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Northside Developments


westsider28

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There was a good H-J article about the efforts to provide housing in the Northside.  As I mentioned, more affordable units are being built on Brawley.  Funding is also being provided for homeowners near Cleveland Park to repair their homes.  I like how varied and equitable the housing strategy is (we certainly need plenty of affordable housing), but I hope there is enough market-rate housing, too.  There needs to be a good mix; better than the Southside, which still has too-large pockets of low-income housing (though it's pretty high-quality).

There's a lack of new-construction market-rate housing in the City in general, and I honestly think there are plenty of people who would move into the City if more of that was available.  Many folks don't want to deal with an older house that often needs repairs, etc.  Something between $150k and $200k; 1500-2000 sq ft would be great.  There's not much vacant land other than the Northside (which is a great location) to build new housing in the City.

Edit: Getting back to the article, I was most interested by the part about the NDG (Northside Development Group) studying a plan to build 120 multi-family housing units between Howard and Magnolia streets.  NDG envisions a mixture of market rate and affordable units, retail space and possibly a health clinic, too.  Sounds awesome.  Hope it comes to fruition.

Edited by westsider28
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  • 2 months later...

It's sad that the congregation of Green Street Baptist Church on the Northside has dwindled from a peak of near 1400 members in 1958 to the point now (just over 20 members) where they have decided to dissolve, but I'm really happy that First Baptist stepped up with a plan to preserve the building and re-purpose it as a community center.  IMO, it's a beautiful church and one of the most unique designs in the city.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The US Army Corps of Engineers has approved plans to “daylight” a portion of Butterfly Creek in the Northside to mitigate the impact of piping a creek as part of the airport runway extension.  The project will cost $2 million (from airport funds) and create a 150-foot buffer and a 2,200-foot walking trail that the City hopes to eventually connect to the Rail Trail.  Great to hear that this has finally been approved!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I saw a public notice in the paper today for a Planning Commission hearing where they will consider adding the entire Northside to the Urban Code.  It will be a combination of DT-5, DT-4, and a new designation: DT-3 "Suburban Zone" (for the single-family residential area of the neighborhood).  I'd be interested to see the actual map of where each designation is, but I think it's probably a positive to put this area into the Urban Code boundary.

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So happy to have the Oakview saga over with (and avoiding a trial), so we can move on to the new TK Gregg Center.  This is great news.

I also wanted to mention an RFQ I found on the City website looking for a developer for a parcel catty-corner to VCOM, bound by Howard, College, Raindrop, & Magnolia (excluding the AT&T utility parcel).  Read through the PDF if you have a chance.  The City wants a mixed-income, mixed-use development including a minimum of 20,000 sq ft of commercial space to be used as a health clinic in cooperation with VCOM.  The housing should be a minimum 30% market-rate.  The RFQ also mentions student housing for Wofford.  The goal is to start construction Summer 2017.

It also gives some info on random Northside developments like: Butterfly Creek daylighting should start November 1 and the TK Gregg Center & the Childhood Development Center should both start construction July 2017.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Planning Commission approved the various rezonings on the Northside to DT-3, DT-4, and DT-5 as proposed by staff, and also approved creating the new DT-3 zone as an amendment to the city zoning ordinance.  Both parts now go to City Council on August 8 for public hearing and first reading - on a 7-0 recommendation by the Planning Commission.  

The idea is that the city's vision for the Northside and the zoning ordinance are not in conformity, and by making these changes, they will be in line with each other.  The heavier, more urban uses envisioned along North Church will be allowed under DT-5, and the more residential, single-family areas of the old mill village and Cleveland Heights will have a DT-3 that is less dense.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

The addition of the Northside to the Urban Code boundary passed first reading at the City Council meeting last night.  Attached is a PDF of the before-and-after of the current zoning versus the future classification under the Urban Code.  I like that there is a significant area in the DT-5 classification, which allows for pretty high density.

Also, Habitat for Humanity continues to do great work building new houses in the neighborhood across from Spartanburg Regional.

Northside_Urban_Code_Map.pdf

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  • 3 weeks later...
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The City is looking to move forward with the Butterfly Creek daylighting project, but they've been unable to acquire one final piece of property.  It's a portion of the parcel at the corner of College & Howard.  The City has moved to acquire it via condemnation (eminent domain).  Interestingly, it's owned by Jimmy Gibbs, whose lawyer says they will fight the condemnation in court.  Assuming the land is acquired, the project should start by the end of the year, then take ~6 months to complete.

I wonder if this is why we haven't heard anything more about the Gibbs/Cajka office project.  The City and Gibbs have clashed pretty frequently in the last few years.

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It does seem weird, and unfortunate.  I think the H-J story suggested that there was both a disagreement with the price but also on the public purpose - and certainly I think the city will win on the latter ground.  I also think there's some conjecture that there are some tax credits for abandoned property that have some value here - but again, the city can't just leave this property vacant and looking bad in the middle of a major redevelopment.  Definitely agree with Spartan that it seems to be a fit of pique over losing the hotel incentives fight last year.  

On one hand, the City can't afford to be at an impasse with one of the wealthiest guys in town - whose support they are likely going to need on future projects.  So this isn't really good to have a squabble.  But they can't just leave it alone.  So props to Council for sticking to their guns here.  

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  • 2 months later...

Figured I'd post an update here, since there have been several bits of news over the past several weeks.  Almost a month ago now, the City showed a basic plan for the new TK Gregg center.  It will be very similar to CC Woodson, size- & use-wise.  And it will only have a small outdoor pool.  There was a thought of building an indoor pool to replace the Swim Center, but it's basically impossible (would be a money pit).  The City approached every conceivable potential partner, and they wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole.  I wish they'd keep Aden Street.  I'm wary of creating a superblock there.  Here are some pics (design not final):

tkg bldg.JPGtkg site.JPGtkg floor.JPG

Recently, phase 2 of the Brawley St. model block was completed.  Very attractive.  And the NDG announced that 7 more units are coming soon.

Finally, this recent article about affordable housing mentions something I've heard about before, that sounds very exciting.  There's a plan for a $40 million, multi-story, mixed-income, mixed-use building with 120 units at the corner of Howard & College.  I believe this is the one that's supposed to have a health clinic on the ground floor.  Construction could begin later next year with completion in 2018.

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I was looking at Monday's City Council Agenda, and I saw a couple items of interest for the Northside.

Firstly, the City has decided to purchase outright the entire Gibbs parcel at Howard & College for $500,000.  This resolves the condemnation issue mentioned earlier in this thread.  So the City will use the lower 4 acres for the daylit creek project and retain the 2.5 acres at the corner for future development.

Secondly, the City has identified the corner of Howard & Franklin as the preferred location for an Early Childhood Development Center.  However, that land is owned by Piedmont Interstate Fair, so the City is planning a land-swap (see agenda linked above for map).  I have a few issues/questions with this.  First, the Northside master plan shows this center being near the new TK Gregg, so what will the balance of the Oakview land be used for now?  TK Gregg won't use the whole site.  Eminent domain used to acquire the site requires public use.

Secondly, I don't like the City ceding ownership of land in the Fairgrounds area to Piedmont, particularly because the reason for the land swap is that they weren't interested in selling (so it would be hard to get land back from them).  To me, the highest & best use of that land is eventually for a large, destination park (connected to Cleveland Park).  The Fair is only 1 weekend a year, doesn't benefit nearby residents, has virtually zero positive economic impact on the City, and I'm sure the Fair would benefit from a larger, more accessible location outside the City.

Thoughts?

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