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Florence Developments


Spartan

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My Florence development friend asked me to post for him again. :) This is his post and not mine.

The County of Florence and City of Florence vacated its old buildings in favor for the construction of the city county complex back in the 1970s with the idea of later becoming one entity or one central government. Of the original buildings, the City Hall (or Post office as it is known by out of towners) is still standing. The current building is housing lawyers' offices and is still too small for the city to rent space in the current building. The 7 story Florence Title Company Building is currently occupied by the Florence Fire Department Administrations, Downtown Redevelopment Commission, and the Florence Water Department. The old Florence library is being converted for use either by the church next door or as a part of the culture district of the performing arts area. As far as looking at the success for downtown and abroad, the City of Florence has sent representives from business aspects and residential views to the cities of Augusta, GA, Asheville, NC, Wilmington, NC, Savannah, GA, Denver, CO, Seattle, WA and Greensboro, NC, and has hired members from the team that helped redevelop Baltimore's harbor front. City leaders said they wanted to look outside the state because cities within the state are still developing and or redeveloping and the success of current leadership and philosophies of those cities has not yet shined through to warrant them to look within the state.

florence.jpg

Edited by waccamatt
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City leaders said they wanted to look outside the state because cities within the state are still developing and or redeveloping and the success of current leadership and philosophies of those cities has not yet shined through to warrant them to look within the state.

Are these city leaders CRAZY? Have they not heard of the Vista in Columbia or Greenville's Main Street? Sure they're still developing, but Greenville gets delegations from all over to study Main Street. As a matter of fact, Greensboro, one of the cities Florence is "investigating," just sent a delegation to Greenville a few weeks ago. Also, I would argue that Charleston is somewhat ahead of Savannah, or at least on equal footing, and I don't exactly see how Augusta or Wilmington has "shined through" yet, at least in a way that exceeds that of our major cities.

I think the city's leaders need to stop being so proud and "uppity" and look for local examples of success that can be emulated. It saves time and money, and there is likely to be more ongoing contact with in-state cities. Personally, I think that Spartanburg and Greenville would serve as good models of downtown redevelopment for Florence.

Boy, that kills me...

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Again, I am posting this for a friend.

The city leaders chose to hire the team from Baltimore and their recommendations were upheld to the highest regards and they chose to follow examples from each of the cities listed for various reasons. There has been talk that if Florence chooses to follow the successful footsteps of any of South Carolina's cities it will be Columbia. Florence is a regional area of banking and government, both federal and state, and so is Columbia and its success has been well documented with hotels and restaurants for people visiting the city and conducting both governmental and traditional business. . The reason Florence is studying Greensboro is only for its success with the ballpark. Greensboro's leaders' relevance to visiting Greenville was not known or was not considered at the time of choosing Greensboro to investigate. Charleston was not considered a candidate due to the fact downtown Florence does not have and did not hold on to many of its historical landmarks. Wilmington and Augusta were choices for their closed pedestrian-friendly streets as well as successful water fronts that will be taken into consideration for the ballpark and downtown parks. The City of Florence first looked within the state at Spartanburg for guidance but it was determined that Spartanburg was more of a satellite suburb of Greenville than its own separate entity of a city and not an example for a regional city such as Florence. With aspects of money, the City of Florence and its citizens determined a successful city and jobs out weighted the research expenses with a referendum 2 years ago.

Edited by waccamatt
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Are these city leaders CRAZY? Have they not heard of the Vista in Columbia or Greenville's Main Street? Sure they're still developing, but Greenville gets delegations from all over to study Main Street. As a matter of fact, Greensboro, one of the cities Florence is "investigating," just sent a delegation to Greenville a few weeks ago. Also, I would argue that Charleston is somewhat ahead of Savannah, or at least on equal footing, and I don't exactly see how Augusta or Wilmington has "shined through" yet, at least in a way that exceeds that of our major cities.

I think the city's leaders need to stop being so proud and "uppity" and look for local examples of success that can be emulated. It saves time and money, and there is likely to be more ongoing contact with in-state cities. Personally, I think that Spartanburg and Greenville would serve as good models of downtown redevelopment for Florence.

Boy, that kills me...

Rofl, yeah I hear that. Charleston mayor Joe Riley initiated the Mayors' Institute on City Design.

Mayor Riley is regarded as an expert on urban design and livability issues. He was a founder of the Mayor
Edited by MikesLogic
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Does a river run through Florence or something? I ask because the city is looking at Wilmington, Augusta, and Savannah, all river cities. I must be missing something in this regard.

Greensboro has done a magnificent job with its ballpark, and Greenville's is currently under construction. While Florence may not have held on to much of its history, there are still other ways that it could learn from Charleston. And if lack of historical structures is a factor, why look at Savannah? As a matter of fact, I'd venture to say that whatever the city is wanting to learn from Augusta, Savannah, or Wilmington, it can learn from Charleston. As far as downtown parks go, HELLO? Ever heard of Finlay Park or Reedy River Park (I think that's the proper name of the park in Greenville)? When it comes to streetscaping and just making downtown LOOK attractive, even Orangeburg could teach Florence a thing or two in this regard.

Spartanburg a "satellite suburb" of Greenville? That is so uninformed it's not funny. Spartanburg's economy stands independent of Greenville's as far as the city proper goes--Denny's, QS1, Advance America, ExtendedStay, etc. Also, most people fail to realize that the BMW plant which often gives Greenville cool points is actually located in Spartanburg County. Spartanburg has a healthy, growing core and is in NO WAY a suburb; as a matter of fact, no SC metro is large enough to have a ~150,000-resident urbanized area suburb. Furthermore, Spartanburg is its own metropolitan area. I still say a combination of Greenville and Spartanburg easily makes for a great model for Florence.

To me, to look outside of the state because "the success of current leadership and philosophies of [sC] cities has not yet shined through to warrant them to look within the state" is ill-informed and elitist, IMO. Florence had better try to get the best value for its buck at this point and stop looking at the so-called "greener" grass on the other side of the fence. I have nothing against looking at cities outside of the state as models, but NOT to the exclusion of in-state cities which can serve as a pattern in many respects. I need the leaders of Florence to get it together.

Edited by krazeeboi
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I KNOW I am. How in the world can you be SO PICKY when your downtown looks like a dump, yet you disregard the SUCCESSFUL EFFORTS of cities in your own backyard and have the gall to say that their hard-earned successes don't "warrant" you looking at them as models? It's bad enough that SC and its cities have a tough time even getting regional recognition for the things that are done right, but it's even worse when you can't get that recognition from one of your own. That really disgusts me.

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I have nothing agaist looking at cities outside of the state as models, but NOT to the exclusion of in-state cities which can serve as a pattern in many respects. I need the leaders of Florence to get it together.
^ this is my thought too.

Not trying to be harsh. I'm just surprised they wouldn't look locally for inspiration there is a lot they could learn from their local brethren.

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I have a milion things to say but don't have time at the moment. I'll be busy on here tonight though.

Two quick things:

If Florence wants a baseball stadium DT, it MUST look at the new one going up in Greenville (SC that is). It is designed extremely well for integrating into the urban fabric. It too is in a distressed area. It isn't a huge stadium either, so it is a close match there too.

GREENWOOD SC would be a great model for Florence. In fact, their designer, Wade Burns, did a plan for Florence in the late '80's or early '90's. The city implemented only a small fraction of what he proposed and dropped it after that. Dust off his plan and update it and you will have a great blueprint for DT Florence.

Orangeburg is still in the early phases, but I would take a look at them as well. Wilmington's DT is based on historic buildings and the river, neither of which Florence has.

More to come.

P.S. Waccamatt, thanks for posting this stuff, but I thought I was was hothead in this forum ;)

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My Florence development friend asked me to post for him again. :) This is his post and not mine.

The County of Florence and City of Florence vacated its old buildings in favor for the construction of the city county complex back in the 1970s with the idea of later becoming one entity or one central government. Of the original buildings, the City Hall (or Post office as it is known by out of towners) is still standing. The current building is housing lawyers' offices and is still too small for the city to rent space in the current building. The 7 story Florence Title Company Building is currently occupied by the Florence Fire Department Administrations, Downtown Redevelopment Commission, and the Florence Water Department. The old Florence library is being converted for use either by the church next door or as a part of the culture district of the performing arts area. As far as looking at the success for downtown and abroad, the City of Florence has sent representives from business aspects and residential views to the cities of Augusta, GA, Asheville, NC, Wilmington, NC, Savannah, GA, Denver, CO, Seattle, WA and Greensboro, NC, and has hired members from the team that helped redevelop Baltimore's harbor front. City leaders said they wanted to look outside the state because cities within the state are still developing and or redeveloping and the success of current leadership and philosophies of those cities has not yet shined through to warrant them to look within the state.

florence.jpg

Very interesting about the Florence Title Building. I didn't know that the city was occupying space there. Did they buy it or just leasing there?

I didn't quite understand the part about the Old Post Office. Is the city not in that building because private lawyers have leased most of the space, or is the building itself too small. Either way, I think the city should lay the groundwork to get the building in the future. They can aways build an auxilliary/annex building adacent to it.

I have to agree that Florence should look to in-state cities as well as out-of-state ones. There are good models. Plus a SC city would be operating under the same laws/regulations/legislature.

Of the cities listed, Asheville is probably the most relevant, but none really match the demographic/geographic make up of Florence.

Revitializing DT Florence will be a tough nut to crack frankly. The historic buildings were largely lost through urban renewal programs and a lack of historic identity. There is no river or even a creek close to DT. Also, the city has been through 2-3 major revitialization efforts since the 1960's. The first couple were based on the now descredited model of 'make DT a mall' and/or 'tear everything down and new construction will follow'. Obviously, those don't work. The last one was the Wade Burns approach that I mentioned earlier. I can't remember all the details, but it I rememeber it sounded really good to me when it was unveiled. Lots of historic restoration, streetscaping, and unique things to draw people in. Unfortunately, the city leaders were not willing to pass the property restrictions and tax increases needed to fully implement it. Four blocks were streetscaped and there was actually some noticeable improvement. However, the city did not go any further with the plan, momentum was lost, and it slowly deteriorated into it's current state.

Those failed efforts have lead to a widely held perception that anything done DT is a waste of money. The latest effort has managed to implement some design/usage districts and some eyesore buildings have been removed. I wish them the best, but for it to happen, the city will have to make a multi-decade commitment and not be steered off course as mayors, councilmen, etc. change over time.

I have some recent pics that I took about a month ago that I will share in my next post.

Thanks to Waccamatt and his outside source for the inside info. Keep the dialogue going.

P.S. What is DT Rock Hill like these days? Back in the '90's they built a sharp looking City Hall and many of the historic buildings were being renovated. I have heard much about it since then though.

Edited by vicupstate
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Vic, I think I'm going to start a thread about some happenings in Rock Hill. There is some renewed emphasis on downtown, and the city just hired someone to manage the revitalization of the textile corridor, which will be the linchpin in redeveloping downtown. So be on the lookout, if I ever get some time. ;)

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Again, I am posting this for a friend.

The city leaders chose to hire the team from Baltimore and their recommendations were upheld to the highest regards and they chose to follow examples from each of the cities listed for various reasons. There has been talk that if Florence chooses to follow the successful footsteps of any of South Carolina's cities it will be Columbia. Florence is a regional area of banking and government, both federal and state, and so is Columbia and its success has been well documented with hotels and restaurants for people visiting the city and conducting both governmental and traditional business. . The reason Florence is studying Greensboro is only for its success with the ballpark. Greensboro's leaders' relevance to visiting Greenville was not known or was not considered at the time of choosing Greensboro to investigate. Charleston was not considered a candidate due to the fact downtown Florence does not have and did not hold on to many of its historical landmarks. Wilmington and Augusta were choices for their closed pedestrian-friendly streets as well as successful water fronts that will be taken into consideration for the ballpark and downtown parks. The City of Florence first looked within the state at Spartanburg for guidance but it was determined that Spartanburg was more of a satellite suburb of Greenville than its own separate entity of a city and not an example for a regional city such as Florence. With aspects of money, the City of Florence and its citizens determined a successful city and jobs out weighted the research expenses with a referendum 2 years ago.

Ask you friend what criteria they used to determine that Spartanburg is a 'satellite' city of Greenville? Most people would conclude otherwise, including the Fed, since Spartanburg County its its own MSA under the new definitions. Still, I am interested to know how that conclusion came about.

Revitializing DT Florence will be a tough nut to crack frankly. The historic buildings were largely lost through urban renewal programs and a lack of historic identity. There is no river or even a creek close to DT. Also, the city has been through 2-3 major revitialization efforts since the 1960's. The first couple were based on the now descredited model of 'make DT a mall' and/or 'tear everything down and new construction will follow'. Obviously, those don't work. The last one was the Wade Burns approach that I mentioned earlier. I can't remember all the details, but it I rememeber it sounded really good to me when it was unveiled. Lots of historic restoration, streetscaping, and unique things to draw people in. Unfortunately, the city leaders were not willing to pass the property restrictions and tax increases needed to fully implement it. Four blocks were streetscaped and there was actually some noticeable improvement. However, the city did not go any further with the plan, momentum was lost, and it slowly deteriorated into it's current state.

Those failed efforts have lead to a widely held perception that anything done DT is a waste of money. The latest effort has managed to implement some design/usage districts and some eyesore buildings have been removed. I wish them the best, but for it to happen, the city will have to make a multi-decade commitment and not be steered off course as mayors, councilmen, etc. change over time.

Spartanburg is a good model for Florence because it has a strikingly similar situation. No substatial natural water feature downtown and multiple attempts to revitalize downtown. The revatalization process and urban renewal combines were hell on the historic aspects of Spartanburg's core. Most of it was razed in favort of the 'modern' style buildings... most of which lack any character at all. I think the difference is that Spartanburg was determined to make something happen, and it finally is beginning to see some light.

The fact that they label Spartanburg as a suburb really irks me, because that is the image that Spartanburg is trying to shed (despite the fact that it never has been!). Please look into that one!

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I know it may not look like much, but florence does have a lot of potential. If it is ever utilized, downtown has some great street level interaction [potential]. Almost every single building downtown has some sort of retail facing the street. Evans has a very nice layout in downtown. Problem is, DT has a bad reputation that it is trying to shake of being slumish. N one realy wants to move their businesses downtown, and they wont until DT is properly cleaned up. But there is a GREAT dealof potential for a real DT environment. Liek i aid, it jsut needs to shake its image. The twon itself is not a dump though. You go to areas like southside, and over near west florence, and its prety nice. Ther are ALOT of VERY nice houses at a fraction of the cost that you would spend in say Miami or Atlanta. Its population is prety well educated too. So, jsut because the DT is having issues, fortunantly, it doesnt reflect the rest of town...

Cheers

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A streetscaping and facade improvments would do wonders for downtown. After that, the city could consider a BID or a design review board type of thing that Orangeburg is pursuing.

Does DT Florence have a square? As a matter of fact, I wonder what other cities in SC beside Spartanburg and Orangeburg have a downtown square?

Edited by krazeeboi
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Pretty Neat idea. (another example of Why I keep saying florence is a Medical Town

http://www.morningnewsonline.com/servlet/S...&path=!news

FLORENCE - The pealing that cracked the stoic Liberty Bell was a mere ding-a-ling to the clang that Billy Shirley rang on a bell in the McLeod Radiation Oncology department Tuesday night....

Anyway... Florence realy isnt a bad place.True down town could use some work, but they are getting there. (ie the9 story building that wacamat spoke of) Im realy crossing y fingures on the one.

Cheers guys

Josh

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Does DT Florence have a square? As a matter of fact, I wonder what other cities in SC beside Spartanburg and Orangeburg have a downtown square?

The downtown square seems more prevalent in the smaller towns from my experience. Off the top of my head, Barnwell, Edgefield, and Abbeville all have one (all complete with small Washington monument-style statues).

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Those pics were taken on a Saturday, so those cars were probably mostly shoppers. As for streetscaping, that has already been done on the streets shown. However, that was a few years ago and the light poles show a lot of fading.

I will post some pics tonight of the new McLeod building a few blocks east of DT.

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Have they completed the Mcloed expansion yet? last time I was up, I didnt get a chance to go downtown and check it out. I remember back in march seeing it at what looked liek being toped out, but dont know if its opened yet...

It won't open until next year. It is looking more complete on the exterior though. If you drive East on West Palmetto, you can see it from around Edisto. It really stood out to me, since that is not what I'm use to seeing there.

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Those pics were taken on a Saturday, so those cars were probably mostly shoppers. As for streetscaping, that has already been done on the streets shown. However, that was a few years ago and the light poles show a lot of fading.

I will post some pics tonight of the new McLeod building a few blocks east of DT.

Gosh, I couldn't tell a streetscaping had been done. How about facade improvements?

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Gosh, I couldn't tell a streetscaping had been done. How about facade improvements?

Look at the pics closer. No power lines, trees and juniper, antique streetlights, brick sidewalks. That's pretty much a streetscaping. When the streetscaping was done, there were some fasace improvements as well. About a dozen or so stores added a canvas awning. A few others did more substantial changes. If you look close at some of the pics, you can see the awnings have worned through from the elements and ultraviolet rays.

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