Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why razing NoDa really isn't a good idea

Plenty of you disagreed with my previous analysis of the threat to NoDa from the transit-oriented development. Many people said, in essence, it's dump, tear it town. I predict you'll get your wish within the next 10 to 15 years.

Those of you enthralled with all-new development that wipes away anything that was there before seem to think it's about nostalgia. It isn't. It's about entrepreneurs and small businesses, the very basic elements that build a local economy.

New buildings have expensive rents. Old buildings have cheaper rent. Old buildings breed entrepreneurs. It's not the architecture, it's the price of the space.

As urbanist writer Jane Jacobs put it, "Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them. ... If a city area has only new buildings, the enterprises that can exist there are automatically limited to those that can support the high costs of new construction. ... New ideas must use old buildings."

In addition, companies that lend money to developers to finance new developments typically require that the space be leased to "proven" retailers, in other words, chains. That's why you don't see small, local businesses going into new buildings. Starbucks is welcome. Smelly Cat Coffeehouse isn't.


Anonymous said...

That's how this city has been developed. Tear down the old, build a sterile new box in it's place. This is why it's devoid of a soul.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mary.

Anonymous said...

Mary couldn't be more spot-on about this. Frankly I myself have become a little callous toward the older, somewhat derelict buildings at the fringes of NoDa. It's easy to be tempted by the "what if" of light rail and highrise development.

But the reality is that NoDa is fundamentally different than almost any other area of Charlotte, in that it is made up mostly of older buildings. Few structures in the neighborhood are newer than 50 years, and most of the bungalows and retail stores are in the range of 80 years old.

Even if NoDa gentrifies to the max, which really hasn't happened yet the way it has in Dilworth, it will still retail the same kind of "quirk" that exists in Dilworth, Plaza Midwood, etc. And the reason it can happen is because creative individuals will always have some opportunity to live in the district for affordable rents -- just as you can easily find affordable living space in 4th Ward if you really look for it. If those older buildings are wiped out and replaced with new towers (a la Tryon St.), NoDa will be uninhabitable to the middle class.

It took a second thought about the subject, but I can see Mary's point regarding the development of NoDa. Whatever happens there, there should be some shared goal within the community not to let the neighborhood be razed and converted into an exclusive enclave that's off-limits to the creative class -- those whose hard work and sacrifice made the neighborhood desirable in the first place.

Anonymous said...

What's your defintion of high rise? Do really think 50 story buildings will crop up in NODA. I'd expect that it's more likely they'd continue popping up outward from the CBD.

Anonymous said...

Well, then the entrepreneurs can move on to the new areas, the "next" areas and make a go of it. And probably make a pretty profit on the way. You can't freeze progress. Unless of course you allow all the neighborhoods around the city core to stay at their current density and encourage continued outward growth, ie Suburbia. Then yes, you can keep all these places like they are.

Charlotte is a growing city, people have to go somewhere. Perhaps the NODA galleries and entrepreneurs can move to the old warehouses on North Tryon. Or out to the crap that lines Independence Blvd.

Tom said...

Doesn't matter how tall the building is, the fact that it's brand-new and carries "new building" rents (or in the case of condos, no rents at all) is the problem. Her point is that it's vital to the economy of a city to have a mixture of property values. If you get a whole bunch of new buildings, the old buildings' rents will skyrocket and overnight the mixture disappears. Opportunity dries up for 99% of the population along with any chances of locals being able to remain in their own neighborhood. Suddenly you've got a one-flavor economy in that neighborhood, which is not the way you keep an economy healthy.

Anonymous said...

So now that's it's white people being affected, it matters. Where were you whiners when all the previous residents were being pushed out by higher rents?

Anonymous said...

Excellent rebuttal Mary. I'm one of the Urban Planning grads who responded to your first post. I agree, that moving forward, NoDa must maintain as much of it's historic buildings as possible. That's the charm that's attracting people there in the first place, and without them, what does the area have to offer? It has no grocery store, doctors offices, dry cleaners, or other such services. The only real thing the area currently offers is being an entertainment district.

I tend to disagree with your summation that if rail transit comes, that NoDa will be completely wiped clean though. The majority of the NoDa CBD (Central Business District) has been restored, and spaces are occupied by shops, restaurants, bars, condo owners, galleries, etc. Those buildings have had a lot invested in them, and aren't going anywhere. I was extremely sad when they tore down the old Fat City building to make way for condos... but I just don't see where that can happen elsewhere in the area. The old mill buildings sound like they have a second (technically third) lease on life coming, and they're really the only buildings in danger of being lost. The majority of the old mill homes are nicely restored too, and certainly aren't going anywhere. It's not like Charlotte has a shortage of early 20th century bungalows anway...

My guess is any large scale redevelopment in NoDa will occur across the railroad tracks on 36th Street heading towards North Tryon/ and north and south of the NoDa CBD on North Davidson, where there are mainly bunker looking mid 20th century warehouses. NoDa proper is pretty far down the gentrification chain to lose any major blocks of historic buildings. When rail comes we'll mainly see infill development (which is exceedingly positive, IMO), a la the Mercury NoDa development behind the Neighborhood Theatre. I agree that most new development will be sterile compared to what's already there, but at least the Mercury property isn't tearing down anything existing to make way for the new.

Dilworth may be Charlotte's poster child for gentrification gone awry, but even Dilworth isn't totally devoid of old buildings and soul. Though there are Starbucks and Outbacks, there are places like Dilworth Coffee and Bonterra to offset them. It's all about balance.

So in the end, I still disagree that new development will adversely impact NoDa. It's already lost the majority of it's "creative class" citizens, so it must keep itself relevant moving forward. I feel that an urban mixed use village of new and old buildings that the light rail will bring couldn't be any better for the area. It will help balance the lopsided nature of what the area offers (lack of services, etc), and make the area more competitive with the likes of Plaza Midwood, Dilworth, etc. But that's just my informed opinion :-).

LifelongCharlottean said...

It is a shame that so many beautiful structures in the south have been torn down by unappreciative northern transplants and shortsighted enterprising southerners. We have so few old buildings left in Dixieland... I love the new Charlotte, but I love the old Charlotte too. Noda isn't somewhere I like to hang out (especially after dark) but I appreciate its unique charm and want to see it preserved. Interesting blog Mary, thanks.

eye_dee_ten_tea said...

Please. History in Charlotte consists of bronze plaques in the sidewalks.

When your local GovCo bends over backwards to hand the keys to the city to any developer who wanders through, what do you expect but bulldozers and Bradford pear trees?

Especially if you keep electing the same bunch year after year....

I totally agree with the first poster - you nailed it.

Anonymous said...

Heck, I am a broke writer and have lived in Dilworth since I moved to Charlotte 4 years ago. There are still affordable apts if you know someone, or look hard enough and don't mind living in old quads.

I don't want to NoDa to end up exactly like Dilworth since they have different vibes but we still have plenty of locally owned businesses along East from decades ago like Berrybrook and PaperSkyscraper to name a few. It does not have to be all or nothing in NoDa either.

Anonymous said...

"Old buildings have cheaper rent. Old buildings breed entrepreneurs. It's not the architecture, it's the price of the space."

Have you tried renting space in NoDa? You might be surprised at how cheap is isn't. And retrofitting some of the older structures in NoDa to bring them in line with more modern purposes doesn't come all that cheap, either.

I'm all for NoDa maintaing its state of funky hipness, but let's not pretend it is the epicenter of all that's independently cool in Charlotte, okay? It's great to hang out there, but the ambience there has sort of flatlined. It needs some new blood, some new energy.

I doubt NoDa is in any eminent danger of being "razed," but again, it's beginning to get a bit stale.

Anonymous said...

It's about entrepreneurs and small businesses, the very basic elements that build a local economy.

No, Mary. It's about the free market, something that you seem determined to destroy or at least micromanage into nonexistence. Entrepreneurs and small businesses will survive if they provide value to their customers, or fail if they don't. The same is true for buildings; if the owner of a building thinks he makes enough money with the building as is, then he'll keep it. If not, then he'll either sell the building or tear it down and replace it with something more profitable.

You seem determined to maintain NoDa as some sort of theme park, a shrine to bohemianism. The only way that will happen is if the people who own the buildings there choose to keep it that way.

Stop trying to manage stuff that you don't own.

Anonymous said...

God forbid anyone actually tries to make a profit in NODA.

Anonymous said...

...and mary gets hostile when the rest of the community laughs at her warped views...

I can name many old buildings in thei town that don't have the 'affordability' mary's so-called entrepreneuers want. how many buildings in boston have 'affordable' rents mary? Huh?

The fact is, Noda, will keep its edge as much as Dilworth, Plaza Midwood, and others have, yet it will still be more expensive than it was 15 years ago. Putting a light rail line right next to 36th St. where people could be dropped off into the ehart of the neighborhood will make the place even that much better.

That said, having some additional mid-rise buildings mixed into the neighborhood, and perhaps some high rises on the other side of the tracks toward Tryon would make Noda cooler than all the other in-town neighborhoods, but only if we let it.

If Mary has her way, ther will be price freezing, and absolutely no chains (as if they're all that bad).

Mary, you lived up in Boston for almost a year. If you got out a little more up there, you would know that old and new buildings, chains and local stores, yuppies and bohemians, all next to a rail line works very well. Why not down here too?

Now go chain yourself to the Coffee Cup shack or something.

Brandon Brown said...
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Anonymous said...

Why was the last comment removed? He wasn't saying anything wrong.

Anonymous said...

Light rail corridor is already existent in the old Norfolk Southern(the original NS) right of way that heads out through NoDa to Albemarle Rd. and on to Star. Just as the old P&N exists over to Gaston County, light rail can be reestablished at a much more reasonable cost than the Lynx line. Provide reasonable transportation alternatives and current energy prices will certainly provide the momentum for motivated use by the general population.

Anonymous said...

The assumption that rent is cheap in NODA shows how out of the loop you really are...

Anonymous said...

>>New buildings have expensive rents. Old buildings have cheaper rent. Old buildings breed entrepreneurs.<<

I disagree with Marys assessment. New buildings do not equate to higher rents.

The cheap rents in NoDa, prior to the mid 90s, was due primarily to industrial spaces having been neglected and not being maintained over many many years. Most, probably all, buildings had issues like roofs were leaky, plumbing/electrical in disrepair, poor lighting, and little security in a high crime area. Landlords chose to keep rents low in lieu of spending money on repairs and maintenance. Even with the cheap rents, the main users were industrial tenants with price sensitive uses.

I agree that entrepreneurs are attracted to old buildings but its old buildings that have some degree of neglect which gets reflected in the rent rate. Ideal for a start-up entrepreneur on a shoe-string budget.

While those types of cheap spaces become harder to find in NoDa, new buildings are not the cause. Lets help make them a part of the solution by welcoming new projects that include spaces geared to small businesses. It can be done if NoDa maintains its vision and remembers what has helped make it a great neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I would totally disagree that anything else in Charlotte needs to be torn down, especially NoDa. It's one of the only areas left that says "Charlotte". I lived in the coty of San Diego for 7 years and had the priviledge of living in an older San Diego neighborhood called North Park. I was there recently visiting and staying with friends who live in North Park. It was great waking up in the mornings, taking a walk, stopping at a local spot called Marie's on Universtiy Blvd. in North Park to have breakfast.

Charlotte thrives to become a "World Class" city by any means necessary including tearing down anything that represents the old Charlotte. It kind of makes me sick to the stomach.

A city can become a "World Class" city without having to give up the past. Chain retailers such as Starbucks will come, in fact look at the area (Pike Place Market) where Starbucks was founded in Seattle.

I honestly believe that the citizens of this city should start filing serious lawsuits to block the demolishing of any of the older neighborhoods, buildings, etc that truly say "Charlotte".

Anonymous said...

SouthEnd has old buildings but whars the cheap rent there??

Bloc90 and Mercury are new NoDa projects but are a lot cheaper than Atherton Mill or Lance building.

A good mix of old buildings and new ones should make for a more eclectic neigborhood, imo.

Anonymous said...

In support of an earlier comment, I happen to own a piece of land which has old 40+ yrs buildings on it. As it is the rent per renter is cheap, but is satisfactory to me. My renters are looking for cheap rent, cheap being relative, which I am able to provide as the buildings are old. I have been asked to sell, but want the amount of rent I would net over the next 8 years, so my asking price is too high currently. At some point in the future, someone will see a profit in paying me, razing the buildings, running my tenants off and doing something with a higher profit.

The point is there are people/businesses looking for lower rents because their business doesn't require higher rent locations.

These places will always exist, but they will always be changing locations.

Lewis Guignard

Anonymous said...

I have a strong distaste for NoDa. I posted yesterday how I think it is 2 blocks worth of nothingness. However, this is my personal opinion, and as a planner guided by the AICP Code of Ethics, my personal opinions on structures and culture aren't allowed in my assesment of an area.

With that said, I still hold firm that you need to let CATS do whatever is COST EFFECTIVE. Even if it means destroying a a "cultural area" like NoDa. Rent isn't determined by the age of the building. In fact, that is the poorest example of anything that resembles the real world. Rent could be more expensive on older building for historical purposes, maintenance and other reasons. Plus, if you make NoDa a historical area, rent would most definitely go up, as preserving or renovating a building would cost so much more than just replacing the average window. Not only that, any change to the building at all, if it went through the city, would require you to bring the building up to code, which I'm willing to bet it won't be, especially if the building is 40+ years old.

Before you make a statement of how low rent is subjective to the age of the building, OR that small business' are barred from newer buildings, look at these few examples...

Charleston homes on the battery... small boutiques that line Founders Hall... small resturants that line Tryon St in downtown... all examples of buildings that are either old and have high prices or new buildings with local "non-chain" type business' in them.

Also, do your homework on similar places that are "historic" and see how much it costs and is a hassel to replace the smallest of worries, like a door knob. You don't want NoDa a historic area, you really couldn't afford rent then!

Anonymous said...

Transit is not a threat to NoDa!! We can keep the old and build new too!

Anonymous said...

Screw being a "world class" city. Seems to me that the price of being "world class" is that we get taxed to death and the money wasted on stupid things that we don't need.

So when you get mugged out in front of the new NASCAR Hall of Fame, you can blame Charlotte's leaders for spending money on shiny toys instead of basics like police and roads.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

NoDa needs this. It was never going anywhere as it was. It will now become a "destination" in the next three years. Currently it barely keeps you entertained for more than a few hours a month at best.

Anonymous said...

When's the last time your Bumpkin ass came into uptown ?

Not that I have to explain myself to a name-caller like you, but I live Uptown and have for a very long time now. A very good friend of mine and his girlfriend were kidnapped at gunpoint right off the street on the same block where I live, and made to drive to an ATM. Luckily, no one got hurt and the "urban youths" were arrested. Whether or not they did any meaningful jail time is another story, of course.

But don't try to tell me there is no crime Uptown.

And I suggest that in the future, you get your facts straight before you start calling people "bumpkins" and such. The fact that you used that word demonstrates the sort of person you are.

Anonymous said...

The fact that it bothered you tells me you are from the south and with what happened to your friends that you likely live near Gateway Village (may as well be the ghetto) since a few 100 yards down the road and you are "on the other side of the tracks".

You need to thicken your skin.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, no: I am not from the South. And you were wrong about the neighborhood, too.

Just admit that you were wrong. Just because you haven't been the victim of a crime does not mean there is no crime. I haven't been the victim of a crime, either, but I recognize that this city has a tendency to follow your apparent philosophy of 'most people are OK, so there's not a problem.'

Anonymous said...

And why are you still living there if it's so bad?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It seems like a LOT of the folks disagreeing with Mary have missed her argument completely.

First, she is not arguing to save the "charm" of the area by keeping old buildings. While it's true that older buildings are more charming, and newer buildings usually much more sterile, that's not the point of this article.

Second, it IS true that newer buildings bring higher rents. That's just an economic fact -- you have to cover the cost of the building or else you won't profit from building it. So whatever goes into that new building will necessarily be much more expensive than what it replaced.

More importantly, the remaining stock of older structures will see a sudden increase in land-value pressure. Every time an older building is razed, the remaining ones become that much more expensive... even to the point of being artificially inflated. You end up with a 4th Ward type situation where there are some highly-visible, extremely expensive older structures that are only accessible to the super-rich, and the rest is overpriced, lower-quality newer stuff. It wouldn't "kill" the district but it would certainly cease to be an active cultural area.

So then enters the question of whether government is charged with the job of protecting these areas. To that I respond: if the government has a CHOICE to preserve the area or not, based on its decisions having to do with a major public project, then yes it IS the government's job to do its best to protect the general interests of the community. There are more ways to measure the success of public projects than by dollar signs -- creative districts have a general value to the community that transcends the desire of an individual property owner to inflate his own profits. Nobody in NoDa has the "right" to make artificially high profits off a public project that is intended for the general good of the city. I wish we would have learned from the way the Harris family raped taxpayers during the construction of 485, changing the function of a transit project to line their own pockets.

Mary's argument DOES have some validity, and frankly there are a lot of "regulars" to this blog who need to be a little less knee-jerk about opposing her every time.

Anonymous said...

Please explain the 4th ward comment. I've lived in the ward for 8 years and have been in about every home and condo on the home tours over the years.

I have now moved into a great 2 bedroom corner unit at Avenue and the building is hands down light years ahead of any other condo or home in the ward.

The views, technology, amenities, all the glass, you just can't beat it.

Anonymous said...

So anon 11:09, what are we supposed to do? Halt everything and put a protective barrier around NoDa so it never changes?Sorry, the cat's out of the bag now. It started 15 years ago when the gallery owners moved into a dilapidated part of town and others followed. Some buildings in NoDa are worth preserving (all the stuff on the street fronts, etc.), some aren't (warehouses on the other side of the tracks, etc.). A few additional new buildings, some of greater height, will give Noda a true urban feel that everyone here seems to be advocating. A light rail station right in the middle of it all steps that concept up even more. The fact is, many old buildings have expensive rents (especially if they're brought up to code), and many newer ones do have cheap rent. There is nothing artificially high about the price of a building if someone is willing to pay it. The fact is, if Mary had her way, this city would be in a complete pause and nothing would happen. Until she comes up with a viable plan that is financially sound and doesn't infringe on the rights of individuals and property owners, her rants are nothing but a farce. NoDa should keep moving forward in the direction that it's going, as should South End, Uptown, and the rest of Charlotte.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

12:06 - The 4th Ward comment was meant to draw attention to the fact that 4th Ward is actually made up mostly of buildings from the '70s through the present, not historic structures.

Even though it is clearly the most "traditional" district in the city and I like it for the most part, 4th Ward succumbed to "market principles" quite a long time ago. The result is that most buildings there fit into one of three categories:

1) Original Victorian and bungalow housing which is impossible to touch unless you have a seven-figure salary.
2) Cheap apartment structures from the 70s and 80s, most of which are severely overpriced considering their condition. These are squarely in the bullseye to be torn down and replaced with newer structures.
3) Brand-new stuff, most of which is also out of the price range for ordinary individuals.

As a result, the only middle-class folks in 4th Ward anymore are the students living 3 to a room, and the Salvation Army residents. It's a good neighborhood but not very well-rounded (no families, no kids, no blue-collar workers).

This will be the future of NoDa unless we think more carefully about its development. Simply going in and tearing out old structures to replace them with money-makers is a surefire way to cut off the district from the middle class and kill any creative vibe it might try to retain.

12:49 - Hopefully we as a society are smart enough to find a compromise between two extremes. The capitalist free-for-all is no better than totalitarian socialism. Both screw over the majority by putting politics ahead of on-the-ground realities.

Let's be constructive about this and find a way to create policies which protect the district, preserve its heritige, keep the place open to the general public AND make a little money in the process. It can be done, provided everyone is willing to give a little ground on the political dogma.

Anonymous said...

Unless you actually own a building in NoDa, I have a hard time understanding why you would think you are entitled to any say in what should be done with any buildings in NoDa. Last I saw, they were pretty much all private property.

Or are you some kind of socialist?

Anonymous said...

The fact is, if Mary had her way, this city would be in a complete pause and nothing would happen.

In this regard, Mary is exactly like my dad's wife: She wants everything to remain exactly as it was when she moved in. It's an extreme form of NIMBYism in which the NIMBY demands that the entire community should change only in ways that they approve of.

Mary thinks of NoDa as a place of art galleries and offbeat shops, so in her mind that should never change. Tell ya what, Mary: Why don't you buy up NoDa, all of it? Then you can decide how it should operate.

Tom said...

Unless you actually own a building in NoDa, I have a hard time understanding why you would think you are entitled to any say in what should be done with any buildings in NoDa. Last I saw, they were pretty much all private property.

Oh please, stop with the "Red Scare" tactics already.

How many millions of "incentive" tax dollars flow into huge businesses on Tryon St. or in Ballantyne? We don't live in a free-market economy, business development in the New South is HIGHLY dependent on tax breaks and special programs. It's not Stalinism, it's the way American capitalism works.

I see nothing wrong with redirecting tax money away from the Big Three and instead putting it toward small-business incentives in NoDa; financial relief for those who would rather preserve than demolish but lack the resources to do a good job of it; and cultivation of "area appropriate" businesses like art galleries and theatres as opposed to fast-food restaurants and nightclubs.

If I'm not mistaken, these types of incentives were key in developing NoDa in the first place. So in a sense the taxpayers deserve to have their investment protected, rather than the "typical Charlotte" strategy of footing the bill for development and then handing it over to a private developer for massive personal profits which never find their way back into the public realm because they're stashed in an offshore bank account.

I agree with the comment above that people need to drop the politics and think constructively about the situation. NoDa is more than a collection of private properties, it's a very public gathering space with shared interests involved. And it's not as though anyone in this conversation has proposed anything that could be described as heavy-handed. We have an opportunity to make some good happen, let's take advantage of it while there's still time.

Anonymous said...

It's not a "Red Scare tactic" to defend private property owners' rights to use their property as they see fit. People like Mary seem intent on trying to force NoDa to be what they want it to be, even though they have no personal financial stake in it. That's wrong.

And a lot of us are opposed to all those tax dollars being used to incentivize businesses in Uptown or in Ballantyne, too. There is no need for it, and those dollars could be better spent on things that actually remain in the entire public's benefit, like improving roads or hiring more police officers or DAs.

Anonymous said...

That's all fine and well, but going around calling people "socialist"s is just ridiculous. Unless you are willing to call every business on Tryon St. "socialist" you need to keep that sort of thing to yourself. We are all adults here.

Anonymous said...

I call 'em like I see 'em. When government starts running businesses, that's socialism. A certain amount of it is expected, in the form of licensing and such, but we do not need government dictating to neighborhoods how they must operate because some busybody decided that it must be so.

If NoDa is changing, then let it change. Some other neighborhood will probably become the new NoDa.

Anonymous said...

AGAIN... nobody has suggested that the government "run" businesses in NoDa. You are the only person who has talked about that possibility, and only in the context of a straw-man argument you can label as "socialist". Perhaps you're fooling yourself, but you're not fooling anybody else.

Every square inch of business property in Charlotte is subsidized in one way or another, at some level of government. Billions of dollars' worth of tax breaks, exemptions, infrastructure imrpovements, and other "goodies" from the pork barrels have stimulated business growth uptown, in SouthPark, all around 485 and in University City.

What you are saying is that NoDa should be sacrificed to the gods of predatory development, even when the city has the tools available to ensure its healthy growth for decades to come. And while I understand your position based on principle, it seems to me you're more interested in the political "statement" to be made than you are in the on-the-ground reality of the community's future.

This city has had quite enough namecalling and straw-manning. Please keep your politics on the sideline.

Anonymous said...

Is this Mary's version of "Jane Jacobs v. Robert Moses?

Anonymous said...

Hey Mary, I was just out in Noda this evening. I noticed a lot of empty storefronts in the old buildings, plus the old mellow Mushroom building? Where are these local entrepreneuers you say will fill these buildings and preserve the NoDa you say you love? Maybe some overhauls to the area might not be so bad.

Anonymous said...

^ Haven't you been paying attention? The whole point of the conversation is that NoDa is right in the bullseye for major growth in the next 5-10 years. The question is, should local policy be designed to preserve the neighborhood and allow entrepreneurs to grow new businesses there, or simply allow the developers to move in like vultures and create Southpark 2.0?

Anonymous said...

The question is, should local policy be designed to preserve the neighborhood and allow entrepreneurs to grow new businesses there, or simply allow the developers to move in like vultures and create Southpark 2.0?

Read: Should a policy be designed that prevents private property owners from upgrading their property, selling it, or doing anything else that might cause rents to go up and the nature of the neighborhood to change? Or should we allow* people to own and manage their own property and therefore get out of the way of the neighborhood's natural evolution, as was the case in the time before NoDa was NoDa?

* This really isn't good word use. "Allow" implies a right that society does not naturally have. Property rights are an individual right, not a societal right.

Anonymous said...

^ Once again, for the umpteenth time in this conversation, we see false choices being presented. We don't have to choose between stark totalitarianism or laissez faire capitalism. There is a middle ground.

For example, the city might provide incentives to homeowners wishing to restore the historic bungalows, as a way of giving them an edge over predatory developers who would want to scrape them off for parking lots. That's not "running" anyone's business, nor is it taking away anyone's property rights... it's simply encouraging healthy behavior and evening the playing field for individual property owners to do something other than sell out to larger interests.

That's just one idea. There are countless options available for those who are open to consider them. But the worst thing we can do is dive into ideological trenches and beat up on each other politically, while the issue at hand slowly slips out of control.

Anonymous said...

", or simply allow the developers to move in like vultures and create Southpark 2.0?"

First, developers aren't evil, many are entrepreneurs themselves. Second, what is wrong with Noda becoming Southpark 2.0 (which I highly doubt will happen)? Would you rather it stay ratty and have to worry about getting shot all the time? Some thing in Noda work, other things don't. Quit trying preserve things that don't work just because you are not comfortable with it. I can't wait to see what NoDa looks like in 5-10 years. Hopefully like South End, but much hipper.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean "preserve things that don't work"? NoDa isn't exactly a failing neighborhood. The whole reason we're having this conversation is because people are falling all over themselves to move in there... clearly hipness and funkiness and artsiness "works" for Charlotte.

The problem is that too many people in the city are so passionate about defending corporate developers that they're willing to make this place the next Florida before it's all over. Of course, then they'll all say they want to move away because things changed so much, and boo hoo how the city council let it all go to hell in a handbasket... never mind the conversations we're trying to have RIGHT NOW to preserve what is left of Good Old Small Town Charlotte.

You can't have it both ways... either you want the city to be gobbled up by outside interests and developed until you no longer recognize it, or you don't. You can't gripe about change and then obstruct preservation.

Anonymous said...

For example, the city might provide incentives to homeowners wishing to restore the historic bungalows

Tax dollars, you mean. Let's be honest with our word use, shall we?

I personally don't see how it benefits 99% of the people in this city to pay property owners to keep things the way that they are. It's an even worse use of money than paying farmers not to grow crops.

Anonymous said...

Tax dollars, you mean. Let's be honest with our word use, shall we?

Not necessarily. Perhaps they are simply taxed at a lower rate than the norm. You advocate lower taxes, do you not? And would you not agree that small, independent business owners should see a reduction in their tax burden?

I personally don't see how it benefits 99% of the people in this city to pay property owners to keep things the way that they are.

I don't see how it benefits 99% of the people to allow developers to destroy the cultural fabric of the city, either. We have had enough runaway development on the fringes of Charlotte and every day we see signs that the city is buckling under the pressure -- high crime, underachieving schools, congested roads, few police. Why not FOR ONCE make a policy decision that favors local residents instead of outside developers, and see what happens? If it fails, we can go tear down an historic church to make you feel better.

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily. Perhaps they are simply taxed at a lower rate than the norm. You advocate lower taxes, do you not? And would you not agree that small, independent business owners should see a reduction in their tax burden?

A reduction in tax rate still equates to giving them tax dollars, no matter how you slice it. This bandying of semantics is like when Peter Gorman gets less of an increase than he asked for for CMS and he refers to it as a "cut".

I would like to see taxes reduced... for everyone, not just for people who live in "special" areas. Why should NoDa owners catch some sort of break that Uptown, or Ballantyne, or SouthPark owners aren't eligible for because they live in a newer area? And I'd also like to see our elected officials stop wasting money on things that don't benefit everyone.

If it fails, we can go tear down an historic church to make you feel better.

That's cute.

Tom said...

A reduction in tax rate still equates to giving them tax dollars, no matter how you slice it.

Orwellian quote of the day above. Everyone enjoy.

Why should NoDa owners catch some sort of break that Uptown, or Ballantyne, or SouthPark owners aren't eligible for because they live in a newer area?

For the same reason that people in those areas benefit from public projects that have no effect on NoDa -- because not ALL things are intended to benefit ALL people. That is why you are expected to pay for 911 services you never use, construction on roads that you'll never drive, salaries for policemen who don't patrol your neighborhood, etc. It's part of being a citizen in a COMMUNITY and not some hermit living alone in the woods.

Anonymous said...

3:21, no we get to the crux of the matter. I don't want to preserve 'small town Charlotte'. The is the same 'small town Charlotte' that didn't want Noda in the first place because small towns don't like the type of crowd the NoDa's of the world attract (i.e., gays, freaks, creative types). This is why I don't think developers or outsiders are evil. The fact is, certain things in NoDa don't work and certain elements of the neighborhood DO need to change if the place is really going to reach its full potential. If that means a few people with deep pocket and a vision to think out of the box to make it happen so be it. Just don't tell me some old two-story building that's sat empty for months should be saved because NoDa and 'small town Charlotte' shouldn't change. Most importantly, government shouldn't stand in the way either if the market is going tom make things better. Common sense people!

Ed said...

Amen, much of everything that made NoDa interesting is being pushed out. That don't make no sense.

Anonymous said...

I don't think he literally meant that Charlotte should be preserved as a small town, but that the city's history should be kept intact as much as possible. The most common complaint about our city is that it lacks "soul", well I remember a day when it had plenty of soul but it was all bulldozed. The most interesting places in town are those that were not touched.

I repeat: The most interesting places in Charlotte today are those that were NOT scraped off for the latest trend in corporate development. If you think the city is resistant to "creative types", wait till places like NoDa and Plaza Midwood are carbon-copies of Birkdale. Then there won't be any soul left to preserve.

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