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First Ward Urban Village / North Tryon Vision Plan


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5 hours ago, KJHburg said:

Even a Hotel Indigo looks for older buildings like this recently opened one in downtown Winston in the Pepper Building built in 1928.  Photo from last month.  I guess this rather "bland" building would have be torn down in Charlotte but not in Winston.   Honestly it looks like a shorter version different brick color of the Hall House aka Barringer Hotel. 

 

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The best city in N.C., Charlotte, has relatively few old buildings, whereas Durham, Raleigh, W-S, Asheville, and Wilmington have a lot.  Then again, if those cities had the level of development that Charlotte does, maybe they wouldn’t have so many old buildings.

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to replace the all brick  Hall House historic hotel building with a 6 story wood frame construction is a travesty of the biggest magnitude in terms of urban development.  NO other NC city including Ra

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13 hours ago, Cityplanner said:

I don’t see what about Hall House is worth saving AS LONG AS a high-quality new building is built on the site.  Neither the interior nor the exterior is interesting, and a block in a commercial area in Manhattan is likely to have numerous buildings like that (and many older and more elaborate ones).  Old doesn’t automatically mean good.  

Wrong. Just wrong. Its not about the building being Versailles, its symbolic. This building is the last of its kind, and if we accept it being torn down, then it just makes the next teardown that much more justifiable to people. And theres literally no scenario where a higher quality building goes in its place. Its either we preserve it, and figure out some way to stack affordable housing beside it, high density, or we get a 5 over 1. 

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2 hours ago, Tyree Ricardo said:

Wrong. Just wrong. Its not about the building being Versailles, its symbolic. This building is the last of its kind, and if we accept it being torn down, then it just makes the next teardown that much more justifiable to people. And theres literally no scenario where a higher quality building goes in its place. Its either we preserve it, and figure out some way to stack affordable housing beside it, high density, or we get a 5 over 1. 

I'm not "wrong"; this is a subjective preference.

I generally prefer old architecture, but I'd rather have a high-quality building on a site, regardless of the age of the building.

There a few other old buildings uptown left, and the others (particularly one whose name I forget, but it's on the west side of Tryon, a block or south of the Square) are higher quality.  

In 100 years, what will be better: a 100-year old stunningly gorgeous and high-qualify building where Hall House is, or Hall House?  I'd say the former.

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The same argument to tear down Hall House is the same one that has been made for the past 60+ years when buildings were destroyed. It's old, it's dated, something modern will be so much better,  etc. When does it stop? 

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Just now, 49er said:

The same argument to tear down Hall House is the same one that has been made for the past 60+ years when buildings were destroyed. It's old, it's dated, something modern will be so much better,  etc. When does it stop? 

I think this has generally worked out pretty well for Charlotte. We've lost a lot of great-looking buildings, but Tryon St is a beautiful street with a lot of impressive buildings for a city this size. The problem with this entire thing is that we are replacing it with garbage.

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1 hour ago, NYtoCLT said:

The proposal isn't a high quality building on the site though.  Do you think it is? 

No, and as I've specifically stated above, low-income housing should not be in high-priced real estate on a big city's main street.  Hall House should be left standing until another developer comes along and either renovates it or does something really nice with the site.

Greenville, SC has the same issue: a former mall right next to downtown is being torn down and replaced with a mixed-use project.  People are wanting "affordable housing" to be put on the site.  That's also ridiculous; there is plenty cheaper land within a short walk of downtown there, just as it is in Charlotte.

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3 hours ago, kermit said:

IMO stick built multifamily on Tryon is STUPID, a huge failure in planning and will be a scar on the street for 25+ years.

There is one place where it would at least be an upgrade. 222 South Tryon.

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But why is “old” inherently worth saving?

Stylish and high-quality buildings, in my view, are worth saving.  That often means keeping something from the 1910s since the styles of that era are generally great, but New Classical and all sorts of revivalist styles are still being built.

Charlotte lacks “old” but its new buildings are great.  Would anyone prefer the northeast corner of Trade and Tryon as it was before BofA Corporate Center was built (in terms of the architecture that was there)?

A new Prague or a new Charleston or a new Vienna could still be built; look at Berlin, which is rebuilding the Hohenzollerns’ City Palace, replacing the bad 1970s-era East German legislative building.  In that case, isn’t it better to build new?  I think so.

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Well I would say not many ALL brick buildings are left in uptown Charlotte like the Hall House Barringer.  that in itself makes it different and stand out not to mention the art deco style.  Only high rise built between 1929 and 1950!  

well maybe we can take a bull dozer to couple of blocks in Plaza Midwood and replace with higher density townhomes too or maybe take down Latta Arcade and build a high rise there.  

(Blue means I joking or being absurd in this case) 

 

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2 hours ago, Cityplanner said:

But why is “old” inherently worth saving?

Stylish and high-quality buildings, in my view, are worth saving.  That often means keeping something from the 1910s since the styles of that era are generally great, but New Classical and all sorts of revivalist styles are still being built.

Charlotte lacks “old” but its new buildings are great.  Would anyone prefer the northeast corner of Trade and Tryon as it was before BofA Corporate Center was built (in terms of the architecture that was there)?

A new Prague or a new Charleston or a new Vienna could still be built; look at Berlin, which is rebuilding the Hohenzollerns’ City Palace, replacing the bad 1970s-era East German legislative building.  In that case, isn’t it better to build new?  I think so.

Actually I would say from a PED perspective BofA Corp sucks where as the OG Belk did not.

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48 minutes ago, Desert Power said:

If OG Belk had the weirdly beautiful communist paintings of Corporate Center...

fair point. I do love those weird fudgeing frescoes

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4 minutes ago, Cityplanner said:

Thanks, everyone.  I totally respect everyone's varying opinions particularly where they differ from mine.  I appreciate that everyone is so thoughtful and insightful about this topic.

So your original question is "would I accept it being demolished if it were to bring a higher quality use" and honestly, no, I wouldn't. I think it would make a great historic hotel, it would need to be completely gutted to do it, but the bones would remain. I think the 1.7 acres surrounding the building has great possibility for the aforementioned higher quality use. By keeping the original hotel setup, you force the rest of the block to be more innovative.

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1 hour ago, Tyree Ricardo said:

So your original question is "would I accept it being demolished if it were to bring a higher quality use" and honestly, no, I wouldn't. I think it would make a great historic hotel, it would need to be completely gutted to do it, but the bones would remain. I think the 1.7 acres surrounding the building has great possibility for the aforementioned higher quality use. By keeping the original hotel setup, you force the rest of the block to be more innovative.

Would love to see a 21C Museum Hotel here.  I think almost all of their hotels are in historic buildings. 

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So I’m going to push back again on the accepted wisdom that saving the building is the correct move. To be honest, I haven’t seen a convincing argument yet about why keeping the Hall House standing will have tangible benefits for Uptown and the city more broadly other than vague declarations of preserving history and adding character. It seems to have been pretty well established that this building is historically and architecturally insignificant, so other than keeping something that is old there is nothing of note to preserve. As far as character goes, Charlotte made the decision long ago to focus on new development. A single brick building is going to have a negligible impact on the overall character of this area of Uptown. I think there’s an argument to be made that even a 5 over 1 apartment complex could add more character and more life to the area than this building. The apartment building would bring more street level retail than a hotel lobby, and the retail would be more accessible (from both a socioeconomic and pedestrian point of view). Imagine if the building included micro-retail spaces like Railyard. That could do wonders for Uptown and North Tryon. And I’ll repeat my assertion that adding the several hundred full-time residents that the apartment would bring would make the area infinitely more alive than a refurbished luxury hotel. The residents could support so much more retail and the full-service grocery that Uptown lacks. Residents would be more likely users of transit than hotel visitors. Residents would fill the area’s parks and plazas and patronize the beautiful new library once it is built. And it’s not like there’s a shortage of high-end hotels already built and in development in Uptown (Iveys, Dunhill, Kimpton, JW Marriott, Intercontinental, Hilton, Ritz, etc). At the end of the day, who is a city supposed to be built for? The people that live here or the people that visit.

Which brings me to my next concern, which is that this vigorous effort to preserve this building has left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. For decades, the city (and especially its politicians, even recently ahem Larken) have had no problem keeping quiet while developers bought up and demolished old buildings in the name of progress. So it’s an ugly look when people finally take a stand in the name of saving history to delay or halt a project by the public housing authority that is bringing affordable housing. I realize that that isn’t the intention, but it seems that more often than not the quest for the “right” development comes at the expense of poor people. It’s reinforcing the message that center city isn’t for them. I mean there’s comments in this thread that the city’s signature street isn’t the place to build a midrise apartment complex. Why not? Why shouldn’t there be a place for poor and middle-class residents to live in the city’s prime areas? And let’s be honest, the fact that there’s plenty of surface lots around could also be used as an argument that “signature” developments could go elsewhere just as much as a reason for this project to go elsewhere. Election after election affordable housing is among the top concerns for Charlotte voters. So this effort to save the building seems misplaced and unlikely to garner widespread public support anyway. Plus, losing 12 stories of bricks with no inherent value other than its age seems like a small price to pay for giving part of the city back to the people who live in it.

One last note, Charlotte was largely irrelevant as a city until after the 1920s. Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Greensboro, and Charleston were all equal to or greater than Charlotte in population, economy, and importance until the 20th century. So I don’t really get the heartburn caused by those cities having more turn of the century buildings than us.

TL;DR: Having old buildings is nice, but it shouldn’t take priority over other real concerns.

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