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« Not so crazy, baybee | Main | Letter to the President »

Jan 25, 2012

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Ab

"why we want to do this in the first place."

$70 million.

"a downtown location will be more appealing to voters than the Coliseum complex."

"a meticulous planning and marketing campaign that explains where the money will come from and where it will go"

I look forward to your advocacy
with great eagerness.

The top earners in Greensboro
will most definately attend
knowing that everyone else is paying.

Those looking for work may not.

How are they going to bring in larger audiences
from outside of Greensboro
if they locate it downtown?

This seems like the most elitest thing
they could have thought up
for the beggining of a City Council term
as unemployment city wide is over 15%.

Brian

I hope we have the patience to do this right.

Billy Jones

The city owned shopping center at Phillips and Elwell would make an even better place. Easier access to Wendover Ave and major highways, no need to build a new building, simply renovate an old building, acres of parking, new public library next door, surrounding community in need of revitalization, no changes in zoning needed, most next door property owners wouldn't oppose, community center and ball field across the street, existing loading docks capable of handling tractor-trailers, city owned land nearby that could become part of a bigger project in the future, a signal to the citizens of East Greensboro that east Greensboro matters, close proximity to A&T and GTCC where classes in theater management could be taught, put the construction and other jobs where the people live, greener, lower environmental impact, the chance for a second downtown to grow up like in world class cities, on multiple bus routes...... the list goes on and on....

And the pink elephant no one wants to talk about: water, sewer and utilities are already ample, 50+ years newer than downtown and no major traffic problems or downtown street closings needed.

So why would my plan not be a better choice than downtown?

Billy Jones

I just drove by there on my way home-- there's 5.6 acres for sale on the corner of Woodbriar and Phillips, directly across the street from the Bessemer Shopping Center with 5 ramshackle houses sitting on it. No property in all of downtown Greensboro can match the footprint of those 2 properties combined. Nobody wants to live there because it's next door to Patio Place Apartments. And the prices for the land alone will be $Millions less than downtown.

So why would my plan not be a better choice than downtown? Better than the already congested High Point Rd @ Lee St?

Anyone?

michele
"So why would my plan not be a better choice than downtown?"

Ask somebody who worked at Winn Dixie when it was located there.

Ed Cone

Revitalization of other parts of the city is a great idea, constantly posting the pretend proposal to put a PAC in east GSO, less great.

Ernie McCracken

"So why would my plan not be a better choice than downtown?"

"Nobody wants to live there because it's next door to Patio Place Apartments."

I think you answered your question.

John Amberg

I continue to be amazed at all the discussion/articles/blogging about this proposed performing arts centers and absolultely no mention of the Carolina Theatre.

The N&R does an article on this proposed center, and no mention of the Carolina theatre, no quotes from Keith Holliday or Brian Gray. Ditto the once proud news station that is now a sad joke, WFMY.

It's as if the Carolina Theatre does not exist.

Is there no room for discussion on upgrading/refurbishing a perfectly presentable existing performing arts center in downtown Greensboro? Have numbers been run comparing a rehab of the Carolina Theatre vis a vie purchasing land, and constructing from scratch a new project? Is it not even worth exploring?

michele

@John: See this post.

michele

@John, also, the Carolina Theatre is mentioned in comments at a few posts at the N&R regarding a performing arts center, but I didn't find it mentioned in an article. Billy noted in a thread at Joe's that the Carolina Theatre is owned by a non-profit and not by the City. It seems that the Council is looking for a public option, if I'm not mistaken? This may be why the N&R hasn't brought it up.

Billy Jones

Michele, "Ask somebody who worked at Winn Dixie when it was located there."

Please explain.

Billy Jones

Ernie McCracken, "I think you answered your question."

Are you saying there is a Greensboro neighborhood so unsafe that residents would be afraid to attend performances there? Because if you are then that's all the more reason for the city to take an interest in developing said neighborhood in such a way as to reduce crime and make the area safer.

michele

Billy rhymes with silly.

Ernie McCracken

John,

Do you know who is responsible for promos at the Carolina Theatre? You mentioned in a previous thread that you had done some in the not-so-recent past, but do you still do work for them? The reason I ask is because I believe the theatre is seriously lacking in that department. Case in point, a moe. show from a few years back. I've been seeing moe. since 1996 and didn't know they were playing there until a few hours before showtime. I found out about the show on Facebook. Turns out I wasn't alone either as there were only about two hundred people at the show. I could say the same about a Derek Trucks Band show in 2006/07. Same problem, had no idea until day of. The theatre wasn't nearly as empty, but still..

Also, I thought the Carolina Theatre held about 1,500, but that number's closer to 2,200 (Is that a valid number or have I been Wikipedia'd?) - 260 seats less than War Memorial Auditorium. Unless the proposed downtown PAC is going to be much larger than War Memorial, I can't imagine how the Carolina Theatre could ever compete with a newer, more modernized structure.

Don't get me wrong, War Memorial Auditorium is hardly a memorial to our veterans anymore as it's a disgrace on the inside, so it probably needs to be razed and rebuilt. But yeah, where does Keith Holliday come down on all of this? After all, he was a huge proponent and champion of downtown Greensboro's revitalization efforts while on city council.

Billy Jones

Ed, "Revitalization of other parts of the city is a great idea, constantly posting the pretend proposal to put a PAC in east GSO, less great."

Pretend proposal? Please explain and then please go on to explain how the empty lot across from your downtown office or anywhere else within the Greensboro city limits is in any way, shape or form better than my suggestion to place the performing arts center on Phillips Ave.

Brian

It's alive with a FB page now:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-the-Downtown-Greensboro-Performing-Arts-Center/336915959662959

tom phillips

All this discussion is interesting but you're missing the elephant in the room. Raising $30 milliom + from the private sector. Good Luck!

Ernie McCracken

"Are you saying there is a Greensboro neighborhood so unsafe that residents would be afraid to attend performances there? Because if you are then that's all the more reason for the city to take an interest in developing said neighborhood in such a way as to reduce crime and make the area safer."

Billy, I'm saying that most, if not all performing arts centers locate in an area around impressive, visual landmarks. Downtown Greensboro and the Greensboro Coliseum are impressive, visual landmarks. Patio Place Apts. and a largely vacant shopping center, not so much. I live off Summit and could walk to your proposed PAC, so I "feel your pain." But being someone who travels across the state and region to attend concerts, I can attest to the fact that I def. do research on areas that are close to a specific venue before making full travel arrangements. So, I don't foresee many, if any tailgaters at the Phillips Ave. location, nor do I foresee any economic impact on that area aside from gas sales. Then again, maybe you just oppose the deal altogether?

Billy Jones

Tom Phillips, "All this discussion is interesting but you're missing the elephant in the room. Raising $30 milliom + from the private sector. Good Luck!"

Granted, that's true but an even foggier elephant is the antiquated water and sewer services in downtown, congestion, street closings that could last for years hurting downtown businesses... My idea wouldn't have any of those problems. How many Millions will the necessary upgrades to an already century old sewer system cost and how much of that cost is not in the proposed budget to build a downtown PAC?

Billy Jones

Yes Michele, Billy rhymes with silly and I've known that since at least the first grade but you still haven't made yourself clear when you say, "Ask somebody who worked at Winn Dixie when it was located there."

Just what does that mean?

Ed Cone

Tom, $30 million + does seem very high. I wonder what number might be doable?

Billy, you know the arguments for walkability, street life, nearby cultural venues, restaurants and night spots, critical mass, etc, and you know that neither the Coliseum nor some random site elsewhere in the city offers those things. You may not agree that those are reasons to put the PAC downtown, but pretending that there isn't a specific case is a little tiresome.

Billy Jones

Ed, "Billy, you know the arguments for walkability, street life, nearby cultural venues, restaurants and night spots, critical mass, etc, and you know that neither the Coliseum nor some random site elsewhere in the city offers those things. You may not agree that those are reasons to put the PAC downtown, but pretending that there isn't a specific case is a little tiresome."

I'm sorry the bigger picture is beyond your focus. If a performing arts center were built where I propose then there would be room for all the amenities to come there, thus establishing as second downtown Greensboro. A walkable area with all the things you mentioned could be planned instead of the haphazard proposals that are being developed by downtown investors. Developers could buy up surrounding properties for pennies on the dollar compared to buying downtown properties. Much of the properties already have mixed zoning and because better than half of the area is rental properties that landlords have been unsuccessfully trying to unload for 20 years or more, they would be happy to make way for commercial development.

The shopping center property combined with the adjacent 5.6 acres on the market have twice the footprint of any downtown location.

Downtown Greensboro is tiny-- think big picture. Fact is: There is no practical reason not to locate the PAC on Phillips Ave, albeit plenty of political reasons.

bubba

"Is there no room for discussion on upgrading/refurbishing a perfectly presentable existing performing arts center in downtown Greensboro?"

It doesn't fit into the Coliseum Cabal's plans for world domination.

Billy Jones

Ernie,
Ever been to Atlantic City, NJ? The first time I went there as an adult I looked out the hotel window and said, "Why in the hell did they put this beautiful casino in the middle of a damned slum where nobody wants to go?" I was working and had to be there.

Now granted, Atlantic City has a beach and a board walk that can be considered attractive but nowhere in Greensboro is there a beach or a board walk so it's apples to oranges.

Besides, have you seen the new library on the same property? Stunningly beautiful and a PAC next door would ensure the library stay's beautiful.

bubba

"Billy, you know the arguments for walkability, street life, nearby cultural venues, restaurants and night spots, critical mass, etc...."

Yes, all those things that the self-styled elites, those several percent or so of the local population that will ever use it, demand from amenities lie this PAC.

We all know why they won't even begin to consider your suggestions. These people don't live there, don't work there, don't shop there, don't go to church there.......why would they want to get their cultural needs fulfilled there?

Billy Jones

Ed, "Tom, $30 million + does seem very high. I wonder what number might be doable?"

Whatever the numbers, Phillips Ave would be far cheaper.

Ernie McCracken

Yes, Billy, I have been to Atlantic City, NJ. To compare Greensboro, NC with Atlantic City is beyond ridiculous, although I do have what many would call a gambling "addiction" and could use a legal means of betting, or two.

"Besides, have you seen the new library on the same property? Stunningly beautiful and a PAC next door would ensure the library stay's beautiful."

Now you're just trolling. While it's a fine library, do you really think concert/play-goers are going to hit-up the good ole public library before and after a performance? A bar or two and a set of nice restaurants make more sense. But hey, keep up the good fight.

Billy Jones

Ernie, "A bar or two and a set of nice restaurants make more sense. But hey, keep up the good fight.

That's exactly what I'm talking about. Downtown hasn't the room to grow but East Greensboro does. And like I pointed out to Ed, people will sell out cheap so that there's space to build all those things. And build them in a way that makes sense for far less than will need to be spent downtown.

Downtown boosters want a PAC to fuel continued growth downtown. I want a PAC in east Greensboro to start growth.

I've witnessed 50 plus years of sinking Millions upon Millions into downtown Greensboro, it's time downtown learned to stand on it's own 2 feet so the remainder of Greensboro can prosper.

The City of Greensboro is by far the largest landowner in East Greensboro with almost 2000 acres under city control-- it's time those city owned properties began generating revenue for the citizens of Greensboro instead of being a drain on our tax base.

Nowhere else within the city limits is there as much land available.

But hey, there are some shopping centers on Randalman Rd that would be great locations although the price tag would be considerably higher.

Ed Cone

A downtown performing arts center, by definition, goes downtown.

That's what people are discussing when they discuss a downtown performing arts center.

Billy is talking about something else. It's not as different as, say, a planetarium, but it's not a downtown performing arts center.

FWIW, I don't think the track record for stand-alone, build it and they will come projects of the type Billy describes is very good. Certainly Atlantic City is not a great example -- it went from being a hellhole to a hellhole with a thin strip of casinos, and even those aren't doing very well.

michele

Billy, instead of writing provocative things like "build a performing arts center!" or "build a Trader Joe's!", can you maybe write about some realistic suggestions for businesses or organizations that could locate on that property (or others in east Greensboro), that could help spur redevelopment there? With all due (so much!) respect, it sounds a little silly when you make absurd proposals about an area of town that needs common sense, workable solutions. I realize that you're trying to draw attention to the problem, but I think that you can do more. You have a great deal of common sense and creativity. You must have some good ideas about what would work in that part of Greensboro -- real ideas to draw investors and attract jobs. I know that you're not a fan of the "powers that be," but you are a fan of east Greensboro. I know how smart you are and that you know that area like the back of your hand. Think big. Think real. I'm listening... Love you, friend.

Andrew

DPAC in Durham was built for $48 million. That split between public and private investment seems much more plausible than $70 + million. City staff, Ed Wolverton, and other downtown folks should make the short trip east and see how they made it happen.

Ed Cone

+1 Michele

bubba

"...can you maybe write about some realistic suggestions for businesses or organizations that could locate on that property (or others in east Greensboro), that could help spur redevelopment there?"

Why don't you put that question to Robbie Perkins and Roy Carroll? They usually seem to find a way to work situations like this to their advantage.

Ernie McCracken

"Why don't you put that question to Robbie Perkins and Roy Carroll? They usually seem to find a way to work situations like this to their advantage."

Bob, you have no friends. You and your lady have two dogs, and that's about it. You go pay attention to them and stop trolling the interTrONZ. In addition, you live in deep NW Greensboro. Your opinion means nothing to anyone involved in this discussion. Stop trollin'.

michele

Bubba, I don't know Robbie Perkins or Roy Carroll. I know Billy. Robbie and Roy haven't commented on Ed's blog (as has Billy) about wanting to bring redevelopment to east Greensboro. Robbie and Roy don't live in east Greensboro. Billy does, and I've been to his house and quite enjoyed meeting the chickens and seeing the garden. Billy is my friend. He cares very much for his community and he is intelligent and creative and full of ideas. I wrote a comment to exhort and encourage him, not to make a political statement.

Billy Jones

Michele,
Nothing would spur growth in East Greensboro more than a $70Million Dollar infusing of taxpayer's money and the responsibility of the City to take care of the taxpayer's investments. Currently the City isn't fully vested in East Greensboro, a PAC on Phillips Ave would force the City to become fully vested vested. After all, East Greensboro already has a Walmart, which, by the way, made a lot of money for several someones who never lived in East Greensboro or cared what happens here.

And, Michele, I still want you to explain, "Ask somebody who worked at Winn Dixie when it was located there."

Am I going to have to start implying what you meant?

Ed: "Billy is talking about something else. It's not as different as, say, a planetarium, but it's not a downtown performing arts center."

No, not a downtown performing arts center, a Greensboro Performing Arts Center that won't be another toy for Greensboro's elite who have no problem with making the rest of the city do without to protect their own downtown real estate investments. I'm talking about investing in an entire city and not 2 square miles in its center while neglecting the rest of the city.

Billy Jones

PS, Michelle, nevermind, I wish I'd seen your last comment before I clicked publish.

bubba

"I'm talking about investing in an entire city and not 2 square miles in its center while neglecting the rest of the city."

It's not time yet for Robbie to run for re-election.

michele

Billy, I literally meant for you to ask them what it was like to work at that location. It's a high-crime neighborhood and there were a whole lot of problems (understatement) at that store. One of their managers got sliced open by a shoplifter with a razor, for example. Your initial question was why would Phillips and Elwell not be better than downtown and my immediate thought was that there are probably dozens of former WD employees who could answer that question for you. But I honestly thought you were being facetious with this. I do think that area needs redevelopment. But it doesn't make sense to put a performing arts center there, with nothing around it. It's definitely on my brain now, though. "What would go well there...??"

bubba

"You and your lady have two dogs....

Really? Where have they been hiding?

"In addition, you live in deep NW Greensboro. "

Really?

East of Battleground is considered "deep in NW Greensboro?"

"Your opinion means nothing to anyone involved in this discussion. Stop trollin'."

Really? Why are you even bothering to respond?

Tell you what, Ernie. Out of respect to your tender sensitivities, I'll preference my next comment with "Don't read this, Ernie."

Will that make you happy, pilgrim?

Billy Jones

Michele,
The City doesn't want to admit it but business are not coming to Phillips Ave and the rest of East Greensboro because the City won't meet its obligation to protect said businesses. The story about the grocery store backing out because they had another store nearby-- pure BS. The Food Lion on East Market has the highest crime rate of any Food Lion in the state-- no sane grocery chain will locate in such an area.

But, if the city were committed like they would have to be committed to a PAC then businesses would come. And the cheapest land in all of Guilford County is available to them.

I would love if you could come buy some time and let me show you what I'm talking about. I think it would change your mind.

Billy Jones

Michele and others,
I admit, I began being facetious about this a few days ago but sometime between then and now a light came on for me. A performing arts center in East Greensboro-- even if only half as big and half as expensive as others want to build-- could become the gem of East Greensboro and could open up a new way of thinking.

Greensboro's leaders are wearing blinders. They see downtown and think it needs to grow to protect the real estate market and the central tax base but what I'm seeing is a means to build not just a downtown but an entire magnificent city. And being that the city already owns the land plus about 1900 more acres in East Greensboro, why not turn that tax drain into a money maker?

Billy Jones

Bubba, "It's not time yet for Robbie to run for re-election."

Good one, Dude! ;-)

Ernie McCracken

Don't play these games Robert Grenier. Just stop it.

michele

Billy, what if it was built in conjunction with A&T? I could definitely see that.

Billy Jones

Michele, "Billy, what if it was built in conjunction with A&T? I could definitely see that"

I actually mentioned A&T and GTCC is one of the many threads where I've posted about this. (Can't remember which one.) By all means, both them, Bennett, UNCG, GC, Guilford, Elon and any other interested schools should be involved. There should be classes in everything stage related and the venue would make a great daytime educational location. It's 2 miles from A&T and about a mile from GTCC on East Wendover.

Like I said, big picture...

Ernie, be nice to Bubba, he's just being the Bubba we've come to love over the last decade...

Can Y'all believe it, we have been doing this crap for 10 years?

Billy Jones

PS. Michele, I've got a connection in the President's office at A&T-- she would be all over this. She's married to one of my riding buddies and I've known them 22 years.

John Amberg

Sorry, late getting back to this thread. To answer the question about my involvement with the Carolina Theatre (was it Ernie who posed the question) I do not work for the Carolina Theatre, I never have. I RENTED the Carolina Theatre on a few occasions as a representative of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society in order to put on some shows; all but one were blues shows (the other was a zydeco show for a Mardi Gras themed concert).

My only point was I just don't want to see the Carolina Theatre get the short shrift in all this talk about a new performing arts center. I think expanding/enlarging/refurbishing it should at least be considered.

Billy Jones

John Amberg, "My only point was I just don't want to see the Carolina Theatre get the short shrift in all this talk about a new performing arts center. I think expanding/enlarging/refurbishing it should at least be considered."

I agree, but for those who aren't aware, the Carolina Theatre has already been short shrifted by the very proposal the City Council passed. The bond issue is about building anew, not saving what we already have. To them this is business as usual. You see, for Greensboro's status quo leaders, a performing arts center isn't about performing arts, it's about real estate investment and development for which they were all standing in line at the taxpayers' trough long before the rest of us heard of the plan.

An East Greensboro performing arts center could be built for half the cost of a downtown performing arts center leaving money available for things like the Carolina. Which, by the way, was the first place I ever saw a movie even before we had a television or a telephone in our east Greensboro home.

Ed Cone

John, I think the Carolina is smaller than the type of building under consideration, and could remain relevant in a downtown arts scene that includes a new facility.

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