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    History, historic preservation, pedestrian and transit issues, higher education, economic development.

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Whistle-Stop (3/14)



  1. I think it's correct that not a lot of city neighborhoods are getting resurfacing funding from the penny tax - though a lot of city arterials are state roads and quite a few of them will get re-surfaced. I guess many of them were not in as bad of shape as some of the county neighborhoods.
  2. Yes, some of us have been pushing pretty hard to get the city to hire a director of planning for a while. It's been unfair to have Martin Livingston carrying that portfolio while carrying his other duties, and I am looking forward to seeing what having a full time professional focused on planning can do for us. I'd asked, does the city want a bureaucrat or a visionary, and was told pretty directly that we want a visionary. I think there's still some staffing up to do in the planning department.
  3. My sense is that this is part of the Superblock - some of the developments that are part of the baseball stadium, office buildings, hotels, apartments are actually happening on this block. JDA already owns the HJ building, and has an option on the rest of the block, so really the HJ block is going to get redeveloped as part o the larger office-apartment-hotel development.
  4. The Gibbs folks wanted it zoned B-3. I felt like it ought to be DT-5, but the planning commission was sort of weirdly composed the night it was on the docket. It went to Council as B-3, I think - mostly for the density that B-3 allowed for apartments. Otherwise B-1 might have made more sense. Staff sort of went out of the way to tell Council they could take a different path and they weren't bound to stick to B-3 as recommended by Planning Commission. (In fact, the previous month, planning commission had substituted B-1 for a petition for B-3, so there is discretion in this process.) I vaguely recall that Council may have passed it as DT-5 but then it never came back for second reading - probably because the developer asked for a pause.
  5. I'll be honest, this is a disappointing comment. I have really come to expect a better informed level of conversation on this site than I get on freaking Nextdoor or Facebook. The mis-information and dis-information (I can't tell which it is) is pretty deep in this one. As already noted, your reassessment may have gone up the maximum 15 percent, but that does not mean your property taxes will go up that much. And yes, presumably those new homes will be adding to the pot. That said, the road fee only generated, at its peak, $8 million dollars in any one year. That might pay for 8 or so miles of road improvements. All of those projects are listed on the county website. The county has something like 1700 miles of roads. And they shared some of that revenue with municipalities. The county only got a couple million from SCDOT, and SCDOT only spends about $20 million a year on road work in the Spartanburg area.
  6. I have gotten the sense that the office building will front on West Main Street between the AC and the railroad tracks. Don't ask me where I heard that... I also get the sense that there's supposed to be a central plaza in the area as well - probably designed to connect the AC, the other hotel, the office building, residential, and the garage... I'll admit the stadium took up more space than I realized it would - I didn't have a great sense of the distances in the superblock. I'm intrigued to know what the space fronting on Daniel Morgan will be - I'm guessing it's one of the residential buildings, but I suppose it could be the hotel... As I recall, the Herald-Journal block is a part of the mix - so I suppose an office building and even a residence could be on that block... There's certainly room for more than one building there. But I know it's mostly speculation at this point.
  7. On trees in the parking lot - not really sure of the answer, but it may depend on how much they spent or what percentage of the value of the property they spent on any renovations. Looking at the tree section of the zoning ordinance, that appears to be the case - it's 50% of the appraised value... or if the structure is demolished or increased by 50%.
  8. More than one, even! SAM at the Chapman Center, Johnson Collection on Morgan Square which has an amazing collection of southern art... Artists Guild Gallery at Chapman as well...
  9. Post and Courier story on the new GM of the baseball team being named, largely an interview with him. https://www.postandcourier.com/spartanburg/news/spartanburg-baseball-team-s-new-gm-talks-new-role-new-team-name/article_f72e79e2-6122-11ee-9f13-d3cd51788fa7.html/?tpcc=sptsocial&fbclid=IwAR1tph3NwxCzdP2qFkSZFBVVZsjtgPJekBvMd-QJHyPbe6SGvw7RVzjWq6Q Highlights - the name and mascot have been selected, it's something based on community input, but won't be revealed until spring 2024. Diamond Baseball Holdings is, sort of as I expected, planning many other events for the stadium when it's not being used for baseball games. They recognize that there's a lot more to baseball games than baseball. Groundbreaking on the stadium should occur within the next month or two.
  10. That project was going to be hard to accomplish given the way it was zoned. Our zoning ordinance doesn't really comprehend that type of "light industrial" that was more assembly than it was manufacturing. I kept asking that question, and I got different answers, but I finally concluded it would have to be zoned I-1, light industrial, and there was simply no way that was ever going to pass. Also I'm not sure it's even legal to have industrial and residential properties right next to each other. Even though I think that the South Church corridor is mixed use more than residential, there's still residences behind that site. I do think the zoning ordinance needs to evolve to allow these small scale assembly-type enterprises in commercial zones, because there was nothing offensive in any way about the manufacturing that was proposed. Also, given the limited amount of city land that is zoned for industry, if we don't change to allow things like this in more parts of the city, we are never going to get any manufacturing jobs in the city close to people who need jobs. But, there was clearly opposition from the neighborhood - I sat through several of those meetings, and also saw a string of public comments at City Council. Some of it was distrust of the city, and some of it was fear (of pollution) but also fear of rising property values, increased property taxes, gentrification. There were complaints about potential traffic. There were also demands for an entirely different type of development - which at this point I think are unfeasible for that location. This, on top of the Piggly Wiggly closing, is really not going to help make things better on the Southside.
  11. I don't think 1600 spaces is insane, particularly given that one garage is not slated to be completed until January 2028 - the one that is listed as W. Broad. I would bet that it would service anything developed on the Herald-Journal block redevelopment. The other two garages - Grain 1 and Grain 2 - total 950-1200 spaces, but remember, those would likely have to serve people in an office building or residences or the hotel - and maybe the existing AC as well, and not just baseball stadium parking. That also does not include the roughly 600 spaces in the new city-county building garage. So that's potentially 2200 new spaces on the south and west end of downtown. Will be interesting to see if anything else comes out of the council meeting on Monday.
  12. The City Council meeting packet for Monday night has a draft development agreement for the properties involved in Project Core, between the City and JDA. It's an even bigger parcel of land than we've been talking about on here. It includes the land surrounded by West Main, Daniel Morgan, West Henry, and the railroad tracks, but also the HJ block - the block surrounded by West Main, Daniel Morgan, West Broad, and South Spring, and the city-owned properties at the corner of South Spring and West Broad - across from City Hall. It also has some timelines. https://spartanburgsc.portal.civicclerk.com/event/157/files The agreement discusses the financing in more detail, and it discusses construction of 3 parking garages with approximately 1,600 spaces. The agreement makes reference to a 150-room hotel, 2 multi-family housing structures with nearly 400 units, and 2 office buildings with a combined @200,000 square feet of space, with completion dates between 2026 and 2031. The 5 private buildings - residential, hotel, and office, are actually over $300 million in developments. That's on top of the stadium and garages and infrastructure. Some of the details are finally getting made public. Big news.
  13. No, I don't think they're giving up on the lots fronting on Church Street. I agree that we will see this in phases - I think the administrative offices for the city will very likely be in the 187 building for 2-3 years. I am speculating here, but I think they can build the mixed-use development on the Spring Street side once the land is cleared, and perhaps Nautilus and/or Blue Moon might move into spaces in that development before their spaces are demolished and the city-county building goes up on the Church Street side. The other thing is, perhaps for a few months they can continue to allow public use of the parking lot until they get closer to building a new parking deck.
  14. The developer told the Planning Commission that he couldn't really make the financials work with the apartment buildings - and the garage. But, while this will be a rental community at the start, it will be designed in such a way that eventually the townhomes could be sold, which I think in a way is better. The developer also wanted the additional density, but it just wasn't feasible right now. He did request, and was granted, a 10 percent density bonus, so the lots will be slightly smaller than is required in R8-PDD.
  15. I feel like the environmental objections have been way overblown - the city would not be interested in having this company in the city if they were going to pollute. I think the facility will be a lot better than what's there, and it seems like the best opportunity for that site in a while. I'm not saying I think you jump at the first opportunity, but this one seems actually pretty good. The notion that some folks have of some mixed-use facility seems very unlikely at this point.
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