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Winston-Salem Courthouse News

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An update on plans to save our 1926 Forsyth County Courthouse. I think it should be torn down and replaced with an office or condo tower. I also like the idea of a park over keeping it. What can I say, we are a city of historic building huggers. It will probably be saved and convered to residential and retail and I like that idea too. :D

By Victoria Cherrie

JOURNAL REPORTER

What should become of the old Forsyth County Courthouse?

About 20 people packed a small meeting room at the Adam's Mark Winston Plaza Hotel last night to debate that question.

Some envision a museum. Others see a community resource center or a beehive of restaurants and shops in the building that needs $500,000 in repairs.

"Finding how and when you are going to achieve that is not an easy task," said Tan Ersoy, the president of Ersoy & Associates, an architecture firm that worked for years to refurbish Reynolds High School.

Ersoy was among several architects, residents and preservationists who said they want the building to be preserved.

"It is too much of a building, it has too much history to be torn down," said Seth Brown, who was Bethania's first mayor after it incorporated in 1995.

The site has had a courthouse since December 1850, when the first building opened there.

A second courthouse opened in January 1897, and the current building was put up in 1926. Additions have been made to the building over the years.

Rence Callahan, a local architect, said that the changing architecture representing each era should be celebrated in whatever is done to the building.

When the present Hall of Justice on North Main Street opened in 1974, the old courthouse building became home to some county offices. With the opening this year of the new county-government complex on Chestnut Street, the last of the offices in the old courthouse have closed.

Forsyth County still owns the building, but agreed in February to allow the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, a revitalization group, to evaluate it and make recommendations for its future use.

A committee studying the possibilities invited ideas from the public last night.

The committee plans to study what other cities have done with their courthouses and research ways to help pay for the project. The initial goal was to make a recommendation and give a report to the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners in January.

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I'm not sure it has any really historical value (my training is in history), although some. Nevertheless, it should be preserved somehow as a park or museum surrounded by towers. I agree with architect Callahan's suggestion that aspects of each of the previous two courthouses be preserved, but can't say how without big infusion of funds. The original courthouse in 1850 is great. I couldn't find any pictures, but have seen postcards. The office or condo tower, well let's put it around the courthouse. Every city needs its square.

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The 1950's additions are ugly but I welcome saving it if they give us a full sized downtown grocery store there like the most popular plans are calling for. I like Whirrled Peas Grocery Store, The Farmer's Market, and Petina's Frozen Foods on Sixth Street (spelling?). I just want a supersized Lowes Foods or a Whole Foods Market on Fourth Street. Lowes Foods is a Winston-Salem based Mid-Atlantic chain and could do it right. They know Winston-Salem and live here. We have over 20,000 signatures from people who live within one mile of the courthouse site seeking a full sized grocery store. We have a higher CBD population than many other similar sized cities across the country and one of the south's highest core populations with single family homes, apartments, condos, and rowhouses in the shadows of our highrises. The population to support it is there. Harris Teeter did have plans to open a full sized store at First and Broad streets but the developers of that project are delaying it and making changes. The new Southeast Gateway will have a grocery store but that is too far for most of us. We need one on Fourth Street or even Trade Street in the 27101 population center. We have wealth and high growth. One of Allen Joines favorite stories is about the time Nordstorm asked his development office about large retail sites in the upscale 27101 zipcode. Their research said our downtown was at the center of a very wealthy residential area and they wanted to know more. No they didn't know it was downtown they were asking about until he told them. :D

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Building hugger. :lol:

I support the grocery store idea on Broad Street that developer Lincoln Harris and Harris Teeter have. Lets have a skyscraper or a nice town square with fountain, trees, park benches, and sculpture there in place of that ugly building. It could be a park surrounded by skyscrapers: Winston Tower, One West Fourth, O'Hanlon, Pepper Building, 8 W 3rd Tower, H. Ward Federal Building and Reynolds American Tower. I would love that! If not a park then lets build the next tallest there or something with 10 or more floors. Its the best lot in the city for a high rise and the most valuable. You can have your grocery store on the first floor of the new high rise.

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How about this; a full size mall on the size and order of Four Seasons in Greensboro. Well, maybe not as large, but with the small footprint, such a mall itself could be 10 stories, although shopping malls don't seem to work much over four levels? Seriously, it might work especially since the proposed mall (according to Matthew some time ago) near Sara Lee in the north part of the city never came to fruition. Why not?

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Malls are indoors and where would you put it? One mall store can be the floor size of the BD&P Financial Center. Downtown should be an outdoor shopping experience. Also remember all that parking! Simon cancelled their plans to build a mall the same size as Hanes Mall near Wake Forest. It would've had two upscale mall stores that would be new to the Triad. They still have an option on the property and haven't given up. They could just be waiting to build it. It would have an exit on I-74 and be near the upscale Reynolda Park neighborhood and Wake Forest University on the growing north end.

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You correct; it was just a thought.

So, that's exactly what Matthew said some time back on the skyscraperpage forum. I had never heard of this mall before then, but I don't live in W-S now anyway. Was it ever in the media? What are/were the two upscale, not in the Triad now stores? I think Matthew might have said Nordstrom was one?

I wonder if the Sara Lee consolidation and expansion as well as the mixed use development across from them will help attract the mall?

On the other hand, aren't huge indoor malls passe now; in favor of complexes called outdoor malls with the same upscale and other stores, in the ever trite "Town Center" format?

We should be doing this on skyscraperpage and skyscraper city as well.

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I remember the old mall proposal. It was Nordstrom but I can't remember who the other store was. If I heard the name I would remember. I think the proposal is no longer active but Simon wants to expand in NC and they like that part of the Triad. Kernersville makes more sense to me. I do know the University area at Hanes Mill is getting one of those town centre urban outdoor shopping villages with condos above stores in what looks like an urban village. That could have a negative impact on the mall since they do have mall stores in them. Theres one going up on the southwest side too. I don't shop at malls unless I have to. They are on the way out and that is why you don't see them being built much anymore. A nice outdoor retail center downtown would be nice but as Myles would say downtown is an outdoor retail center and we should work on filling those retail spots before building new spaces.

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I think the urban outdoor retail village with lake, condos, townhomes, and offices at Hanes Mill Office Park helped delay if not kill the project. Also the Wachovia-First Union Bank Merger didn't help. Then throw in a sluggish economy. They still have options on the property though. The other store was proposed as Saks Fifth Avenue. They are now expanding into almost every big city. At one time getting stores like that was something to talk about. Today its "they are everywhere"! I still think only DC, Atlanta, and Miami should have those stores in the south.

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Winston-Salem's economy has done great compared to other cities in NC and the US. Our unemployment rate is consistantly among the lowest in the South over the past three years. People just like to assume that merger destroyed our city or something. We are second only to Charlotte in Fortune 500's. Wachovia still employs about the same number of people in W-S as they did before the merger. It was Atlanta that suffered the biggest blow from the merger. 191 Peachtree in Atlanta where Wachovia's other half of it's dual headquarters was is now almost empty. The new Wachovia is a much better corporate citizen for W-S than the old Wachovia.

I don't go to the mall anymore. I did when I was a kid but these days I gave up my car to go car free like you. We have the highest percentage of car free citizens in NC! This is a great walking city and a nice place to commute by bike. I walk or bike everywhere.

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The Forsyth Courthouse is called the Hall of Justice? :rofl: Somebody really liked the old 'Super Friends' cartoon! :D Wonder Twins power, activate! :P

Seriously, upscale shopping in Winston-Salem could probably work, especially downtown, but there's too much existing retail in the city to justify a new mall downtown or otherwise.

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The original courthouse in 1850 is great.  I couldn't find any pictures, but have seen postcards.

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Here's one:

CHOUSE.jpg

This pic is from an auction on eBay. It seems like there is almost always a W/S courthouse post card for sale on there.

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That is a very nice looking building eddard.

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I'm amazed how extravagant the building looks compared to the others across the street. Looks more like a church or a castle than a courthouse........

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