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cityboi

proposed downtown Greensboro performing arts center

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Greensboro city leaders and the GPAC task force took a visit to Durham's performing arts center (DPAC) to get an idea of what a performing arts center in downtown Greensboro could be like. The center would host national touring Broadway shows, plays, concerts with big name performers, comedy acts, opera, orchestra and other events. currently such events are being hosted at the War Memorial Auditorium at the Greensboro Coliseum but over the years, Greensboro has been losing out to other cities in hosting more high profile events because the Auditorium is outdated. The task force will also visit the PAC in Dayton, Ohio. The group would also like to build a facility in downtown Greensboro that's architecturally significant. Two properties stand out for the facility. The News & Record lot across from the depot and a large triangular shaped piece of property on North Elm next to the office towers and the Bellemeade Parking deck.

http://www.news-reco...e_visits_durham

Durham Performing Arts Center

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Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio

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Edited by cityboi

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I pulled up an old rendering from 2001 for a proposed performing arts center which included an 18 story office tower. Action Greensboro's planned called for a venue similar to Charlotte's which is also attached to an office tower. Of course this was planned in 2001 before 911 and the economic downturn. But I see no reason why a mixed use tower with luxury apartments and a small amount of office space can't be built with this project. It would actually make it even more financially feasible. Even today I think this is a nice tower for Greensboro. Its sleek with its curve and has a lot of glass.

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Edited by cityboi

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But I see no reason why a mixed use tower with luxury apartments and a small amount of office space can't be built with this project.

Lack of demand maybe?

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Lack of demand maybe?

Actually there is demand for downtown apartments. There is a waiting list to get into CityView and the new building that hasn't opened yet is nearly fully leased. The problem is that developers are building outward instead of upward. A developer could easily build a tower with a modest 100 apartments and a small amount of office or retail space. I understand a tower wouldn't make much since in Southside but there are other vacant properties downtown closer to the more dense towers that would be great for a high-rise apartment building. Downtown doesn't have a high-rise apartment building and I think that alone would set it apart from CityView, Greensborough Courts and the Greenway at Fisher Park. I'm sure there are plently of people who want to live high up. In fact, it would be smart to build a high-rise apartment building near Elon University Law School in the heart of downtown. There are not too many residential high-rise options in Greensboro. With exception to a few assistant living residential towers, There are only two condo towers in Greensboro. Center Pointe and the Hampshire less than a mile north of downtown off of Wendover Ave.

Here is the 14-story Hampshire. It rarely gets mentioned on the forums and some people not from the area isn't even aware that it exists. Its an older tower, (built in 1963) but its Greensboro's first high-rise condo building. Its on North Elm Street north of Fisher Park and less than a mile from downtown. The building resembles the Cabrini Green apartments in Chicago which were used as the back drop for the 1970s sitcom "Good Times".

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Here is the Gateway Plaza Building downtown. Its an assistant living/public housing facility. Its one of the ugly buildings downtown because of the crazy paint job. It was completely white and some body thought it was a good idea to paint that ugly brown pattern on the building. Its a big eye sore located in the south end of downtown near the historical district.

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Hall Tower located on the north side of Greensboro near Golden Gate Shopping Center.

Its another assistant living facility/public housing building

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Then there is Center Pointe. The only real tower anyone would want to live in.

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I forgot about the two 10-story high-rise dorms at UNCG hidden behind the trees. For years I didn't know they existed. Architecturally, they are horrible.

http://www.emporis.c...26484-Large.jpg

University Square (below) is located on the western edge of downtown. It use to be the old Hilton hotel and today its student housing. Winston-Salem has an almost identical building but its not quite as tall.

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Edited by cityboi

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AMS planning and research released its feasibility report to the city of Greensboro on the downtown performing arts center.

AMS said Greensboro:

- Could support a downtown facility comfortably between 2,500 and 2,800 seats.

- There would be at least 160 performances a year, with a diverse mix of community and local arts productions, touring Broadway shows, concerts, lectures and special performances. Projected annual attendance would exceed 300,000.

- The facility would not compete with local arts organizations, and in fact would strengthen existing community assets. The study projects that local arts groups would conduct nearly 60 performances (and 76 rehearsals) a year in the new facility.

- Ticket sales and usage fees would ensure the facility would be at least self-­-sustaining, and likely generate an operating profit of more than $500,000 after its third year of operation.

- The direct and indirect economic impact of a downtown performing arts center would be more than $7 million

annually. This reflects jobs that would be created and the

spending of visitors on things such as parking, meals

and other entertainment.

- The facility would be a regional PAC for the Triad and draw people from even further for larger shows.

for more details on the report click on the link.

http://www.digtriad.... to Council.pdf

City Council also voted tonight to move forward with the process. Councilwoman Diane Bellamy Small supports a new PAC at the coliseum to replace War Memorial Auditorium. Her reason is pretty clear. The coliseum is in her district.

Edited by cityboi

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There are rumors on the blogs that the Bryan Foundation could be a major player in funding the downtown performing arts center. The Bryan Foundation funded the downtown ballpark which it currently owns. But now the foundation is getting ready to sell it to the owners of the Greensboro Grasshoppers. The sale would allow the Joseph M Bryan Foundation to fund other projects like a performing arts center for example. The timing of all this is raising some eyebrows. Former mayor and president of the foundation, Jim Melvin said the foundation wont contribute to the performing arts center but he said that about the ballpark and they ended up funding the whole thing. My guess is that he is seeing if the bond passes in November first. After all you wouldn't want to let on that you are going to dish out millions to build something if the taxpayers decide they want to build this. Mayor Robbie Perkins has this attitude of certainty that this performing arts center is going to get built. The city is also buying the YWCA property which just happens to be one of the sites identified for the downtown performing arts center.

http://www.bizjourna...t-on-bryan.html

Edited by cityboi

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Actually there is demand for downtown apartments. There is a waiting list to get into CityView and the new building that hasn't opened yet is nearly fully leased. The problem is that developers are building outward instead of upward. A developer could easily build a tower with a modest 100 apartments and a small amount of office or retail space. I understand a tower wouldn't make much since in Southside but there are other vacant properties downtown closer to the more dense towers that would be great for a high-rise apartment building. Downtown doesn't have a high-rise apartment building and I think that alone would set it apart from CityView, Greensborough Courts and the Greenway at Fisher Park. I'm sure there are plently of people who want to live high up. In fact, it would be smart to build a high-rise apartment building near Elon University Law School in the heart of downtown. There are not too many residential high-rise options in Greensboro. With exception to a few assistant living residential towers, There are only two condo towers in Greensboro. Center Pointe and the Hampshire less than a mile north of downtown off of Wendover Ave.10735_153169495070_540905070_4066043_1174504_n.jpg

Doesn't Center Pointe have a high vacancy rate? That would mean there's a lack of demand for that sort of development.

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Doesn't Center Pointe have a high vacancy rate? That would mean there's a lack of demand for that sort of development.

The difference is that Center Pointe is a condo complex. Condos aren't selling well in the center-city but rentals are in high demand. This is why we are seeing a spike in downtown apartment projects. People want to live downtown, but in today's economy, they don't want to take the risk in buying. There is much less risk in renting.

Edited by cityboi

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The city is exploring other ways of helping to pay for a downtown performing arts center. The original plan was to use $30 bond money with the voters approval along with private money and hotel motel tax. Voters twice turned down a bond to renovate War Memorial Auditorium at the coliseum. A ticket tax is one solution. However its unclear if the door will be completely shut on some public money. This is good news because this increases the likelihood of the center getting built. Projections for a downtown performing arts center has gone as little as $50 and as high as $70 million. It would likely be somewhere in the middle. A feasibility report said Greensboro could support a venue over 3,000 seats which would make it the largest performing arts center in North Carolina. One thing is for sure. There is enough support for a downtown performing arts center that there shouldn't be any problem raising even more private dollars. A lot of people in the community are pushing for the center. Quite frankly it would be the biggest economic generator in downtown Greensboro and would do more for downtown than the ballpark. Many of the shows would attract people from all over the region including the Charlotte and Raleigh areas. It would attract people from far away who otherwise would have no reason to come to downtown Greensboro. Its really exciting to have Broadway shows, famous music artists and actors performing in downtown Greensboro. This helps the restaurants and other entertainment venues in downtown Greensboro. Ultimately it will attract more investment in the center-city.

But word is the amount of private money that will be committed to this could be rather substantial which is probably why the PAC task force is recommending to city council to take the $30 million bond of the table.

http://www.news-reco...rts_center_bond

"The level of interest from private donors is off the charts," said Sanders. However, he declined to say how much money might be raised and what donors have already privately committed."

http://www.99blocksm...-the-table.aspx

Edited by cityboi

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The difference is that Center Pointe is a condo complex. Condos aren't selling well in the center-city but rentals are in high demand. This is why we are seeing a spike in downtown apartment projects. People want to live downtown, but in today's economy, they don't want to take the risk in buying. There is much less risk in renting.

I gotcha, but it's probably the office part that makes it less feasible. What was the last office highrise to be built downtown?

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I gotcha, but it's probably the office part that makes it less feasible. What was the last office highrise to be built downtown?

The last big office towers were built in 1990. There have been some smaller office projects (between 3 and 5 stories) since. Most recently the Carolina Bank headquarters.

I agree, I don't think downtown or any part of the city is ready for a large amount of office space. But I think what can make it feasible is a mixed-use project that includes a small amount of office space, maybe between 10,000 and 30,000 square feet with mostly apartments. Mixing residential with office is an incentive for companies to move into that office space because some of its workers could live in the same building. Downtown's office vacancy rates have been dropping over the past several years, mainly because of projects like Center Pointe that have taken a lot of vacant office space off the downtown market. But 200,000 square feet of new class A office space is unlikely in downtown Greensboro for a while unless some large company locates its headquarters in downtown Greensboro.

Edited by cityboi

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http://myfox8.com/20...first-proposal/

A preferred location for the proposed downtown Greensboro Performing Arts Center has been announced and the design has been revealed. This is the design plan for a $41 million, 3,200-seat theater on a block bound by North Elm and Lindsay streets. It would be the largest performing arts center in the Carolinas. Other downtown locations are still being considered but It appears the North Elm site a block north of Center-City Park is the preferred location and for good reason. The city's largest parking deck, which is 8-stories, is located on the opposite corner of the site. The site is also surrounded by some of the office towers. The design is very impressive and its a nice to see a sleek contemporary design. Much of whats been built in downtown Greensboro over the last several years have been early 20th century retro designs.

This facility would have 700 more seats than the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia. It would have 1,100 more seats than the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in uptown Charlotte. GPAC would have a curtain system that can transform the space into a 1,500-seat theater for smaller events. Even though this would be downtown, I'm glad coliseum director Matt Brown and his staff will be running this venue. He has a track record of luring big events to the Greensboro Coliseum. The performing arts center will host major Broadway productions, famous music artists/concerts, traveling shows such as cirque du soleil and Spiderman, Greensboro orchestra, and more. Still the sticking point will be financing. $13 million in private donations have already been pledged and that was before seeing any renderings. Council did lower the bond figure from $30 million to $20 million and they are still looking for other funding opportunities just in case the voters turn the $20 million down. One idea that was brought up was charging an extra dollar tax for events at the coliseum to help pay for this downtown venue then there is a ticket tax proposed for the PAC itself. What is clearly off the table is a certificates of participation bond which would not require voter approval. This is how Durham primarily funded DPAC. Greensboro City Council believes the people should have a say if their tax dollars are being used. The scope of this venue is much larger than War Memorial Auditorium. The GPAC would be attracting shows that would draw people from other metros in the state. Some of the facilities like the PAC in Charlotte wasn't really designed for some of these very large non musical events which gives Greensboro the upper hand. But city council needs to have back up financing plans because it would be a real let down to see renderings like this and the whole thing falls apart. One downside to revealing specific sites this early is that it may lead to jacked up real estate prices which adds to the cost purchasing land.

It was also announced today that the city forced the Greensboro Inn Motel adjacent to the PAC site to close. The motel has attracted all sorts of crime including prostitution and drug dealing. The owners of the Greensboro Inn plan to convert that property into retail, restaurants and maybe a Starbuck's. But based on the plans below the owners would have to sell because this PAC takes up the entire 5 acre block. Basically the city look at every thing Durham did and tried to do it better. The sight lines in the proposed PAC are also better.

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http://www.news-reco...esigns_unveiled

see floor plans and more renderings here

http://www.greensbor...ocumentid=15278

Comparison with the Durham Performing Arts Center which opened several years ago. DPAC is currently the largest performing arts center in the state.

Total seat count (Greensboro) 3,205

Total seat count (Durham) 2,741

seats in orchestra pit (Greensboro) 42

seats in orchestra pit (Durham) 29

orchestra level seats (Greensboro) 2,642

orchestra level seats (Durham) 1,391

first balcony (Greensboro) 521

first balcony (Durham) 519

lobby area (Greensboro) 24,650 Sq Ft

lobby area (Durham) 17,125 Sq Ft

total stage width (Greensboro) 120 Ft

total stage width (Durham) 114 Ft

Edited by cityboi

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From the rendering, the design doesn't necessarily jump out at me but I'll reserve judgment until more detailed renderings are released. But as usual, Greensboro is aiming for having the largest venue of its type in the state and it typically does well with those. This will definitely be a pretty big venue.

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I'm not feelin' it. Makes for an awful lot of surface parking along Lindsay considering the Wrangler building across the street. This design looks like it could be plopped down on the Coliseum campus without any changes. Wonder if that's intentional.

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I'm not feelin' it. Makes for an awful lot of surface parking along Lindsay considering the Wrangler building across the street. This design looks like it could be plopped down on the Coliseum campus without any changes. Wonder if that's intentional.

I agree with the parking. Coliseum director said on site parking is needed but I disagree. That's certainly not the case with the ballpark and it has more than twice as many seats than the proposed performing arts center. Also there is a large parking deck across from the site so I'm baffled as to why the city feels there needs to be a parking lot behind the building. There may be some hope. I love the design but the city says the rendering is "conceptual" which mean we could see slight changes in architecture and layout. The city would be missing out on an opportunity for mixed-use development if they add that parking lot. Coliseum director Matt Brown will be managing the downtown venue.

Edited by cityboi

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From the rendering, the design doesn't necessarily jump out at me but I'll reserve judgment until more detailed renderings are released. But as usual, Greensboro is aiming for having the largest venue of its type in the state and it typically does well with those. This will definitely be a pretty big venue.

I thinking the design could be a little more inspiring particularly the interior. However when you look at performing arts centers across the country, the design is impressive compared to most. Most have very bland and dull architecture. At least Greensboro is aiming for something unusual from the typical architecture style Greensboro is accustom to. Believe it or not, the architecture of this PAC jumps out more than any performing arts center in the state. The PACs in Charlotte, Raleigh look ordinary. Durham's is a little more impressive than Charlotte and Raleigh but it still looks a little plain. But if they can improve on Greensboro's design that would be great. I think Greensboro should aim to have a facility that could potentially win architectural awards. The architecture alone could help draw people to the facility. If people have a great experience, they will come back. "If you build it they will come" seems to work well in Greensboro. The city has always had success in large entertainment and sports venues. A 3,200 seat PAC would continue to prove that. The Greensboro Coliseum is now the largest arena in the state and its size has paid off attracting large high profile events.

Edited by cityboi

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I thinking the design could be a little more inspiring. However when you look at performing arts centers across the country, the design is impressive compared to most. Most have very bland and dull architecture. At least Greensboro is aiming for something unusual from the typical style Greensboro is accustom to.

I agree that not many PAC's are groundbreaking in terms of architecture, but from this preliminary rendering, it looks similar to a suburban office building, and the surface parking doesn't help with that.

I actually wonder if Greensboro should take a more classical approach to the architecture here, like Forth Worth did with its Bass Performance Hall (designed by David M. Schwarz):

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Architectural style has been a part of the conversation in the community. Should we go ultra modern or historical? The powers to be in Greensboro seem to be aiming for something sleek and modern. The Fort Worth PAC is impressive considering that its difficult to pull off a historically designed facility that's architecturally inspiring these days. Often these "retro designs" don't look authentic. Either style could work on the proposed site. Yes there are modern skyscrapers across the street but there is the Greensboro historical museum just east of the site which has a more classical style of architecture. Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone. The PAC may end up not having a parking lot (a good thing) or it may wind up in another location downtown particularly if cost becomes an issue. The proposed site in the rendering is the most expensive of all the eight downtown sites being looked at. The city would have to break up five parcels to make it fit here.

There could be a solution to the parking situation. One task force member said if there has to be on site parking, build it underground with retail and restaurants above it on the surface. The purpose for the on site parking is to increase the revenue for the facility. It would be premium parking that would bring in at least $500,000 a year.

Edited by cityboi

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The design plan looks ok, but I expect (and hope) they will tinker with it more before the final draft. As for the huge "asphalt jungle" parking lot. Scrap IT! PLEASE! Partiner with a nice hotel chain and bulid a combo deck and hotel. I am past ready for the Marott to have some competition!

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The design plan looks ok, but I expect (and hope) they will tinker with it more before the final draft. As for the huge "asphalt jungle" parking lot. Scrap IT! PLEASE! Partiner with a nice hotel chain and bulid a combo deck and hotel. I am past ready for the Marott to have some competition!

I think there is a market for an upscale downtown hotel which the downtown Marriott is not. The Wyndham Hotel is still on hold and it would be right across the street if the performing arts center if it is built on the News & Record lot. The hotel was planned to be 10-stories but it could end up being 12 or 14-stories if they build the hotel on top of a parking deck which they are now considering. I would like to see it go taller. Maybe a hotel/luxury apartment combo.

As far as the PAC design, the rendering is kinda rough. I would imagine there would be more architectural detail and some design elements will change. I love the over all concept though. Coliseum Director Matt Brown said of the design "Its a work in progress". But even if its built as is, it would still be one of the better designed performing art centers in the country. Most are very dull buildings and the only ones that really are inspiring are the ones built in places like China or Dubai.

Some have suggested this performing arts center would have a negative effect on Triad Stage and the Carolina Theatre. I don't think it really would. Triad Stage host events for 300 people. Events like that would not likely be held in a 3,200 seat facility. Th Carolina Theatre seat under 2,000 so it may effect some events there because there will be a curtain in the PAC that will reduce the seat to 1,500 for smaller events. But the biggest difference is that the PAC will host high profile events along with the Greensboro symphony orchestra. Those kind of events would not be held in the Carolina Theatre even without a downtown PAC. The Carolina Theatre would continue to host events similar to the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem and the old theater will still have movie night showing old black and white movies.

Edited by cityboi

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Task force report June 19 2012

http://www.greensbor...ocumentid=15365

It looks like the rendering that was reveal was more of a concept than a final rendering. City Council wants to slow the process down and put this on the bond for Spring of 2013 instead of rushing to get this on the bond in November 2012. This is actually a great thing because it allows more time to raise private dollars and for the community to get this right. The task force has private commitments for $15 million as of today. The Performing arts center will likely cost around $60 million once you include purchasing land. However, one site the city already owns so that would lower the cost if that site were chosen. In the end there were too many questions that needed to be answered and it just wasn't a good idea to blindly vote to put $30 million on a bond this November without fulling understanding other ways that can help pay for this such as using motel hotel tax, a ticket tax and naming rights. The task force has put together some interesting concepts which are better than the rendering that was revealed the other week. A couple of council members want to build it at the coliseum. The coliseum is in one of those council person's district. Private donors said they will only commit their money to this if its built downtown and it looks like the council doesn't have the votes or community support to build it at the coliseum. The performing arts community said it was a mistake to build War Memorial Auditorium at the coliseum in the first place.

Here are "conceptual" renderings for two sites. Understand the architecture is not the emphasis in the renderings, only how it will be laid out on the site and how it could include some development opportunities on the site.

Here is a rendering for a site the city owns behind the Carolina Theatre at Washington Street and Federal Place. The pros of this site is that it would be located across from the Carolina Theatre which in essence could turn both facilities into one complex. There is an opportunity to create a civic plaza between the Carolina Theatre and the performing arts center. The cons for this site is that it is a small site so there is a limitation on the kind of of performing arts center that could be built. There also aren't a lot of redevelopment opportunities on surrounding properties.

again ignore the architecture itself.

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Here are renderings of the The Bellemeade/North Elm Street site. The cons for this site is obviously cost because its owned by multiple people. This is my favorite site because there are so many development opportunities here and there is plenty of land. One concept the task force came up with is like night and day with the rendering that was presented last week for this site. Instead of using all that land for a performing arts center and a parking lot, the performing arts center could be surrounded by development on the site. The main entrance to the PAC would be on Davie St facing the ywca site and Festival Park. Festival Park is also across the street from Center-City Park. The city could tear down the old ywca building and expand festival park so that it becomes almost like an entrance lawn into the performing arts center. Big screens can be put in the park to show some of the events in the PAC for free. Families can get their blankets, sit on the park lawn and watch a symphony concert on the screens.

again ignore the architecture and look at the concept. This concept includes mixed-use development as a part of the performing arts center facing the roads instead of a parking lot. This could also be an interesting way to help fund the facility.

looking at the google map, you can see all the nearby cultural amenities. (civil right museum is in the wrong place though)

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downtowngpac11.jpg

Edited by cityboi

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1artistrenderingartcntr0712.jpg

Former Greensboro Mayor Keith Holliday wants the performing arts center built behind the historic Carolina Theatre.

http://myfox8.com/2012/07/13/could-greensboro-have-a-theater-district-soon/

The idea would be to build it on land the city already owns cutting the cost of the project down dramatically. The street between the Carolina Theatre and new Performing arts center would be turned into a pedestrian space. There are some pluses with this location. There is a public parking deck nearby and the site is a block away from the downtown restaurants. Triad Stage is not too far away either. Locating the performing arts center at this site would help create a theater district. In addition the Carolina Theatre would get renovated and it would include a 225-seat theater in its empty third and fourth floors. Many performing arts centers have two or three theater spaces of different sizes like in Charlotte. By combining the Carolina Theatre with a new performing arts center, it would be a much larger complex with three theater spaces. Plus there are an additional two other theaters a block a way (Triad Stage and the Broach Theater)

http://www.news-reco...#comment-206278

Greensboro's downtown performing arts spaces

Carolina Theatre (built in 1926) (hard to believe this theater was close to getting demolished in the late 1970s. Its one of three of the big Carolina Theatres still intact. Durham's and Winston-Salem's Carolina Theatre still stand today. The one in Winston-Salem is now called the Stevens Center.)

theatre-greensboro.jpg

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l.jpg

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Triad Stage (The Pyrle Gibson Theater)

TriadStageExterior.jpg

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294259478_8a31b7577c.jpg

The Broach Theater

broach3.1.13.12.jpg

24789-greensboro-broach-theatre2.jpg

Edited by cityboi

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There seems to be hints that the city may be leaning towards the North Elm Street site for the performing arts center. The city council will vote to purchase the YWCA building, demolish it and turn the property into an expanded festival park. One council member said the expanded park could tie in with the performing arts center on property across the street as shown in the renderings below. The park would serve as an outdoor performing arts area and may include outdoor screens to show some events in the PAC for free. The city has only produced preliminary renderings site plans for this particular site which is also another strong indication this could be the site. The renderings for the Carolina Theatre location were produce by the theater group.

downtowngpac4.jpg

downtowngpac9.jpg

downtowngpac10.jpg

Edited by cityboi

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A Design team is making a presentation this morning with conceptual designs for 3 sites being looked at for a downtown performing arts center. We'll also know today which of the three sites is recommended.

http://www.news-reco...rforming_arts_c

Edited by cityboi

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Design team from New York recommends former YWCA site. While it's not one of the big three site that has gotten all the attention, it is interesting that city council voted quickly a few months ago to purchase the site and demolish the YWCA building. It's a good site. It's next to Festival Park and across the street from Center-City Park. It's near the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center and a city owned parking deck is next to the property. Two other big parking decks are a block away. Former mayor Keith Holliday described the design as "cutting-edge"

"Architects’ drawings show a new 100,000‑ square foot structure, with a three-story lobby. The theater itself would hold 3,000 seats, half of them removable to accommodate standing room in front of the stage. Adjacent green and plaza space could host outdoor events.

Bellemeade Street, from North Elm Street east to Summit Avenue, could be closed off to add more open space"

http://www.news-reco...ormer-ywca-site

Edited by cityboi

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