Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stumpf to Chamber: Banks 'don't build buildings'

This will be news to retired BofA CEO Hugh McColl, and his multiple lieutenants:

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf (left, in file photo), speaking to the Charlotte Chamber's kickoff breakfast for its inter-city visit described the role of banks. "We don't build buildings," he said. " ... We listen to dreams." (His point, to be fair, is that banks finance what others do.) But in the QC, of course, we believe that banks do build buildings, and lots of them. Indeed, the breakfast was taking place on the 40th floor of a building that a predecessor of Stumpf's bank (First Union) built. (Technically, I suppose, Childress Klein built it.)
McColl is to speak today at a Chamber lunch, on "Vision for Center City." I expect he'll mention a few buildings that banks have built around here.
Stumpf again, talking about TARP: "It was not a bailout." Hmmmm.
Interesting tidbit: Stumpf says he grew up on a farm in northern Minnesota, one of 11 children. UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: Our own Observer Minnesotan, cartoonist Kevin Siers, says "Uff da!" His Google research turns up a hometown of Pierz, in Morrison County, in central Minnesota. I told him to the rest of the U.S. anything north of the Twin Cities is Northern Minnesota.
Spotted on Realtor Allen Tate's lapel: A green sticker with a circle around an I-485 logo, saying "CLOSE THE LOOP." Who wants to bet I'll see more of those?
UPDATE: 11:05 AM: Want to see Jim Rogers on the Colbert Report: Here's a link.
More later. Follow Tweets about the trip @nakedcityblog and at hashtag: #icv09


Anonymous said...

Close the I-485 loop? You've got to be kidding me. What a buffoon.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:37:00 AM...

I hope you realize that Tate's pin reading "close the I-485 loop" means to "finish the I-485 loop", not shut it down. Look at ATL's loop, there is over-development, a relator's livlihood, all the way around. It's actually faster to get to Birmingham by taking I-85S, through downtown ATL, to I-40W than it is taking I-285 around the city.

Mary Newsom said...

To clarify, although I didn't ask I am positive the "CLOSE THE LOOP" sticker means to finish the full loop – you know, close the circle.

Anonymous said...

wow, last time i drove I-40W i went through tennessee and arkansas, i didn't know it had been moved to alabama. how does one move an entire interstate anyway? you must have been on the committee that did it, please enlighten us all

Anonymous said...

Just's I-85S from CLT to downtown ATL, then I-20W to BHM. And it's only about half the time that it's faster to go through downtown than to take I-285...I do it about once a month.

Either way, there's no traffic problem in Charlotte; that is, if you've ever lived in Atlanta, Houston, Washington, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles...I could easily go on.

Anonymous said...


rick b said...

Of course a realtor/developer wants taxpayers to build the rest of I-485 for him...all I-485 is, really, is a feeder to the interchanges each of which is another developers' paradise.

It's the interchanges, stupid!

Anybody who thinks loop interstates do anything other than promote sprawl, create congestion, and turn millionaire developers into billionaire developers isn't paying attention.

They certainly have nothing to do with transportation.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't know that 485 has nothing to do with transportation. I live in Mint hill. I work in Concord. When 485 opened it shaved 7 miles and 20 minutes off of my commute. In the long run, the fuel -and consequently carbon- savings alone are fairly impressive.

Anonymous said...

Loops will duplicate their designating numbers, they are not one-of-a-kind, unlike regular interstates. Jumper

consultant said...

Stumpf should be in prison. I'd like to see him in the same cell with Mozillo.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The decision to close the loop is indeed surprising. I hope better senses will prevail.

This is Joshua from Israeli Uncensored News

Mary's A-Twitter Over Center City said...

Mary, after reading the Observer editorial “Bridging divisions, destroying barriers” in today’s (June 20) Observer, which no doubt you wrote, I can understand why the Chamber of Commerce and our self-appointed civic leaders are still off-target in focusing so much time and money on “center city” Charlotte.

And now they’ll stray even further off course when they draft the Center City 2020 Plan later this year. They need to work on a comprehensive plan for the WHOLE city, not just the doughnut hole.

Like Savannah, Charlotte has far more than one “town square” to serve as focal points for different parts of the city. University City anchors much of the northeast section. SouthPark dominates the mid-south neighborhoods; Ballantyne, southeast. Ditto for NODA, Belmont, Steele Creek, Plaza-Midwood, South End and others. People obviously enjoy living, working and playing in these areas, all of which are part of Charlotte. Yet for decades the emphasis has been on promoting “Uptown” at the expense of the rest of the city.

You state that the 2020 Plan must determine how to keep the uptown economic engine working. Well, it has done quite well on its own initiative over the past 30 years, without the need for subsidized promotion on the part of various groups and organizations. You state that more stores must be brought to uptown. Fine, but when you move stores from SouthPark or University City to center city, or move arenas from the old Coliseum area to uptown, or encourage museums and attractions to locate only in center city, then other parts of this city suffer economic setbacks, and nothing new has been achieved.

You want to ensure that uptown housing can accommodate all income levels. That is commendable, but ignores the reality of developers and investors expecting to get a large return on investment in light of the ever-growing cost to build or modify housing. You want to physically bridge barriers like I-77 and I-277, apparently with the intent of getting people out of the aforementioned town squares elsewhere within Charlotte. It would be cheaper and more practical to move New Orleans to higher ground.

You say that center city belongs to and is for everybody – rich and poor, old and young, gay and straight, and from all ethnicities and backgrounds. Have you and the Chamber looked around this ENTIRE CITY? The aforementioned “town squares” are the best enablers of a homogenized Charlotte. They already accomplish what you seek.

And finally, why am I and others paying thousands of dollars in city taxes on our non-center city property and businesses, just to have local officials ignore our parts of town?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:42 excellent points.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on anonymous 11:42 comments. I would also add that Mary and others should stop referring to outlying areas and their residents so disdainfully. True, large urban areas have outstanding downtowns, but they also include many other small town centers, where people can shop and interact on a daily basis. I've always found it difficult to understand why our "leaders" think everything has to be downtown centered. Because Charlotte is late developing as a "big city" our outer centers are just now coming into their own. I would think this would be considered a sign of urban maturity. Why do some find this so distasteful?
Another interesting point--we hear more and more how we need to reduce driving miles, which having outlying town centers ultimately does--now that there are more shopping and services near where I live my driving has decreased considerably. And dare I add that we now have close by schools, which means less driving for many--when my child started school in 1994 it was at an assigned school 8 miles away near the Mint museum.
Really, you can't have it both ways--revel in Charlotte becoming a large urban area, yet expecting everything and everyone to revolve around the center city.
One last point--whenever I am asked to meet for coffee or lunch with "uptown people" they expect me to drive close into or close to the center city to meet--they always tell me that they don't have time to drive out to where I live. Guess their time is more valuable than mine!

Anonymous said...

Great comments and observations, Anons 11:42 and 09:32!!

I think the main reason the Chamber types concentrate only on Center City - other than having their own businesses there - is because they think they have to "impress" potential customers, clients and owners of other firms they'd like to entice to move there.

Sort of like having a sparkling, recently renovated "living" room in your house which you use to entertain visiting relatives and friends, but which you seldom use otherwise.