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Old 06-02-2016, 10:35 AM
 
Location: 304
5,235 posts, read 7,308,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elewis7 View Post
Your prior suggestions for that space were great. I don't think we can rely on one large anchor to swoop in and save the day, so breaking it up would be a good course of action. I would love to see some sort of outfitter (REI) and larger bookstore in part of that space. A gym would be a good idea, too. A grocer of some sort would be great, but I don't see that area as a good place for one unless a residential component was included (say, on the site of the Sears Auto Center). I think some other non-traditional uses would work, too, maybe like a daycare/child development center or a maker space/community design center (these obviously would only take up a small portion of the space.

Another idea, though not my preferred at first blush, could be to relocate the main branch of the library there. There's plenty of space, parking, and nearby amenities to make it attractive for the KCPL. A regular library, though, would be a drain in a mall setting, so I would propose keeping some traditional elements of a library and blending them with innovative additions such as the maker space idea or other community-oriented technological offerings. I'd prefer the space used by private businesses, but I just wanted to offer that as an idea, too.
Another idea could be an addition to the Clay Center. Expanding the science aspects of the museum, maybe with more special exhibit space. I am envisioning a space similar to what the Clay Center already has, but much larger and with simulators and larger attractions. A wildcard could be that the Sears Auto property becomes an aquarium also operated by the Clay Center. It wouldn't have to be massive like is southern states or larger cities, but it could be impressive enough to attract crowds from hours away.

Personally though, I'd rather the main sears space remain retail, and if the Clay Center was to introduce some of these ideas, that they'd do so closer to their main campus.
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:42 PM
 
778 posts, read 560,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscross309 View Post
Another idea could be an addition to the Clay Center. Expanding the science aspects of the museum, maybe with more special exhibit space. I am envisioning a space similar to what the Clay Center already has, but much larger and with simulators and larger attractions. A wildcard could be that the Sears Auto property becomes an aquarium also operated by the Clay Center. It wouldn't have to be massive like is southern states or larger cities, but it could be impressive enough to attract crowds from hours away.

Personally though, I'd rather the main sears space remain retail, and if the Clay Center was to introduce some of these ideas, that they'd do so closer to their main campus.

I am not sure if it is an orchestrated plan anywhere within CURA or the City, but I read comments inserted into larger articles that the cities plan/view was to build all cultural amenities near the Clay Center. That said, there are many locations at either location that could work, but the property by the Clay Center is not as expensive as those near Town Center and the Convention Center.

I agree that the Sears space needs to be retained as retail and I consider the convoluted transition of Montgomery Ward's retail space to Brickstreet having been a mistake. The problem is that all of the major department store chains are running slightly negative or breaking even, except Nordstrom which is running 8.8% ahead of last year.

J C Penny is having similar issues to Sears and the other regional chains that might want a presence in Charleston is Dillard's - big in KY, OH and VA; Belk - stores in Ashland, Beckley and Parkersburg and The Bon-Ton out of York PA. The Bon-Ton is the current name of the company that merged with Elder Beerman who bought the Stone & Thomas chain in 1998.

Bon-Ton seems an odd duck in the industry and Belk is an ok store, only Dillard's has real stability and offers something the Charleston market does not already have. But Charleston and Dillard have talked before and while it looked good at first, it went no where in the end.

With a new upscale property like Hyatt across the street, Dillard might take a second look at the Charleston market, which would be its first entry into West Virginia.
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Old 06-02-2016, 06:02 PM
 
778 posts, read 560,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscross309 View Post
Another idea could be an addition to the Clay Center. Expanding the science aspects of the museum, maybe with more special exhibit space. I am envisioning a space similar to what the Clay Center already has, but much larger and with simulators and larger attractions. A wildcard could be that the Sears Auto property becomes an aquarium also operated by the Clay Center. It wouldn't have to be massive like is southern states or larger cities, but it could be impressive enough to attract crowds from hours away.

Personally though, I'd rather the main sears space remain retail, and if the Clay Center was to introduce some of these ideas, that they'd do so closer to their main campus.
Following up your concerns with the Sears Auto Center location across from the mall, I found this article dated February 9, 2016 that states that Sears has put up all 27 of the remaining Auto Centers for sale. It does not elaborate that this is a group sell, individual sell or some combination. Sears operates in conjunction with Seritage Reality but does not seem to be doing that with the Auto Centers.

As sales tumble, Sears decides to sell more stores | ICSC: International Council of Shopping Centers

Another article from the same date differs with the details in stating that the Auto Center is part or all:

Sears looking to cut costs, close stores and possibly sell off auto business | Retail Customer Experience

An article dated one day later on February 10th states that "Sears would like to sell its Auto Center operations." The article then speculates that Sears may survive in a trimmed down form keeping only its most profitable locations. The Charleston store is listed by Sears as serving 100,000+ shoppers annually and has an excellent profit margin. More, I could not find. That is just under 300 people per day that pass through their doors and buy something. That is the key aspect, those are transactions per day, not browsers.

So, while it seems the Auto Center is going to close and probably out of the blue like Fifth Quarter it may be purchased by another similar retailer. There are local companies that would love that location if the price was right, provided Sears does not condition the sale with stipulations for employee retention and stuff like that.
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Old 06-02-2016, 06:58 PM
 
436 posts, read 325,768 times
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Fayetteville is too far away to be a real benefit to Charleston. I like Fayetteville but for someone in town for a conference for two or three days it doesn't offer anything but a scary road trip through rt 60 with parts that look like somewhere out of the third world.

However, what Charleston has not tapped into that other cities with rivers like Richmond, Greenville, Atlanta etc... have is to make use of the Elk. The Kanawha is too big and has too much traffic to offer much in light recreational opportunities but the Elk from downtown all the way up to Coonskin could be turned into something very useful for kayaking and possibly some man-made assisted white watering. It would be much easier to come out of a conference and go kayak the Elk or run some rapids that could be put in at the shoals then to drive to Fayette County. There are several cities down south that have done this already. You could even have an outfitter that would drop folks in at Coonskin and they could float down the Elk to say the new civic center.
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Old 06-04-2016, 03:30 PM
 
778 posts, read 560,497 times
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Been doing some digging with the meager contacts I have in this area and I was informed that the City nearly purchased the Beni Kedem and Fifth Quarter sites in 2007 for 3 million, but the sale stopped short when Brickstreet paid 9 million for their location. At the time the city wanted to merge that property into the future Civic Center expansion project but had to eliminate the idea of a flexible hall that could be a basketball arena, ice arena or dance hall. The Shriners felt that their site was worth at least 9 million and the city at the time did not have access to that much cash. The city now has that much to offer and there have been discussions.

I certainly hope this is true. While a larger footprint means that a hotel tower there would likely be much shorter it would fit in nicer than it would with the Temple in the middle of this complex.
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:09 PM
 
1,726 posts, read 1,621,463 times
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If and when Sears leaves the town center, that space would be good for a Belk, Bon Ton or Dillard's location.

In regards to the Civic Center renovations, the building could still use some large windows installed to let in more light to the arena and concourse areas and the naming rights to the building need to be sold. That revenue can help with the renovation projects.
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:14 PM
 
778 posts, read 560,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeros71 View Post
If and when Sears leaves the town center, that space would be good for a Belk, Bon Ton or Dillard's location.

In regards to the Civic Center renovations, the building could still use some large windows installed to let in more light to the arena and concourse areas and the naming rights to the building need to be sold. That revenue can help with the renovation projects.

You might want to check out the master plan linked in this thread concerning the Civic Center Expansion, It has a great deal of glass in the design.

As for Town Center, as much as I would like to see any of those three with Dillards being my preference, I do not have any hope that the management team at Forest City is worth the powder it would take to blow their brains out. They have one of the most inept speakers possible in their marketing department and everything they do is a shoestring setup.

The best we could ever hope for is that an energized owner comes in and buys the mall.
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:19 PM
 
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I only saw glass in the expansion designs, not newly installed windows up high on the exterior walls of the arena. If I missed those then I'm glad I did and that someone thought to add them.
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Old 06-07-2016, 02:26 AM
 
778 posts, read 560,497 times
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Default New Condos Maybe?

Looks like the city is the middle of adding new condos to the cities stock. This will be a nice project if it comes to be. The Union Building is the 14-floor tower on the boulevard that causes the boulevard to have that kink in it at Capitol Street.

Presently the building is retail office but the city is working with a developer to build a parking garage on the east side of the building that would have space for a first floor restaurant looking out over the river. I can easily imagine an outdoor dining balcony there, cantilevered over the river's edge.

I have been in this building many times and the first and second floor could not ever be residential spaces, but floors 3 through 12 could be with - my guess - two units per floor for 20 units and the 13th and 14th floor are already configured as a penthouse with outdoor space along the perimeter of the roof. If that is a given this will provide for 21 units with a new garage and some small retail on the lowest levels with a new restaurant.

The article talks about a few other things as well such as adding 256,000 dollars of improvement changes to the Civic Center project.

Charleston Gazette-Mail | Charleston committee receives update on parking assessment, new garage proposed
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Old 06-07-2016, 12:39 PM
 
778 posts, read 560,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caden Grace View Post
Looks like the city is the middle of adding new condos to the cities stock. This will be a nice project if it comes to be. The Union Building is the 14-floor tower on the boulevard that causes the boulevard to have that kink in it at Capitol Street.

Presently the building is retail office but the city is working with a developer to build a parking garage on the east side of the building that would have space for a first floor restaurant looking out over the river. I can easily imagine an outdoor dining balcony there, cantilevered over the river's edge.

I have been in this building many times and the first and second floor could not ever be residential spaces, but floors 3 through 12 could be with - my guess - two units per floor for 20 units and the 13th and 14th floor are already configured as a penthouse with outdoor space along the perimeter of the roof. If that is a given this will provide for 21 units with a new garage and some small retail on the lowest levels with a new restaurant.

The article talks about a few other things as well such as adding 256,000 dollars of improvement changes to the Civic Center project.

Charleston Gazette-Mail | Charleston committee receives update on parking assessment, new garage proposed
A follow up that has a photo slide in the link showing an artist rendering, which I hope is very incomplete. The Garage certainly looks larger than I expected it to be. I had assumed it was just a garage for the condo conversion but it seems to be a general public use facility. I can just see the roof covered with gawkers during the fireworks downtown. Perfect place to see them, parking, restaurants and the best view too.

Parking garage plan discussed for downtown Charleston
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