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Greensboro groups work to push courthouse ahead

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G'boro groups work to push courthouse ahead

Matt Harrington

The Business Journal

GREENSBORO -- After several months of inactivity due to budget constraints and shifting priorities, plans for a new federal courthouse in downtown Greensboro are moving forward again, thanks in part to the efforts by city officials and economic-development groups.

Dan Lynch, vice president of the Greensboro Economic Development Partnership, said that his group, together with city officials, Downtown Greensboro Inc. and the Triad Congressional delegation, met recently with the Atlanta-based U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) about providing assistance in acquiring the necessary land for the massive, $55 million courthouse project.

GSA is responsible for selecting a site and overseeing project development.

Lynch said the site selection process has been narrowed to two downtown locations. While he would not identify those, they have to be in the central business district.

"We've walked two different sites in downtown," he said. "We're working on two different strategies on how they could acquire those sites at a discount or maybe free of charge."

Lynch declined to discuss what scenarios were being considered to help that process, but said he city representatives were aware of how Charlotte was able to provide the federal government with a similar site at no cost.

According to reports from the Charlotte Business Journal, a sister publication, Charlotte purchased 3.3 acres in the city's downtown for $10.7 million in the hopes that it could be the site for its new courthouse.

City Manager Ed Kitchen could not be reached for comment on whether Greensboro would consider a similar solution. Gary Mote, a spokesman for the GSA, declined to comment on the site-selection process.

The federal government had previously announced it was searching for a new site for a courthouse in Greensboro, where the U.S. Middle District Court, U.S. Middle District Bankruptcy Court and related agencies would be housed. The plan called for a 274,000-square-foot building. The height of the building would be determined by the size of the site.

Fred Preyer, a broker with Grubb & Ellis/The Bissell Cos. in Greensboro, had worked with the GSA, which manages federal property, in identifying potential sites. Preyer said some of first sites considered have been sold or developed.

As the article said, the height of the building will be determined by the size of the lot. Most likey it will be a high-rise especially if the go along with the plans to include the federal building with the proposed 2,000 seat concert hall as one complex at Bellemeade and N. Elm Streets. The timing would be about right because Action Greensboro would likely be ready to start phase 2 in the upcoming months of the downtown revitalization plan by getting architectural plans done up for the concert hall. Keep your fingers cross that it will be an high-rise. Greensboro is long over due for another tower and it would only improve Greensboro's skyline.

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