Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Downtown/Center City Issue: Design
New development and historic preservation can co-exist in the community. Many buildings can be adaptively reused to provide development opportunities. Excellent design should be promoted in the Center City, whether new construction or redevelopment is proposed.
The Nissen Building and the Piedmont Leaf Lofts are two Downtown residential redevelopment projects which are Local Historic Landmarks as well as National Register properties. The investment tax credits available to historic properties and the 50% local property tax deferral were incentives which led to the redevelopment of these resources.
The yet to be completed Civic Plaza (at the intersection of Fourth and Trade Streets) is intended to become “Downtown’s living room”. It will connect the office areas south of Second Street with the retail and entertainment areas to the north. The plaza will be a well-landscaped public park where people can meet, relax, exercise and enjoy the amenities of a wonderful urban space. The western edge of the plaza is lined with the new One Park Vista mixed-use building. A new high-rise, mixed-use development that includes ground floor retail, office and residential units is possible for the east side of the park, along with the adaptive reuse of the historic Pepper Building.
The Creative Corridors Coalition (CCC) will also have a positive effect on design in the Center City. The CCC is a nonprofit organization which aims to influence the design and implementation of roadway infrastructure projects in and around Downtown. The CCC is currently working on creative designs for new bridges over Business 40 which will be required as part of the NCDOT Business 40 improvement project. Additionally, the CCC will consider aesthetic improvements to other major thoroughfares surrounding Downtown, including bridge connections over US 52 and the proposed MLK extension to Reynolda Road and Broad Street.