growing region that needs to maintain diversity in employment to continue on an upward trajectory.  

You define the suburbs at the point where someone starts to complain about their commute.  Absent of recognizing that many of the homes in Dilworth, Myers Park and Elizabeth are on large lots and are car-dependent.  

You have issue with the lack of population density in these newer areas.  Regardless of the example that the zip code 28206 (home to NoDa) -  has a population density of 1826 people square/mile, whereas, the zip code 28277 (home to big bad Ballantyne) has a population density of 2640 people square/mile.  Obviously NoDa is seeing a turn over and the density will change but that is being helped by the investment in mass transportation.  

Speaking of this, you have issue with your taxes being spent on transportation projects that you do not use but do not seem to have issue with taxes being spent on public transportation that not only expands connectivity but also delivers astronomical increases in property values.  You have issues with new roads being built with tax funds today but seem to disregard that all roads were at one point built with tax funds. You also seem to disregard interstate commerce and the operational needs of employers and manufactures that have trouble scoping out loading docks on the 20th floor of an office tower.  

You want to stop bad residential choices from being made, I am assuming that means the development of new 'McMansions' but don't have issues with the Mansions built 40+ years ago.  It's gracious of you to have found it in your heart to forgive bad residential choices previously made in developing the first and second ring areas of Charlotte.  Maybe there is an expiration date on your outrage?  

Do I have it right?  

Edited by cjd5050
grr formatting

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17 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

Not Hipsp0 so would love for him to answer.  Sorry to jump in.

We're a small company formerly based in Southpark.  We largely moved to Ballantyne because of the quality of the available office space, price per square foot, and convenience to ourselves and our clients of not having to park in decks and go through security (I'm specifically referring to the lobby security present in some of the uptown towers, having to check in at a security desk, and having to have an ID card/pass to access elevator banks).  We also considered moving to another location in Southpark as well as a location on Morehead Street.  

Our workers commute from Freedom Park, Providence County Club, Mint Hill, Southwest Charlotte, Stanley, and Chester County SC.  Pretty dispersed.  I hear from the folks who commute from Mint Hill and Stanley that their commutes to Ballantyne are frequently worse than to our former Southpark location, mainly because they have to tackle 485.  Our millennial (something funny about saying that in the possessive) used to live uptown, but bought a single-family home recently in Southwest Charlotte.  

We've been doing some recruiting recently and the only candidate we interviewed and who expressed concern about commuting to Ballantyne is not a millennial and lives in Huntersville.  We recently interviewed a millennial who lives uptown and expressed no concern about the commute.

If we were a larger company, my input might be more informative. 

From my perspective, I would love to be located on Morehead Street or a similar location just outside of 277.  Those locations offer convenience in terms of parking, a lack of security hassles, and easy access to locations inside 277.  Although my commute to our former Southpark office took 5 to 10 minutes, depending on whether or not I hit the lights at park and Woodlawn and park and fairview, I actually prefer Ballantyne Corporate Park to the former location off Fairview.  While Ballantyne isn't terribly pedestrian friendly, Fairview is god awful from a pedestrian standpoint.  At least in the Ballantyne Corporate Park, I can get out and walk the trail system and not fear for my life because of heavy vehicle traffic.  Also, I can make a quick trip to South Carolina for lower-taxed gas and alcohol (although 521 is getting more congested).

My primary criticisms of Ballantyne include:  (1) the hassle of being dependent on my car to do anything outside of the Corporate Park; (2) the time it takes me to go into the uptown area to meet a client or to meet a friend for lunch or coffee; and (3) the fact that it isn't 5 minutes from my house.  Overall, however, relocating to Ballantyne and reverse commuting have been reasonably pleasant experiences.  I love where I live, strongly like my profession, and like the location of my office.  Clients also seem to have an easier time finding our Ballantyne office.

i hope this response addressed the questions.

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Thanks for your response! It is interesting to learn how different companies and firms make a decision to lease or build office space, even if anecdotal. 

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19 minutes ago, hinsp0 said:

i hope this response addressed the questions.

Thanks for this.

It does answer a lot.  It also makes me sad because it's obvious that Ballantyne missed the mark in so many areas.  I think the picture below is a perfect example of this.

My hope is that at some point in the future this gets redeveloped.  Parking lots eventually replaced with parking ramps, mixed use buildings and the like.  Maybe if the River District can find a way to show it can be done that will move the dial?

 

Screenshot 2016-08-24 08.57.50.png

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15 minutes ago, cjd5050 said:

Thanks for this.

It does answer a lot.  It also makes me sad because it's obvious that Ballantyne missed the mark in so many areas.  I think the picture below is a perfect example of this.

My hope is that at some point in the future this gets redeveloped.  Parking lots eventually replaced with parking ramps, mixed use buildings and the like.  Maybe if the River District can find a way to show it can be done that will move the dial?

 

Screenshot 2016-08-24 08.57.50.png

Reimagining this district will be tough. It can be done though. It can definitely be done. Next time I have free time I might redesign it with the existing buildings taken into consideration.

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56 minutes ago, cjd5050 said:

So let me see if I understand your eutopia.  Because you have a very unique view on what an American city should be.

You want to confine employment centers to a singular center for the region against having multiple employment centers around the region. You're against these even after it's been pointed out that it's 1) Most employers don't locate in high rise office space 2) Most companies can't afford to pay the rent even if they wanted to and 3) Most companies simply don't have operations that are suited for that type of office space.  You do this absent of recognizing the economic realities of a growing region that needs to maintain diversity in employment to continue on an upward trajectory.  

You define the suburbs at the point where someone starts to complain about their commute.  Absent of recognizing that many of the homes in Dilworth, Myers Park and Elizabeth are on large lots and are car-dependent.  

You have issue with the lack of population density in these newer areas.  Regardless of the example that the zip code 28206 (home to NoDa) -  has a population density of 1826 people square/mile, whereas, the zip code 28277 (home to big bad Ballantyne) has a population density of 2640 people square/mile.  Obviously NoDa is seeing a turn over and the density will change but that is being helped by the investment in mass transportation.  

Speaking of this, you have issue with your taxes being spent on transportation projects that you do not use but do not seem to have issue with taxes being spent on public transportation that not only expands connectivity but also delivers astronomical increases in property values.  You have issues with new roads being built with tax funds today but seem to disregard that all roads were at one point built with tax funds. You also seem to disregard interstate commerce and the operational needs of employers and manufactures that have trouble scoping out loading docks on the 20th floor of an office tower.  

You want to stop bad residential choices from being made, I am assuming that means the development of new 'McMansions' but don't have issues with the Mansions built 40+ years ago.  It's gracious of you to have found it in your heart to forgive bad residential choices previously made in developing the first and second ring areas of Charlotte.  Maybe there is an expiration date on your outrage?  

Do I have it right?  

Yea, you basically have my perspective pegged. But since you appear to be 'repackaging' my ideas let me offer a few points of clarification:

1) I never said we should nuke existing satellite emplyment centers, but were certainly should not do anything to encourage their expansion (and this includes the permissive zoning that enabled Ballantyne). The Charlotte economic has evolved since the 1980s when all economic development was predicated on minimizing costs.  Call-center type jobs have zero (and probably negative) economic benefit to Charlotte (if you look at relative wage data for Charlotte you can see it has consistently declined since 1997). A strong analytical argument could be made that the costs imposed by 100 new call center type jobs in Charlotte from congestion would likely outweigh any direct or indirectsts  economic benefits to the city. If these companies want to come to Charlotte, fine, but our zoning system should be set up in a way that encourages / requires them to repurpose an existing building rather than build greenfield space on the fringes of the city. In addition these buildings should be taxed at a rate that recovers the true costs of providing municipal services to them. If these firms can't find space in Charlotte then they will find a warm welcome create in Greensboro or Spartanburg (and they will bring bigger benefits to those communities).

2) I don't understand your quibble with my definition of suburb. Auto reliance is about much more than just lot size (a mix of uses is a much bigger factor in walk/bike ability). 

3) that is a fair point about density, however my concer is based on the willingness of a neighborhood to densify and mix land uses. While Btyne may be more dense based on aggregate data there is absoulutely no prospect of building infil or adding neighborhood business there -- that is not the case in the intown hoods where will will see (based on the Southend example) huge increases in demsity as we extend appropriate infrastructure there.

4) my issue with transportation taxes is unrealted to my use of them. I support transporation investments for projects that stimulate dense economic development, improve access to our core and make the city more sustainable and resilient. I do not support investment in projects that generate disamenities such as noise, sprawl and degrade public health by decreasing walkability. I am also against transportation "investments" which are temporary bandaids at best (the law of traffic generation tells us that every highway improvement is merely a bandaid -- its impossible to pave your way out of congestion). While its certainly true that all roads are build with tax dollars relying on funds other than user fees introduces profound inequities that perpetuate our auto dependence.

5) mcmansions -- shrug. I don't care if people live in Mcmansions, as long as they pay their full costs -- something they are not currently doing.

6) clearly we disagree, but this isn't a dissertation defense. I am not really sure what the point of this exchange is any longer.

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28 minutes ago, ricky_davis_fan_21 said:

Reimagining this district will be tough. It can be done though. It can definitely be done. Next time I have free time I might redesign it with the existing buildings taken into consideration.

I would love to see that!  

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1 minute ago, kermit said:

Yea, you basically have my perspective pegged. But since you appear to be 'repackaging' my ideas let me offer a few points of clarification:

1) I never said we should nuke existing satellite emplyment centers, but were certainly should not do anything to encourage their expansion (and this includes the permissive zoning that enabled Ballantyne). The Charlotte economic has evolved since the 1980s when all economic development was predicated on minimizing costs.  Call-center type jobs have zero (and probably negative) economic benefit to Charlotte (if you look at relative wage data for Charlotte you can see it has consistently declined since 1997). A strong analytical argument could be made that the costs imposed by 100 new call center type jobs in Charlotte from congestion would likely outweigh any direct or indirectsts  economic benefits to the city. If these companies want to come to Charlotte, fine, but our zoning system should be set up in a way that encourages / requires them to repurpose an existing building rather than build greenfield space on the fringes of the city. In addition these buildings should be taxed at a rate that recovers the true costs of providing municipal services to them. If these firms can't find space in Charlotte then they will find a warm welcome create in Greensboro or Spartanburg (and they will bring bigger benefits to those communities).

2) I don't understand your quibble with my definition of suburb. Auto reliance is about much more than just lot size (a mix of uses is a much bigger factor in walk/bike ability). 

3) that is a fair point about density, however my concer is based on the willingness of a neighborhood to densify and mix land uses. While Btyne may be more dense based on aggregate data there is absoulutely no prospect of building infil or adding neighborhood business there -- that is not the case in the intown hoods where will will see (based on the Southend example) huge increases in demsity as we extend appropriate infrastructure there.

4) my issue with transportation taxes is unrealted to my use of them. I support transporation investments for projects that stimulate dense economic development, improve access to our core and make the city more sustainable and resilient. I do not support investment in projects that generate disamenities such as noise, sprawl and degrade public health by decreasing walkability. I am also against transportation "investments" which are temporary bandaids at best (the law of traffic generation tells us that every highway improvement is merely a bandaid -- its impossible to pave your way out of congestion). While its certainly true that all roads are build with tax dollars relying on funds other than user fees introduces profound inequities that perpetuate our auto dependence.

5) mcmansions -- shrug. I don't care if people live in Mcmansions, as long as they pay their full costs -- something they are not currently doing.

6) clearly we disagree, but this isn't a dissertation defense. I am not really sure what the point of this exchange is any longer.

I think that while we actually agree on many things, the primary difference in opinions stems from you wanting to take an absolute position, whereas, I would rather work with what exists and try to unfold it to a desirable outcome.

Re: Satellite Employment centers:  These are not all call center jobs, and as many have posted, they are actually a solid mix of all incomes.  That said, even for those call center jobs I would love to see your data on how this type of employment is not of value.  

As for the requirement of new companies coming to the area redeveloping rather than building new, just what requirements do you suggest for companies that are currently here that do not meet your standards?  Or is this another example of 'they got theirs and the rest be damned'?   I am not even going to touch your suggestion that companies be pushed to Greensboro or Spartanburg because they don't fit your eutopia.  That's just silly in my opinion.  

Re: Definition of suburb:  My point on this is the majority of Charlotte is suburbs.  Proximity to Trade and Tryon does not remove the fact that many of the so called 'urban' areas close to uptown are nothing more than old suburbs.  They require a car to live there.  They require a massive amount of roads to move people around.  They have a much worse use of land than many of the new developments going up.   The only difference is their proximity to Uptown.  An example of this is people seem to look past that the Park Road Shopping center is nothing more than a strip mall in a sea of parking but somehow can wag their finger at Blakeney.  

Re: As for your support of taxes for things that only you want...I suggest you first read a book on civics and then if you can't find a way to see that living in a community requires give and take..together...you should either a) purchase your own island or b) play out your eutopia in SimCity. 

 

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1 hour ago, cjd5050 said:

Re: As for your support of taxes for things that only you want...I suggest you first read a book on civics and then if you can't find a way to see that living in a community requires give and take..together...you should either a) purchase your own island or b) play out your eutopia in SimCity. 

 

Dude, this is a complete mischaracterisation of what I said. I am fully in support of taxes that generate a high triple bottom line ROI, it has nothing to do with what I want. Volumes of research tells us that highway investments are negative tbl ROI. Where did my preferences enter into that discussion?

As to the civics book suggestion. First I think it's a bit inappropriate (and ironic given your past posts) to question background and expertise since we are discussing opinions. Suffice it to say I have read plenty. What I eventually took away from them is the realization that people who drive a lot (suburbanites) are doing much more damage to our civic commons than people who are less auto dependant. I am arguing for us to price that damage more directly and transparently than we chose to now. 

 

The mechanism for limiting job sprawl is much stricter zoning. A greenbelt (it's too late) or simple regional zoning that forces large scale employers into the core is very comon.

Edited by kermit
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11 minutes ago, kermit said:

Dude, this is a complete mischaracterisation of what I said. I am fully in support of taxes that generate a high triple bottom line ROI, it has nothing to do with what I want, highway investments are negative ROI.

More later...

So you want to encourage dense development around mass transit in existing areas that funnel people to office jobs that with rent prices dictate a higher barrier to entry...while at the same time...suggesting that call center jobs have no place in Charlotte.  

Makes a lot of sense unless you realize that that desirable development instantly prices out the lower income brackets from finding suitable housing but even if they found 10 roommates to rent, they could then have the option of commuting via light rail to jobs that they can't get because they don't qualify for.  

Ya, your plan will do wonders for the unemployment rate and the ability to escape poverty via home ownership and access to wages, benefits and job security.  Or do you just plan to ship all of those people to Greensboro or Spartanburg so you have more room at the latest tap room or raman shop next to the light rail?  

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Gezzus, you are the king of the cherrypickers. TOD in and of itself need not be expensive. Our current zoning generally requires unnecessary things in tod like parking, more thoughtful urban design (e.g. walkable environments which are transit accessible) is capable of giving us affordable TOD living (which you can read all about in my comments up thread). Once you remove auto costs from the housing equation urban living can be cost competitive with the burbs.

While we are discussing reading comprehension my other large point has been that even cheap suburban housing is going to become cost prohibitive to middle and lower class folks as economic forces (like growing congestion) make that environment much more costly. Your devotion to that model is just reshuffling deck chairs.

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