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Old 07-31-2013, 11:56 PM
 
32 posts, read 43,323 times
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GSOboi's enthusiasm is nice, but Greensboro is not so rich that it can afford to err on something this expensive. I'm all for the community building a great theater, but there is much in this plan that screams "Wait!"

Purely from an aesthetic viewpoint, the facade of the building itself will long be ridiculed and listed among the city's ugliest structures. Alas, it will have to stand for 75 years or more before funds will be accrued to replace it.

Functionally, there is nothing terribly innovative here. It will never be a good acoustic performance venue, despite the use of staging forward of the main stage with a band shell behind. Having removable seating is certainly no innovation, and offering more areas on which to project images of performers is of no great service, and therefore a specious boast. I go to, and pay for, a 'live' performance to see the performers with my own eyes and not via an electronic transfer of the image. Indeed, large projection screens are in fact annoying distractions.

The site choice is also very puzzling. Accepting that a location in the commercial heart of the city is a given, why the old YWCA site? There are three general reasons thrown about for having picked that site over others, parking, property ownership, and 'somehow' the thought that a cultural district exists there about. A generic public library, town history museum and children's museum (really a learning center) do not in anyway constitute a 'cultural district'. Pray tell, what synergy/benefit would come about by neighboring the new theater/concert-hall with those facilities. The honest answer is Zero!

I reviewed the rating table used by the task force to compare four sites, while not having found any rationale as to why those sites had been selected over the many dozens of potential sites in the center city area. Much of the criteria used was appropriate, yet there were many which are not relevant, while some should have been flipped in their positive/negative assignments. The situation was made all the worse by a lack of any weighting.

A criteria not incorporated into the analysis is any negative effect a chosen site might produce. A clear negative of using the YWCA site is the overshadowing of the Old Presbyterian Cemetery, and cutting it off from view for another 75 years. That would be a sad outcome.

Greensboro has crowed for years now about having a more vibrant commercial heart. There is in fact very little to attract people to the area. No water ways or other geographical features, or any particular man made features, like whole districts of buildings with classical architecture, populate the city center. It has for many years hidden one of the very few interesting visual assets it possesses.

Taking stock of what little is to be found in the city center, among the top items is the Old Presbyterian Cemetery. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, even Charlotte, can count within their cores quaint pieces of history, greenery and beauty which 18th and 19th and early 20th century cemeteries offer. Long blocked off from view by surrounding buildings, Greensboro now has the chance to show off this cemetery and let it add to the urban ambiance which the city 'supposedly' seeks.

The city owns almost the whole of that block, which is far too large, and should be bisected by at least one other street. The unappealing library prevents a direct connection between Church and Davie by the cemetery, but such street could be placed a block's length south running between the library and the parking garage to Church, with an 'L' shaped street then running from Davie by the cemetery where it then runs south to the other new street.

I know of a better site for the new theater, but will not discuss it here other than to say that it is government owned, only two blocks from the Carolina and the Pyrle (Triad Stage) Theaters, is near plenty of parking, restaurants and is large enough to hold a theater the size of the Fox in Atlanta (and then some) which has a nearly 5,000 seat capacity.

I am attempting to contact some task force members, but the bad choices made by committees are difficult to avert.

Last edited by FencePost; 08-01-2013 at 12:10 AM..
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by FencePost View Post
I am attempting to contact some task force members, but the bad choices made by committees are difficult to avert.
Hopefully you will be dutifully ignored by the task force.
I think the positioning of the GPAC can benefit the downtown area by getting people to move around. Right now most of the activity in downtown is on S Elm south of February One to Lee St and basically one or two blocks west; placing the GPAC in that area would only make this worse. People who live downtown understand a downtown lifestyle includes parking the car and getting some wear on the soles of your shoes. People who visit downtown don't get this; they have "front door parking" mentality driving around and around until they find a parking place with minimal distance between their vehicle and destination.
The current site would draw more businesses to that area than having easy access to a yard full of dead people. I'm pretty sure the cities you mentioned didn't gain their economic standing and desirable destination reputations by showcasing cemetaries. If you want dead visit downtown High Point some night.
The alternate site you propose would most likely require demolition and relocation of services causing the price of the project to inflate . You said Greensboro isn't so rich than it can afford to err on this yet seem fine spending money to suit your ideas.
In addition to the location I'm sure demographics were taken into consideration for the seating capacity. Personally I would rather have a slightly undersized venue near seating capacity than oversized one with many vacant seats.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Greensboro, NC USA
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to close the funding gap, they may very well reduce the size of the facility slightly. in addition to $20 million in donation and $20 million from user fees. They are going to have to come up with another $10 to $20 million for a facility between $50 to $60 million. My guess is that they wont go less than 2,800 seats in order to stay competitive with DPAC. but hey if more companies and foundations step forward and close that gap, we could still end up with a 3,000 seat facility. Matt Brown wanted 3,400 seat for a venue at the coliseum. Thats too many seats. Most larger cities dont even have venues that big. As it is, a 3,000 seat PAC would be the largest in the Carolinas. Having more seats than DPAC does give Greensboro an edge over Durham for some of the larger traveling shows. GPAC will also have a more flexible stage and seating arrangement than DPAC. For example, the seats on the first level of GPAC could be removed for stand up/dance concerts. GPAC's stage will also be larger. For people who say this facility will never succeed and lose money, always remember that just down the road we have a Greensboro Coliseum Complex thats attracting major national events such as the figure skating championship and national swim championships. Not bad for a city of 270,000 people with the largest arena in that state that doesn't have a major league sports team as a tenant. Greensboro and the surrounding area has enough rich people to support the higher ticket shows held at GPAC. But remember GPAC wont just be for the rich. There will be a number of events held at the facility that will be affordable to less affluent citizens.

the downtown PAC will serve 3 purposes

1) provides state-of-the-art space for entertainment, concerts and performing arts
2) help foster more downtown development
3) having a facility like this helps creates an environment thats attractive to white collar companies/jobs considering Greensboro for relocation. If Greensboro wants to step up to the next level and play in the big leagues, the city is going to have to look beyond manufacturing, distribution and the airport. Charlotte has all those downtown high-rise condo towers and high end retail for a reason. The city has enough highly paid white collar citizens to fill them up and support stores such as Nordstrom. Sorry, we are not going to get to that level of development with much of our citizens working at places like Cone Mills, distribution centers and low to medium pay service sector jobs, although we have made some gains with high paying hitech manufacturing jobs. Not only do we need more high paying white collar office jobs, our leaders need to figure out how to help bring these jobs downtown instead them moving to office parks. When Greensboro is successful at doing that, we might begin to finally see a decent looking skyline in our city. It pains me to see that big sprawling Bank of America regional headquarters on the edge of town instead of a 25 to 30 story office tower in our center-city. Most of Greensboro's corporate headquarters are not even located downtown. I think Greensboro already has the foundations to become a white collar town. The city is in a great location and we have an excellent quality of life. We have great institutions of higher learning to prepare a highly educated workforce.

Last edited by gsoboi78; 08-01-2013 at 11:42 PM..
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:17 AM
 
32 posts, read 43,323 times
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Originally Posted by WFW&P View Post
Hopefully you will be dutifully ignored by the task force.
I think the positioning of the GPAC can benefit the downtown area by getting people to move around. Right now most of the activity in downtown is on S Elm south of February One to Lee St and basically one or two blocks west; placing the GPAC in that area would only make this worse. People who live downtown understand a downtown lifestyle includes parking the car and getting some wear on the soles of your shoes. People who visit downtown don't get this; they have "front door parking" mentality driving around and around until they find a parking place with minimal distance between their vehicle and destination.
The current site would draw more businesses to that area than having easy access to a yard full of dead people. I'm pretty sure the cities you mentioned didn't gain their economic standing and desirable destination reputations by showcasing cemetaries. If you want dead visit downtown High Point some night.
The alternate site you propose would most likely require demolition and relocation of services causing the price of the project to inflate . You said Greensboro isn't so rich than it can afford to err on this yet seem fine spending money to suit your ideas.
In addition to the location I'm sure demographics were taken into consideration for the seating capacity. Personally I would rather have a slightly undersized venue near seating capacity than oversized one with many vacant seats.
Your hostility is evident in almost every line of your post. Please use some conscientious thought before replying to my offerings. There is so much misleading information, weak analysis and belittling conjecture, in your comments, that I don't have the patience to detail it all.

I'll not ridicule your offerings, and by implication you; perhaps you can do me the same courtesy.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:36 AM
 
32 posts, read 43,323 times
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GSOboi, I appreciate your civic minded contributions here, and even tempered postings.

Your most recent post brought to mind some earlier analysis I made on the success of the DPAC. And your post also reinforces my suspicion that this drive for a new PAC in Greensboro has largely been instigated by the Durham facility's success.

I've not panned the whole idea of building 'another' large theater in Greensboro, despite my suspicion that it will not draw nearly as well as the DPAC, because I believe that having a quality venue in the city center, if executed well, could indeed aid the city in its long term economic goals.

Though not wishing to forestall the project, I think all involved should temper their lofty attendance projections for the new theater. The first year may well garner sold out houses for most 'big' shows, however that is to be expected for almost any new facility; once the newness wears off is when success can be judged. Likely no one involved in this project has given any deep thought on why DPAC succeeded. There seems to be way too much belief in the 'build it and they will come' fallacy.

The city has a perfectly fine theater, holding 2,300 (a mere 400 less than DPAC), that has hosted several Broadway sized productions. What has been the attendance for those events over the last several years? Will a bland, very drab looking, 'new' theater 2.25 miles from the Memorial Theater alter attendance records to any great degree? The acoustic problems with Memorial relate to non-amplified performances, such as the symphony, which will not be significantly improved with the new facility.

Durham sits centered in a much larger income pool than does Greensboro. The median household income for Durham County itself is $4,000 more per year than that of Guilford County. Durham County is small, with both Orange and Wake Counties only a few miles to the west and east, respectively. Orange County, as a whole has $10,000 more per household in yearly income than does Guilford County, with the wealthiest portions of Orange County being the closest to Durham, such as Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Wake County's median household income is $19,000 more than Guilford's! And better for DPAC is that the weatlthiest neighborhoods of Wake County and Raleigh are as close or closer to Durham as they are to 'downtown' Raleigh.

Outside of Guilford County, a 20 mile ring around Greensboro can claim only the eastern half of Forsyth County, western half of Alamance, southern half of Rockingham and the northern half of Randolph County.

If the demographics of a 20 mile radius area of both Greensboro's commercial center and Durham's commercial center were examined, the difference in median household yearly income would likely be in excess of $25,000, a staggering figure. This is the sort of data which proponents in Greensboro should be considering when making a critical investment decision.

The rationale for a large theater aside, let's further examine the plan on the table. The goal is to aid the city's long term economic efforts. Does this facility, it's appearance and other characteristics do that? It will be a theater facility in the city center, that is a given, but will it contribute anything beyond that? Can it contribute anything beyond that? I say it could, but I don't believe the proposed structure, as designed and sited, will.

Last edited by FencePost; 08-02-2013 at 11:47 AM..
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Greensboro, NC USA
4,582 posts, read 4,402,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FencePost View Post
GSOboi, I appreciate your civic minded contributions here, and even tempered postings.

Your most recent post brought to mind some earlier analysis I made on the success of the DPAC. And your post also reinforces my suspicion that this drive for a new PAC in Greensboro has largely been instigated by the Durham facility's success.

I've not panned the whole idea of building 'another' large theater in Greensboro, despite my suspicion that it will not draw nearly as well as the DPAC, because I believe that having a quality venue in the city center, if executed well, could indeed aid the city in its long term economic goals.

Though not wishing to forestall the project, I think all involved should temper their lofty attendance projections for the new theater. The first year may well garner sold out houses for most 'big' shows, however that is to be expected for almost any new facility; once the newness wears off is when success can be judged. Likely no one involved in this project has given any deep thought on why DPAC succeeded. There seems to be way too much belief in the 'build it and they will come' fallacy.

The city has a perfectly fine theater, holding 2,300 (a mere 400 less than DPAC), that has hosted several Broadway sized productions. What has been the attendance for those events over the last several years? Will a bland, very drab looking, 'new' theater 2.25 miles from the Memorial Theater alter attendance records to any great degree? The acoustic problems with Memorial relate to non-amplified performances, such as the symphony, which will not be significantly improved with the new facility.

Durham sits centered in a much larger income pool than does Greensboro. The median household income for Durham County itself is $4,000 more per year than that of Guilford County. Durham County is small, with both Orange and Wake Counties only a few miles to the west and east, respectively. Orange County, as a whole has $10,000 more per household in yearly income than does Guilford County, with the wealthiest portions of Orange County being the closest to Durham, such as Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Wake County's median household income is $19,000 more than Guilford's! And better for DPAC is that the weatlthiest neighborhoods of Wake County and Raleigh are as close or closer to Durham as they are to 'downtown' Raleigh.

Outside of Guilford County, a 20 mile ring around Greensboro can claim only the eastern half of Forsyth County, western half of Alamance, southern half of Rockingham and the northern half of Randolph County.

If the demographics of a 20 mile radius area of both Greensboro's commercial center and Durham's commercial center were examined, the difference in median household yearly income would likely be in excess of $25,000, a staggering figure. This is the sort of data which proponents in Greensboro should be considering when making a critical investment decision.

The rationale for a large theater aside, let's further examine the plan on the table. The goal is to aid the city's long term economic efforts. Does this facility, it's appearance and other characteristics do that? It will be a theater facility in the city center, that is a given, but will it contribute anything beyond that? Can it contribute anything beyond that? I say it could, but I don't believe the proposed structure, as designed and sited, will.
Understand, some of the larger traveling shows will still draw people as far away as Durham despite the fact they already have a PAC. DPAC and GPAC wont be hosting the same shows at the same time and studies shown that people are currently driving from Greensboro to DPAC. As far as the newness wearing off, I can name other examples where the newness has not worn off. Newbridge Bank Park is one. Ever since the opening in 2005, attendance has been far greater than the average attendance at War Memorial Stadium. Part of the reason GPAC is designed to compete with DPAC is because many shows that would normally come here have bypassed us for Durham. The reason is not demographics. Greensboro's War Memorial Auditorium is out of date and is literally crumbling apart.
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gsoboi78 View Post
Understand, some of the larger traveling shows will still draw people as far away as Durham despite the fact they already have a PAC. DPAC and GPAC wont be hosting the same shows at the same time and studies shown that people are currently driving from Greensboro to DPAC. As far as the newness wearing off, I can name other examples where the newness has not worn off. Newbridge Bank Park is one. Ever since the opening in 2005, attendance has been far greater than the average attendance at War Memorial Stadium. Part of the reason GPAC is designed to compete with DPAC is because many shows that would normally come here have bypassed us for Durham. The reason is not demographics. Greensboro's War Memorial Auditorium is out of date and is literally crumbling apart.
Perhaps the wider geographical draw is feasible. Do you know the breakdown of the DPAC audience? Has anyone examined that statistic? I'll not deny your assertion without some actual data to back me up, but I'd like to see that standard used on the other side of these discussions, meaning that there are a lot of assertions made on this particular site with no credible data (or in some cases, even reasoning) to support them.

I think without KNOWING the draw potential you'd fine no prudent business person who would invest one dollar, let alone 60 million of them, in the venture. Remember, I'm not arguing a no build scenario, merely a reality check. It's the potential for achieving greater benefits that I see being lost here, with the aesthetically distasteful building and the poor choice of siting, my opinion.

I'm sorry, but I don't find the stadium comparison to be credible. The old stadium was in exceedingly poor shape, possessed no great functional appeal and certainly no aesthetic appeal, offering only its long existence as a positive characteristic. The new ball park was indeed built with some visual appeal, as well of course the huge upgrade in comfort and function it affords over the old one. Even with those nice differences, newness was still a factor, as seen over the nine years of its existence. The average game attendance in the first four years was 6270, and in the last five years has been 5591.

The point being made is that the biggest opportunity here is the chance to build something that is architecturally durable for the ages, a building that contributes to the streetscape. The use of modern architecture has again and again and again proved unappealing in the long run. Typically, cities take pride in their classically designed structures.

Last edited by FencePost; 08-02-2013 at 03:56 PM..
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:44 PM
 
12,577 posts, read 13,309,010 times
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Originally Posted by FencePost View Post
Perhaps the wider geographical draw is feasible. Do you know the breakdown of the DPAC audience? Has anyone examined that statistic? I'll not deny your assertion without some actual data to back me up, but I'd like to see that standard used on the other side of these discussions, meaning that there are a lot of assertions made on this particular site with no credible data (or in some cases, even reasoning) to support them.

I think without KNOWING the draw potential you'd fine no prudent business person who would invest one dollar, let alone 60 million of them, in the venture. Remember, I'm not arguing a no build scenario, merely a reality check. It's the potential for achieving greater benefits that I see being lost here, with the aesthetically distasteful building and the poor choice of siting, my opinion.

I'm sorry, but I don't find the stadium comparison to be credible. The old stadium was in exceedingly poor shape, possessed no great functional appeal and certainly no aesthetic appeal, offering only its long existence as a positive characteristic. The new ball park was indeed built with some visual appeal, as well of course the huge upgrade in comfort and function it affords over the old one. Even with those nice differences, newness was still a factor, as seen over the nine years of its existence. The average game attendance in the first four years was 6270, and in the last five years has been 5591.

The point being made is that the biggest opportunity here is the chance to build something that is architecturally durable for the ages, a building that contributes to the streetscape. The use of modern architecture has again and again and again proved unappealing in the long run. Typically, cities take pride in their classically designed structures.
You're forgetting an important factor; downtown Greensboro is undergoing a revitalization. In other words in spite of all the old buildings with nifty, ornate details it was dying. These buildings and the yard full of dead people I mentioned earlier are not necessarily make a venue successful. Cities haul their classically designed structures off in dump trucks everyday to make room for new ideas.
I find it odd you challenge the potential draw ability of the PAC with the current site but are in favor of your alternate site which, according to you, could seat many more.
BTW, the two ugliest buildings in New York were the most iconic in the world.

Last edited by WFW&P; 08-02-2013 at 04:54 PM..
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:01 PM
 
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WFW&P, I can't spend my time correcting your poor interpretations of my comments, nor can I educate you on taste.
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:16 PM
 
12,577 posts, read 13,309,010 times
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Originally Posted by FencePost View Post
WFW&P, I can't spend my time correcting your poor interpretations of my comments, nor can I educate you on taste.
I'm sure you can't seeing how you can't remember what you typed and offer criticism of the PAC design yet only propose a alternative site. At least gsoboi has offered some renderings for upcoming dowtown projects. Not everyone shares your taste in architectural designs and that doesn't make their preference wrong.
I bolded the sentence that I "misinterpreted" for you below.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FencePost View Post
GSOboi's enthusiasm is nice, but Greensboro is not so rich that it can afford to err on something this expensive. I'm all for the community building a great theater, but there is much in this plan that screams "Wait!"

Purely from an aesthetic viewpoint, the facade of the building itself will long be ridiculed and listed among the city's ugliest structures. Alas, it will have to stand for 75 years or more before funds will be accrued to replace it.

Functionally, there is nothing terribly innovative here. It will never be a good acoustic performance venue, despite the use of staging forward of the main stage with a band shell behind. Having removable seating is certainly no innovation, and offering more areas on which to project images of performers is of no great service, and therefore a specious boast. I go to, and pay for, a 'live' performance to see the performers with my own eyes and not via an electronic transfer of the image. Indeed, large projection screens are in fact annoying distractions.

The site choice is also very puzzling. Accepting that a location in the commercial heart of the city is a given, why the old YWCA site? There are three general reasons thrown about for having picked that site over others, parking, property ownership, and 'somehow' the thought that a cultural district exists there about. A generic public library, town history museum and children's museum (really a learning center) do not in anyway constitute a 'cultural district'. Pray tell, what synergy/benefit would come about by neighboring the new theater/concert-hall with those facilities. The honest answer is Zero!

I reviewed the rating table used by the task force to compare four sites, while not having found any rationale as to why those sites had been selected over the many dozens of potential sites in the center city area. Much of the criteria used was appropriate, yet there were many which are not relevant, while some should have been flipped in their positive/negative assignments. The situation was made all the worse by a lack of any weighting.

A criteria not incorporated into the analysis is any negative effect a chosen site might produce. A clear negative of using the YWCA site is the overshadowing of the Old Presbyterian Cemetery, and cutting it off from view for another 75 years. That would be a sad outcome.

Greensboro has crowed for years now about having a more vibrant commercial heart. There is in fact very little to attract people to the area. No water ways or other geographical features, or any particular man made features, like whole districts of buildings with classical architecture, populate the city center. It has for many years hidden one of the very few interesting visual assets it possesses.

Taking stock of what little is to be found in the city center, among the top items is the Old Presbyterian Cemetery. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, even Charlotte, can count within their cores quaint pieces of history, greenery and beauty which 18th and 19th and early 20th century cemeteries offer. Long blocked off from view by surrounding buildings, Greensboro now has the chance to show off this cemetery and let it add to the urban ambiance which the city 'supposedly' seeks.

The city owns almost the whole of that block, which is far too large, and should be bisected by at least one other street. The unappealing library prevents a direct connection between Church and Davie by the cemetery, but such street could be placed a block's length south running between the library and the parking garage to Church, with an 'L' shaped street then running from Davie by the cemetery where it then runs south to the other new street.

I know of a better site for the new theater, but will not discuss it here other than to say that it is government owned, only two blocks from the Carolina and the Pyrle (Triad Stage) Theaters, is near plenty of parking, restaurants and is large enough to hold a theater the size of the Fox in Atlanta (and then some) which has a nearly 5,000 seat capacity.

I am attempting to contact some task force members, but the bad choices made by committees are difficult to avert.
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