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cooperdawg

Bell South Switch Building

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The Bell South building that is boarded up adjacent to the new arena, what plans are there for this site? Is this where the Uptown UNCCharlotte campus is going, or is that elsewhere? I'd love to see this eyesore go away.

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I don't think it's boarded up (you're talking about the one with the large dishes on top right?) I'm pretty sure Wachovia and AT&T fully occupy that building.......It's actually a great building, that just some attention to restore it., plus some adjacent buildings to once again hide the bare walls......there is some very impressive detailing on it though.

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Well, it's got a lot of closed off windows it appears, no light getting through. I hate looking at it from the street level as it does a poor job of addressing a pedestrian friendly envirnoment, something that area of the city will need to be in the near future. Is it better to restore it or start fresh given the dynamic changes of the surrounding blocks to stem from the arena?

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Its windows are covered up because its basically a telecom hotel. Just like the windowless Duke Power computer center at 2nd and College, BellSouth is a building filled with wires and switches. All the employees work adjacent to One Wachovia.

BellSouth should do the right thing and do some work on the exterior. It is a great building. I love those two sconces on each side of the front door. I've certainly paid enought money to them over the years to pay for some of the rehab!

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I believe that the windows have the metal cages over them is because a lot of sensative computer equipment is stored there......granted it does look tacky and there should be a better solution.

If they would build something just north of this building on the same block with a more modern style, then I think it would liven up that area.....something glassy. THe only problem there is the power plant for the building is on this parcel.

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Yep...that's it. The architectual style is Beaux-Arts I believe which is rare in this city.....it looks a lot better close-up (if you don't pay attention to the windows).......it just needs some TLC

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Yeah, that building is more of a "data-fortress" type of place. There has been a lot of investment in making the building secure and having secure lines in an out of the building. So much so that redeveloping that site would be exteremely expensive.

The building could be much more attractive, but the outside has been toned down to actually deflect attention from itself. Sort of the way photographers that have studios in crappy areas of town tend to not spruce the outside up, but if you go inside the place is awesome.

With all the development around it, and with the camera time it will be getting with the new arena, maybe they'll spruce it up.

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I agree that it is ugly with the beige window covers. Those covers are put there are to keep the equipment safe. I read somewhere that that building also goes very deeply underground.

I actually hated the building when i first moved to first ward. I am not a fan of yellow brick buildings, and it has such an industrial/poorly maintained appearance. However, but it has grown on me over the last few years. it is a 1920s old bell building that has grown over the years. I agree with atlrvr that when buildings surround it, it will just be an old building among many new ones, and won't be as sore-thumb as it has been for a long time. I think new windows would go a LONG way to making it look better. Surely they could put in secure glass, so it would look normal, but still protect their equipment.

Also, Atlrvr, did you mean bell south and AT&T? I can't imagine why wachovia would be in there.

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I suppose....though I feel like there is a small placard near the main entrance that says Wachovia on it.....not sure....I might be crazy.

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Also, Atlrvr, did you mean bell south and AT&T?  I can't imagine why wachovia would be in there.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If I'm not mistaken, Wachovia owns the land around the building. Seems like I've seen that on Polaris before.

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This is a very old building which was constructed by AT&T back in the 1920s. It was the location of Charlotte's telephone switch back in the days when you picked up the phone to speak to "Sara". LOL The last telephone operators departed from the building in the very early 1980s out to the company's TSPS offices which at the time were located on Freedom drive and on N. Tryon in the University area. (And directory assistance across from Eastland mall)

The building has been constantly been added to since the the 1920s with the last major additition being the large backside that faces Davidson street in 1978. Now in the post-break up days of the Bell System, the building houses telecom equipment for Bell South, AT&T, and a number of other companies that provide telephone service to the Charlotte area. It shoud be interesting to note that are many subterranian floors on this building as a result of the multitudes of communications lines that have been pulled into the building over the last 80 years or so.

The reason the windows are all covered up are simply due to security reasons. By the time of the cold war, the national telephone system was considered to be very important asset to a post-nuclear war government so steps were taken to secure it as much as possible. All new telecom buildings were built with no windows and steel doors and older buildings such as the Caldwell St. office were secured as much as possible by bricking up the windows. The telephone system of the time was designed so that it would still operate after a nuclear war except where there was a direct hit. (presumably Charlotte would have been targeted for a direct hit by a thermo-nuclear bomb so it is doubtful this office would have survived, but they prepared for it anyway.)

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I never knew the building carried so much significance. I still think it looks pretty unsightly, despite some of the historic features of the building. Still, it will probably look better in a group than it did as the sole building in a sea of parking it was five years ago.

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people often complain that charlotte doesn't have any grit. Well, there it is.

Imagine if they clad the outside with blue glass... it would look shiny and new, but extremely uninteresting. The current form could use some spruce, but i'm still more of a fan than a foe of that building.

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From: http://www.cmhpf.org/essays/ArchEssay2.html

I guess it doesn't have Historic designation, its just discussed in an essay about Charlotte's architectural styles, on the website of the Char-Meck Historic Landmarks Commission.

***

Beginning in 1929, Charlotte got three major buildings in the Art Deco style. Each was a branch of a large business with headquarters outside the city. The structures' progressive exteriors speak more of the increasing interdependence between cities in the era of the large-scale corporation, than they do to Charlotte's own willingness to adopt new ideas.

In 1929 Southern Bell converted its telephones to the dial system, and needed a modern new building in Charlotte to house the necessary switching equipment for the city. The Southern Bell headquarters in Atlanta had commissioned that city's firm of Marye, Alger, and Vinour to design an opulently modernistic Art Deco main office, and evidently had the same architects draw plans for smaller editions to be placed in regional centers including Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Salisbury, and Charlotte. 36 Though surrounded by later additions, the four-story beige brick main facade of the Charlotte Southern Bell building remains in excellent original condition. Limestone spandrel panels above and below the windows create a marked vertical emphasis, characteristic of the Art Deco. The outstanding feature of the facade is the carving on the spandrel panels, limestone window surrounds and entrance. The designs are a blend of abstract curves and geometric patterns combined with representational low relief sculptures: an Indian chief on one spandrel, tobacco plants, flamingos, and gryphons on others. Art-glass lanterns of abstract design highlight the entry.

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They could always put another fresco of the Hornets on the side of the building to spruce it up.  :rofl:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

As they replace the century old copper wire around uptown, they could use it to create copper art.

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there is scaffolding up on the sidewalk of caldwell just under this bellsouth switch building....

could it be that the same political pressure (and possibly funds) that caused the ugly Holiday/Trade center parking deck to get a facade has caused BellSouth to fix up the facade of this building?

I have said often in this an other threads that i like this building if it just had new windows. could it be that this is now happening?

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'Tis odd. I looked at building permits, and they have a permit for the scaffolding, but there is so far no permit for any structural work to be done. I'm hoping for the best though.

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:rofl:

great... is this another polk building? scaffolding to avoid killing pedestrians, but nothing happening to maintain the 80 year old building?

i'll hope for the best, too. i don't think this building has masonry probs, so it seems that window replacement is most likely when they eventually get to it.

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It might just be repair work.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

do they need a building permit for repair work (i assume that would be paint or some grout repair around some bricks...)? that may be it.

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