Greensboro City Council Briefing 5/8/07

Much discussion today about the former Canada Dry property. City Manager Mitch Johnson gave a little overview of the property.
* total area is 9.5 acres
* real estate appraisal will be back this week (I assume Greensboro govt. is paying for appraisal)
* asking price is 3.2 or 3.7 million dollars, depending on who is talking
* the property will only be sold in total, not divided into individual parcels
* some of the property was given to Elon College who now owns an undivided interest
* preliminary inspection shows it to be a high-hazzard site
* problem with a well or stream on one corner of the property and maybe underground contamination
* existing building constructed in 1932 contains asbestos and lead
* this property is in the "master plan" for Greensboro
* funding options include money left from sale of other properties including former downtown library building

Then the hard-core sell began.
First Coliseum Manager Matt Brown gave his usual reasons for spending money at the Coliseum
* this is the most important real estate property in the city.
* ACC Hall of Fame will be an asset to the state and to Greensboro
* we have 2 million from the State of North Carolina toward locating an ACC museum in Greensboro
* a wonderful place for the Visitor's Center
* fits into footprint of total coliseum needs
* would offer more parking for coliseum and visitor center
* would change and improve look of High Point Rd., the gateway into Greensboro
* the present 1932 historic structure should be renovated
* basically needs roof repair and a little paint - using a trade agreement with Sherwin-Williams (I don't know what that means)
* keep renovation costs down, use old coliseum fixture's (replaced by more energy efficient ones)
* building would free up badly needed space in the coliseum
* a picture of Mr. Brown's vision of the new High Point Rd.
* and other stuff

One of the presenters was Ron Mack. Mr. Mack was presented as Chairman of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. His other job is Executive Vice President of Retail Sales and Leasing for Koury Corporation. (Golly, I wonder why he has such an interest in moving the visitors center to High Point Road.) Some of his talking points:
* visitors center needs new space
* visitors bureau rents space for $150,000 a year in a building that is for sale (purchasing that property was not discussed)
* there are many hotel rooms available in the area
* 80% of convention visitors stay close to area
* close to I-40 entrance into town
* business owners do not want to lease property on High Point Rd in its present state
* most businesses there are small, underfunded or start-up that can't afford to rent in a nicer area
* we don't want small struggling businesses in the area, we want big bucks investors
* if the city doesn't start the revitalization by improving this site, property values will continue to erode along the HP Rd. corridor from I-40 to the coliseum.

The presentation went on and on. The presenters talked about excitement over the prospects of the area and the opportunity that exists NOW to change the face of the area. After around 40 minutes of this, most people in the room, including City Council Members looked bored as their eyes glazed over and their attention span waned. They have heard this stuff before

A lively discussion followed. I'm too bored with the whole thing to talk about that now. I'll wait until later to write about it.


Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Diane, have they gone totally around the bend into insanity? Sandy seems all for it from some of the comments I have read on other's blogs. This property no matter how close it is to the coliseum or what all can be done with it simply has too many liabilities.

Can you explain more about the "interest" that Elon has? Brenda Bowers

diane said...

Apparently the family that owns the property donated a portion of it to Elon College. I thought it was an undivided interest, but it might be total ownership of a section of the entire site.
At any rate, I understand that the property will not be sold as individual pieces - It's all or nothing,

Contrary to a report in the N&R, the site has been available for purchase for several years with no interest shown except by the city.