Tycoon has come to the right place

My N&R column promotes The “Aycock Square” portion of the Aycock Neighborhood‘s master plan.  This project was one of the most creative and common sense things to come out of the exhaustive charette we undertook back in 2003.

With the prices of Central Business District property skyrocketing these days, the city may be able to pay for removing and reworking the Summit/Murrow cloverleaf by selling off the land upon which it sits.  In last week’s Rhino, John Hammer concurred when he wrote about the city council’s review of the Summit Ave. Corridor Study…

“… the most exciting idea for this area is to do away with the ridiculous Murrow Boulevard overpass and make Summit and Murrow a regular intersection. According to some theories, selling the land …should produce enough revenue to pay for the demolition of the overpass. If that works out, it wouldn’t cost the taxpayers much and put a bunch of property back on the tax rolls.” 

So when the N&R reported that Donald P. Cogsville came to town last week looking for a project, I thought I’d better point him to east Greensboro.  Thus came….

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By David HoggardN&R mast_1_27.jpg

8/30/06

He might not be The Donald (as in Trump) but he just could turn out to be Our Donald (as in Cogsville).  Wooed to Greensboro via a roundabout set (N&R) of high society connections involving the rumor rampant hair styling industry, Donald P. Cogsville came to town last week and found that the rumor is true: Greensboro’s got it going on.

For the uninitiated, Cogsville is CEO of the New York based and money laden Cogsville Group who has millions – nay, billions – to invest into, “…mixed-use, mixed-income projectsâ€?, according the N&R’s recap of his visit.  Named one of NYC’s “40 Under Fortyâ€? rising stars by Crain’s New York Business magazine last year, the UNC-CH graduate “…wants to build housing, retail and commercial developments in areas that have gotten little attention in the past.â€?

Well then… please allow me to make the introductions: Donald, meet East Greensboro… East Greensboro, meet Donald.  Now shake hands and lets get to work.  

Hopefully, during last week’s three-day visit, you were given the cook’s tour of Greensboro to be shown what’s good, and what’s not yet so good, around here.  If that’s the case, surely you recognized Greensboro’s most obvious and ambitious re-development opportunity: the Murrow Boulevard/Summit Avenue interchange.

Constructed in the 1970’s, the intersection was to be part of a US220 ‘spur’ into downtown.  However, the plan never was never fully realized as evidenced in the way six-lane-wide Murrow Boulevard kind of fizzles out when it abruptly terminates at Lee Street.  Bad planning left us with a high-volume-capable, Interstate-like ‘cloverleaf’ interchange that currently hosts, oh I don’t know… maybe fifty vehicles a day… ten of which being me and my family headed back and forth downtown.

So you see Donald, as it currently stands, the Murrow/Summit interchange is like a tit on a bull: useless.  This large tract of fallow ground just screams to be dismantled and re-developed so the city can re-introduce its property to the tax rolls.  Occupying 12.5 acres of could-be prime downtown real estate, this acreage is ripe for the pickin’ – we want you to do the pickin’.

The vision of how to transform the arcane interchange has already been given to the city as a part of the Aycock Neighborhood’s 2003 master plan (HUGE pdf file).  Replete with conceptual drawings, the plan shows how downtown can be seamlessly reconnected to points east through a new ‘public square’.  I suspect our city council would embrace this transformation because it is part of the recently recommended Summit Avenue Corridor Study. 

But you better hurry, Donald, because local developer John Kavanaugh has already seen the light in the east.  He recently purchased the old Pet Dairy property on Summit Avenue and has contracts pending to buy the adjacent Carolina Peacemaker building as well as the expansive Galloway Buick property fronting Murrow Boulevard. 
We eastern-dwellers might become downright fashionable once Mr. Kavanaugh gets underway.  After that happens, pursuing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will likely take a lot more investment capital than it would today.  I’m telling you, Don (I can call you Don, can’t I?), this is a ground-floor opportunity that perfectly dovetails into your vision of a ‘new-urbanist’ development in an underserved area.  We’re the very definition of ‘underserved’.

So Don, before your next visit to our fair city, have your people call my people.  I’ll set you up with pictures, plans and visions that will stop your search for a suitable project dead in its tracks. 
We want you, Mr. Cogsville, to be Our Donald.

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One Comment

  1. colin lively
    Posted September 6, 2006 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    check socialiterank.com and nysocialdiary.com

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  1. By Hogg’s Blog » Our secret Santa? on June 29, 2007 at 6:44 am

    [...] Florida, but does anyone remember a man named Donald P. Cogsville?  I wrote a N&R column last August inviting him to invest his millions where it will be appreciated.  Perhaps he’s [...]