Opposition prognostication

Update:  There is much discussion in the comments below regarding where all of those people will park in and around ‘Bellemeade Village’.  The answer is in both underground and above ground parking decks (which will be situated in the rear of some structures).  The Amendment One financing will largely be utilized for this component of the plan.


Loosely stated, Zoning requires two parking spaces per residence, and I think five spaces per 1000 sq ft of retail.  So to make the plan work, a ton of parking is planned.  If the cost of such parking is rolled into the rental or selling prices of the development, no one will be able to afford to live or do business there.  Parking structures are obscenely expensive, but required for a pedestrian friendly development such as Bellemeade.


So its going to come down to this.  Either Amendment One funds will be utilized for much of the parking requirements, or the development will not happen in its current form.


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Great front page headline this morning in the News & Record telling the world about Bellemeade Village. (But you knew about it already, didn’t you?)


Keep in mind this huge development is not coming from the usual set of developer suspects, it is being forwarded by two guys whose family has been selling Chevrolets for over fifty years on the property.  During our conversations Wednesday evening, it was apparent that their motives in bringing this project to fruition are driven as much by their sincere desire to do right by Greensboro as by the potential profits involved.  Car guys know that if you want customers to keep coming back, they have to do what they say.  They say they will deliver this project, and I believe them.  But it won’t be as easy as all that.


The big gorilla in the complicated financing that will be required to pull Bellemeade off is their intention to utilize the provisions of Amendment One.  Not only will the Jones brothers have the monumental task of designing and building this $70 – $80M project, they will have the additional burden of attempting to educate a skeptical public about what is involved in tax increment financing.


The Rhino’s John Hammer was a strident opponent of Amendment One, so we can expect less than enthusiastic buy-in from that quarter.  But I hope I am wrong.  Deep down, John is one of downtown Greensboro’s biggest promoters.  However, he thinks, as do I, that downtown’s continued development can and should occur without the undue infusion of public moneys.  Despite possible future outcry to the contrary, the loans provided for under Amendment One will not raise our taxes, nor will taxpayers be ‘on-the-hook’ for the loan if the Jones brother’s project doesn’t pan out (which is highly unlikely, IMHO).


So the key to making this project a reality will likely come down to educating the public about the realities of Amendment One and the level of opposition to its utilization, which is normally the role of the Rhino Times.


Note to John: I’m dropping the nay-saying on this one and want to be part of the project’s success, join me.

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