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Northside Developments


westsider28

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There will be a series of meetings / planning workshops on the future of the Northside at Green Street Baptist Church (on Brawley Street) January 9-11.  The meetings will cover just about everything: housing, bike/ped, urban farming, transportation, safety, parks, education, new TK Gregg center, arts, healthcare, jobs, etc.  The meetings are mostly during the day, with progress reviews in the evening.  Here's the schedule: Northside Planning Workshop Schedule (PDF).

 

The Brawley Street model block Housing Authority project is well underway.  New curbing and sidewalks have been mostly completed, as well as the foundations and some framing for the 3 duplexes.  Here's a photo (and a zoomed in version) from just over a week ago:

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Site grading is underway for the Healthy Food Hub.  It should be done sometime in the Spring.  I found this rendering on the City website:

HealthyFoodHub.jpg

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The Northside public input sessions concluded today.  Here's a Herald-Journal article from yesterday.  Milliken also announced that they are contributing $250,000 to the Northside Initiative.  Check out this conceptual drawing posted on the H-J website of how Northside development could look.
 

I'm a bit surprised by what looks like mostly multifamily housing.  I expected people to want more single-family houses.  I like the density, though, and the inclusion of mixed-use buildings and retail.  I like daylighting the creek.  And I like the several street realignments that would make getting around easier and less confusing.  Really looking forward to seeing how development in this area progresses over the next several years.

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I am a little surprised by the density too but more from the standpoint of not expecting to see it. I think that give the stated goals of the city to attract more people, more middle income folks, revitalize the north side and create more housing opportunities for VCOM, Wofford, and Regional it makes loads of sense. Having that type of density (which isn't THAT dense) helps the city achieve all of those goals. I'm assuming it will be mixed income (ie: only partially subsidized housing). Overall it looks great to me!

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The City has posted some more information about the Northside development plan. 

 

They talk about the street realignments, with Pearl Street intended as the Northside's "Main Street".  They also mention the possibility of Pearl Street extending all the way to WO Ezell Blvd (not sure of what the alignment would be).  Also mentioned is disconnecting Magnolia from Church at the crazy Asheville Hwy intersection, and extending Evins Street across Church into the Northside (to connect with Wofford).

 

Cleveland Academy could possibly be expanded and include 6th-8th grade.  That area is also being strongly considered for the new TK Gregg center and an early childhood education center.  The plan also mentions a public library branch.  I also read that renaming Howard Street is being considered, since the current name carries such a stigma.

 

There's a huge PDF file that shows more drawings of how development could look, including a close-up of the area bounded by Pearl, Howard, College, and Magnolia.  If you don't want to download that huge file, here are some screenshots of the drawings:

 

post-24605-0-57589600-1389643760_thumb.j post-24605-0-30814300-1389643764_thumb.j post-24605-0-94561700-1389643768_thumb.j post-24605-0-85476300-1389643773_thumb.j post-24605-0-99006000-1389643775_thumb.j

 

1. Church & Pearl near Fremont School Apts; 2. daylighted "Butterfly Creek"; 3. close-up plan; 4. typical housing; 5. street cross-sections

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Obviously not everything in this plan will come to fruition (either at all, or in the planned configuration).  Just look at the Downtown Master Plan from several years ago and how actual development has differed somewhat from that plan.  But just like the DT plan, the Northside plan is more of a vision of what the area could be, and it will guide the general direction of development.

 

This is also a long-term plan (probably 20+ years to completion).  And--perhaps most importantly--having the plan allows the City to pursue federal (and other) money and grants, which will be necessary to fund many parts of the plan (street improvements, TK Gregg, etc), which will in turn help spur private development.

 

It will be a tough road with some likely changes and set-backs, but I prefer to be optimistic about the future of this area.

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Obviously not everything in this plan will come to fruition (either at all, or in the planned configuration).  Just look at the Downtown Master Plan from several years ago and how actual development has differed somewhat from that plan.  But just like the DT plan, the Northside plan is more of a vision of what the area could be, and it will guide the general direction of development.

 

This is also a long-term plan (probably 20+ years to completion).  And--perhaps most importantly--having the plan allows the City to pursue federal (and other) money and grants, which will be necessary to fund many parts of the plan (street improvements, TK Gregg, etc), which will in turn help spur private development.

 

It will be a tough road with some likely changes and set-backs, but I prefer to be optimistic about the future of this are

While I'm not from the Northside I had many friends who lived there and am familiar with the area.  As a result, I've always been optimistic and continue to be optimistic about the future of this important part of the city.  The northside has many positive attributes - walking distance to downtown, VCOM, hospital nearby, I-85, fairgrounds, Cleveland Park, etc.  Moreover, there's some good, solid housing stock. 

 

I

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Sorry, that last line wasn't clear.  I didn't mean it as a shot at you or anything, if that's what it seemed like.

 

I agree that this is an area with a lot of potential.  I've also never seen so many different parties coming together on a project like this, which gives me confidence that this ambitious plan can be mostly accomplished.  Can't wait to see what happens!

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Sorry, that last line wasn't clear.  I didn't mean it as a shot at you or anything, if that's what it seemed like.

 

I agree that this is an area with a lot of potential.  I've also never seen so many different parties coming together on a project like this, which gives me confidence that this ambitious plan can be mostly accomplished.  Can't wait to see what happens!

No apologies necessary.  I understood your point and appreciate your enthusiasm!

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I was happy to see that Spartanburg Regional donated several properties they owned on Centennial Street (between Berry Field and N Church St) to Habitat for Humanity who are building 8 new homes there.  The first one was just completed. 

 

I run through there occasionally and have worried about what would happen with those vacant properties.  There's still quite a bit of vacant land they own on adjacent streets that used to have houses, but hopefully more redevelopment like this can happen (and it doesn't just become a parking lot expansion or something).

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I really like the concepts in this plan. 

 

One of my biggest complaints about the Northside area, and even Saxon and Una is how confusing it is to navigate those portions of the city. It's damn near impossible for me to find my way around, and I know Spartanburg's streets extremely well. I think that one of the contributing factors to its general perception as "the bad part of town" is the fact that it's convoluted street system isolates it from the rest of the city. It's almost as if someone threw a plat of spaghetti at a wall and the built the streets accordingly. Part of that problem can be addressed through a simple change of street names. I have ranted about this before... I think that what is currently one street with four names should be change to one street with two names. From west to east: Arch Street, West Pearl Street, East Pearl Street, and McCravy Drive. Change Arch St to West Pearl and McCravy to East Pearl. 

After that, just extend Arch/West Pearl across Wofford Street and directly to West Main near the Coca-Cola Bottling building.

 

Not only would this open up the area to traffic, it de-isolates that portion of town. Improving accessibility also makes it easier for police to patrol and other emergency services to get where they need to go.

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  • 1 month later...

The curbing is in for the Healthy Food Hub parking lot.  Volunteers will be planting the garden on March 22. 

 

Here are a few photos of the Brawley Street Model Block.  New curbs and sidewalks have been finished.  The final coat of asphalt is likely waiting until construction is finished on the houses.  Speaking of that, there are three duplex houses being built currently (which are pretty far along).

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Northside Development Corp. is finalizing a deal to purchase the Sunshine Inn (formerly Days Inn) on Church Street across from Wofford.  The motel will likely be demolished (and the lot left empty for now).  I didn't realize that only about 20 of the 80 rooms were being used anyway, because part of the motel was condemned. 

 

The Northside Master Plan shows the possibility of extending Evins Street across Church at least to Magnolia, and maybe connecting to Ridge Road.  According to the City, this hotel was one of the two most important properties to acquire (Oakview Apts being the other; not yet acquired) for the Northside redevelopment initiative.  There's now potential to improve the gateway into DT from the north, as well as offer a direct connection between the Northside and Wofford.

 

Good to see progress continue!

Edited by westsider28
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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, I just found something big.

 

I did a search on "Morgan Square" on the City website, and stumbled across "Project Bravo IV".  I don't know if you guys have heard, but Stone Brewing issued a RFP for an east-coast brewery earlier this year.  Well, this is our pitch to get it.  Tons of cities have applied, as you might expect.  So I don't know how realistic it is to hope that we'll get it, but I'm excited to see that we're going for it!

 

As for why I posted in this thread, the proposed site is the Fairgrounds on the Northside (PDF map of site).  Stone should decide on a site by the end of the year.  Cross your fingers and say your prayers, because if we could get this, it would slingshot development in the Northside and the entire City.

Edited by westsider28
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  • 1 month later...

The City is pursuing a unique way to accelerate the daylighting of "Butterfly Branch" creek on the Northside.  The Downtown Airport runway extension project involves piping a creek to build up the land there for the runway.  Federal law requires either buying mitigation credits, or doing a stream rehabilitation project to offset the environmental impact on this creek.  So, the City chose the latter option, which allows them to use the airport funding (90% federal, 5% state, %5 city) to do the daylighting project.

 

It still needs to be approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, and the City must purchase the necessary properties.  The project could begin next spring.  Here's a rendering from the City Council Agenda (the daylighting is from Preston St to College St):

post-24605-0-84639300-1402372381_thumb.j

 

Edit: The rendering shows a trail.  That can NOT be build with airport funds.  It's just a plan for the future, to be funded with grants or other monies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sunshine Inn to be demolished.

 

I'm really happy that we'll soon be rid of that eyesore!

 

Another Northside update: The Healthy Food Hub has been renamed Harvest Park.  It's expected to open in August.  In addition to being home to the Hub City Farmer's Market, The Butterfly Foundation will own and operate a restaurant there called The Monarch Cafe which will have a menu consisting of healthy options.  Harvest Park will also create 23 jobs; 17 of those will be offered to Northside residents.  The H-J has some photos of the construction progress.

 

Exciting stuff!

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  • 3 weeks later...
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  • 4 weeks later...

As you may have seen in the Herald-Journal over the weekend, there's a complication with acquiring the Oakview Apartments for the Northside Initiative.  The low-income housing complex is owned by Related Properties which is owned by Stephen Ross, the multi-billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins, and he's asking for between $2.5 million and $2.6 million for the property.  The City estimates the property is worth $600,000 to $1 million. 

 

This property is the planned site for the new TK Gregg community center.  "Acquiring the Oakview site is key to turning the once high-crime, low-income neighborhood into an area with mixed housing, health services and recreational opportunities."

 

Without the property, it's unlikely the City could secure the $30 million Choice Neighborhood grant (an off-shoot of the former HOPE VI program that supported the Southside's redevelopment efforts).  The City is very motivated to acquire the property, but they are unwilling to pay what they consider to be an unreasonable, exorbitant price.

 

The City's need to acquire this property seems to put them in a poor negotiating position.  It would seem that the property owner has all the leverage in this situation.  Bill Barnet has apparently written to Related to ask them to get an appraisal, and the Northside group would get one, and both sides could split the difference.  I hope Related can be convinced to sell at a fair price.

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I feel like I'm talking to myself here, but anyway... :whistling:   If you have the time, listen to the City podcast on this topic.  It does a great job thoroughly and clearly explaining the details of the situation I mentioned in the previous post.  (BTW, here's the Related we're dealing with here :shok:)  It's interesting; the City and NDG were a bit surprised that Related wasn't a bit more "sympathetic to the cause," so to speak, considering they have been involved with neighborhood revitalization projects elsewhere in the past.  But I was glad that they seemed optimistic that we'll be able to work out a fair deal with Related.  I certainly hope that will be the outcome.

 

Oh, and it was mentioned that Harvest Park should open in October and that the Northside Development Group will be launching a website soon. :good:

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I drive by Harvest Park a couple of times a week and it's great to see the progress.  I wish they could 'dress up" the electrical station near there and hopefully, this will encourage the mini mart to clean up a little also.

 

On a side note, thanks Westsider for all the pics and information.  I read all of them, but usually don't respond unless it involves some different info :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

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