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« Fun for the whole family | Main | Mañana de domingo »

Jan 23, 2010

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Tim

with Dennis Quaintance doing this its not surprising. This hotel would directly affect his investments. Despite legitiamte questions surrounding this project, quite frankly i'm tired of all the negativity. Give this project a chance. Its pretty clear people want to ignore the fact that this project isnt just a hotel. Yes there are legitimate questions but its just odd that some people in the community are going to such great lengths to attack this project despite the fact that its privately financed. I personally think SOME of the skepticism is based on racism. After all, we have never had an African-American take on a project of this magnitude in the city. Its interesting because other developers who were white males also proposed downtown hotel like the developer out of Greenville, SC and none of those proposal, even though they eventually fell through faced the kinds of attacks this project is facing. There is evidence of some of it being based on race. just read some of the comments on other blogs and you'll get the picture. Yes Weekly had in article earlier this month about it.

Ed Cone

Tim, race is an unfortunate subtext in many issues.

But vague allegations of racism are not helpful, and they are not a credible attack on people who want answers about this project.

You point to comments at other blogs, to which I would reply, yes, assholes abound.

But how is that relevant to the discussion here?

Who are you calling racist, and what evidence do you have?

This is an anti-racist blog, but that doesn't mean you can trump all arguments by just saying the word.

Unless you back up that vague charge of racism, Tim, it's weak, ugly stuff, and it's pretty much an admission that you've run out of things to say.

Tim

Im not calling any one person a racist. I'm just speaking of the overall mood of the project. This isnt the first hotel project thats been proposed for downtown. At least two ther developers had proposed luxury boutique hotels that were just as questionable yet we didnt see the same kind of negativity towards those projects. Wanting answers on the project is one thing. But out right nasty attacks and name calling by some is another thing. Im not saying that kind of behavior has been displayed on this blog but I have read comments elsewhere thats pretty nasty.

Ed Cone

Projects don't have moods, Tim, people do.

Please flag any "nasty attacks and name calling" here, or by people cited here, and we'll deal with them.

Otherwise, there is plenty to discuss.

Tim

you're right people do have moods and that is clearly obvious. If this hotel project were being built with city funds like the swim center, Id be dead against it and people would have every reason to be concerned. This is a private investment so there shouldnt be any concern from the average tax payer. But in a way I understand why many are concerned because there has been so much spin and misinformation put out there. Kaplan and Chrisholm arent idiots. Both are intelligent business person who would not be doing this if they think the project would not succeed. I've heard all the crazy conspiracy theories that Kaplan and his group is just wanting to get rid of the Elm Street Center because it as profitable as they would like it to be. Seems to me they are doing just the opposite because adding hotel rooms to their meeting space means they will have more meetings and conventions. Now that we have a new report saying the hotel will fail, people are buying into that as the gospel truth. yet NO ONE has addressed the fact the report doesnt include the other revenue generating portions of this project. Everytime I have brought that up, its been ignored.

Ed Cone

Tim, I have ignored your repeated references to additional revenue streams because the gap in occupancy rates projected by the HVS report (and others) is so wide that such a relatively small addition seems highly unlikely to address the problem, and I have not seen anyone connected to the project saying otherwise.

You can drop the part about Chisholm only supporting a viable project -- she was all over the South Elm and Lee plan, which nobody thought would work.

I would love to see a great new hotel in downtown Greensboro. I'm a believer in intangibles, and I would support something that even came close to having a fighting chance.

Downtown does not need a failed project.

Let's take our time and see if this one has a legitimate shot at success. I hope it does. So far, the numbers have not been friendly.

Tim

Ed, I think it depends on how much of this project is going to be office and retail. We should hold out judgements and refrain from saying its gonna fail until we see the final plan. You mentioned the hotel being at South Elm and Lee being unrealistic but some time ago you supported the idea of the ACC Hall of Fame being built there. Many would say the Hall of Fame is the wrong location for that site for the same reasons its the wrong site for the hotel. But there are a lot of local smart business persons in real estate that support this project including Robbie Perkins. Is he an idiot? The last thing you said is so true "Let's take out time and see if this one has a legitimate shot at success" Thats all i'm saying. I read the reports and I know what they said and no it shouldnt be ignored. But I also have faith we that those obsticles like Southside. I know I keep bringing that up but its another case where local developers frowned upon an outsider coming in proposing something, which at the time, was unrealistic. And you went by the figures and development trends of the time it was unrealistic. We forget that the Southside neighborhood looked a lot like South Elm and Lee and had the same negative perceptions. The idea of a neotraditional neighborhood there with townhomes priced as high as $500,000 was ludicrous. The developer went forward anyway and now Southside is the best example of infill redevelopment in our city. Its also a neighborhood that received national awards. What if the developer had listened to skeptics and backed off? I think its pretty clear it would still be a brownfield with boarded up homes today.

Ed Cone

"We should hold out judgements (sic) and refrain from saying its gonna fail until we see the final plan."

Right.

That's what makes comments like this -- from you, yesterday -- "The best thing to do is to move this hotel project forwards and hope that it succeeds" -- seem irresponsible and unrealistic.

Tim

So we should try to fight the project and stop it from getting built? The project either moves forward or it doesnt. Kaplan and his group are very aware of that recent report and you can be sure they are tweaking this project so that answers the concerns of the skeptics. This project has evolved from it original conception and it will continue to evolve. The multi-story deck that was going to be built beneath the hotel is being replaced with office, retail, restaurant(s) and who know maybe corporate apartments. Thats several floors of office space and retail, not just a few store fronts facing the street. Secondly it depends on the hotel chain that will be associated with this hotel. If its a Hilton or a Courtyard by Marriott, its going to have a much lesser chance of success because this hotel would have a brand on par with the Marriott down the street and would have much higher hotel rates. This is why Kaplan and his group said if this is not a Wyndham or a Westin type hotel, his group isnt interested in moving forward with the project. Those brands bring with resources with them. Kaplan did state two big chains are interested. Add to the fact that the banks are committing to back this project. I think once the final plan is revealed to the public more people will be satisfied and have more confidence in it. Right now there are things in the project thats not being discussed yet and that typical of any project that being proposed.

Ed Cone

Tim, I believe you are incorrect in assuming that hotel firms "bring with resources with them."

I have not heard anyone suggest that additional investments are on the way from a hotel chain, and I don't think that's a common arrangement in this kind of deal.

We all know Kaplan is "aware of that recent report," because we read the article describing how the Business Journal shared it with him on Wednesday.

How his group responds to the report by the people Kaplan calls "the experts in evaluating the marketplace" will be interesting to see.

Tim

Actually Kaplan himself made the suggestion in a new article about the brand bringing resources. I think it will be interesting to see the response. People keep refering to this project as the hotel. I think this project will be more of a mixed-use project than people realize. Developers usually like mixed-use projects because its less risky than a single use project. Its interesting because looking at the rough sketch, the hotel portion seems to have been moved directly over the Elm Street Center as oppose to being built behind it. They are making room for other uses. They could have gone taller but I guess that would increase the overall construction costs. High-rise construction is generally more expensive so by cutting the costs, they are cutting the risk. Some years ago yhe original idea of a hotel here was a 15-story 200 room hotel directly behind the Elm Street Center.

Tim

oh yea here is a direct quote from Kaplan

"a national chain like a Wyndham or a Westin must also agree to back the hotel. Without an upscale national brand and all the resources it would bring, Kaplan says his partners aren’t interested in going forward."

Abner Doon

Dear Tim,

"A myth is a fixed way of looking at the world which cannot be destroyed, because, looked at through the myth, all evidence supports that myth."

Edward de Bono


"there are a lot of local smart business persons in real estate that support this project including Robbie Perkins. Is he an idiot?"

Robbie is not an idiot, he is an oppurtunist with multiples of conflicts of interests, like Commissioner Alston, and yet your support is unbending to any morally relative downside like unintended affects on competing businesses.

I hope you realize proposals by business subsidized by government in which some in government benefit is an affront to what America supposedly stands for.

Tim

I'd like to know how Robbie Perkins directly benefits from this project.

Personally I think the american recovery and reinvestment act is a good idea. I'm a liberal and i'm proud of it. The ARRA will stimulate the economy and not at the risk of taxpayers. The hotel project will generate both temporary and permanent jobs and this is true all across America with the many other projects that qualify. If the private sector can't do it then yes there needs to be some intervention. Without government intervention, the economic crisis would still be in free fall.

David Hoggard

I'm telling you guys..... It ain't worth it... The back and forth will be never-ending, circular and redundant.

Should Deena Hayes, et al, go forward with a protest march - I think I'll dis-own Greensboro. All that Weaver and Quaintance are asking for is a full accounting of what has gone on until now. A reasonable and needed request in view of everything I know (not much) and don't know (a lot) about this. If everything is as it should be, I would think that such an inquiry would be welcome by the deal-makers to instill public confidence.

Interjecting race into this matter is just plain wrong and unhelpful - but so predictable.

Sue

What Hogg said.

Most intriguing comment in today's N&R article about same: [Mike Weaver] “I said, 'You’ve got to be kidding.’ And he [Skip Alston] said, 'You can stop it (the march).’”

Does that sound like a threat issued by someone trying to stymie open records laws? You better stop your perfectly legal and about-time demand for public records or you're responsible for 'ruining' the Museum's opening? Laughable. Weaver Foundation (among other foundations) SAVED that Museum from a premature demise. Someone's growing too big for his pants...as my mother would have said.

Brandon Burgess

Skip Alston and Deena Hayes just defecated all over everything the Civil Rights movement stood for. I feel sick after reading that article.

I'd like to know exactly what racial overtones Deena Hayes is referring to?

Tim

The crap has really hit the fan now. I don't know but it seems to me that Dennis and Weaver are trying to do some digging in hopes to find something that would disqualify the project from getting the bonds. I respect their knowledge in the hotel industry but its not up to them to decide if this project goes forward. But the race issues is likely the reason why many have backed off trying to fight this and you can understand when you read nasty racial things on other blogs. I even heard one person say the reason Chrisholm teamed up with Kaplan was so this project "could have a white face" and that Kaplan is being used as the spokesperson despite the fact hes not the lead developer. People need to wait and see the finally plan before they go off on a rant because it will only make them look foolish when they discover that there are things in the project that will make it feasible.

Brandon Burgess

I call bs. I don't think Skip will allow a march, not that day. And having the march any other day wouldn't have the same impact.

The arrogance of these politicians just blows my mind.

Roch101

"We should hold out judgements and refrain from saying its gonna fail until we see the final plan." -- Tim

But judgment that it is worthwhile is acceptable before the final plan, apparently.

Tim

How come we never judged three other downtown hotel projects before this one?, All of which were questionable in economic bad times.

Tim

I do think if this march goes forward it could get national attention or at least state-wide attention if its held on the day of the museum opening.

Certainly thats bad press for the city

Doc Alexander

Tim, enough with the hyperventillating.

There is nothing racial about Weaver asking to see public records.

Deena Hayes is making this about race, as she does about everything. She can't help it. She is quite literally a babbling idiot.

Alston is trying to strong-arm Weaver. Did he issue a threat? You bet he did.

More of the same; identity politics and white liberal guilt are the twin engines that drive much of the crap in this city.

Bubba

"More of the same; identity politics and white liberal guilt are the twin engines that drive much of the crap in this city."

Exactly.

It's part of the "business as usual" doctrine.

Tim

I think the motives are clear and NO I do not think Weaver or Dennis are racist. They are trying to protect their own investments and their monopoly in the luxury hotel market in the city. so you are right this is all politics and not race. As I said it seems to me Weaver wants to do some digging in hopes to find some legal loop hole that will disqualify the project from getting the bonds. Otherwise, why do it? If it is discovered that there was something flawed in the process, it could be legal grounds for this project not getting the bonds.

Tim

Oh yeah, didnt someone say on here that Dennis was considering a small downtown hotel just before Urban Hotel Group announced their project? I think that information should be brought to light as well.

Ed Cone

"I think that information should be brought to light as well."

It's not really hidden in the shadows:

Quaintance, whose O. Henry and Proximity hotels have earned him a national reputation, says he has wanted desperately over the years to build a hotel downtown. “We would love to have done that,” he says. News-Record, 1/18/10

Quaintance was interested in putting a smaller hotel downtown, but the City brushed him off because he didn't have a plan in place by mid-December. EdCone.com, 1/06/10

Brandon Burgess

Tim, what projects are you referring to? What projects haven't been judged?

As for the other guys proposed hotel, wasn't it half the price?

RecycleBill

Tim,
The paint is flaking on the windows of your downtown townhouse but then, like any "successful" project in downtown Greensboro it's all really a cheaply built facade.

Seriously Dude, you really need to look close at the outside of the windows on the townhouses before they start to rot.

Spag

Ed's questions are built on arguments developed by others, but I give him credit for asking them.

Tim, how much are you getting paid for your lobbying efforts here and will you tell us who is paying you?

triadwatch

another twist in this issue is to see who the law firm is that is representing weaver and Quaintance. It is senator hagan's husband charles or chip whatever they call him.We know they want local transparency and are asking the city and county about this issue but there might be some state and federal request that might need to be taken a look at as well.

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