Sunday, August 3, 2014

Roy Carroll's Secret Downtown Incentive Package

A few weeks ago I wrote of the reasons I opposed closing a block of Lindsay Street to enable Roy Carroll to enlarge his "proposed" mixed use development. Carroll is even threatening not to build his project if the City doesn't give him free land.

"But the suitor is demanding a dowry: the closing of a block of Lindsay Street. That will change two short blocks on Eugene Street into one 1,000-foot-long block and will hamper connectivity near the stadium and the planned downtown performing arts center. Nonetheless, Carroll has intimated that the wedding will not happen without it."

And yet he has already invested a fortune in buying and tearing down historic buildings while bribing the local historic foundation to look the other way. I say call his bluff. Tell him if he doesn't build what he promised to build then he doesn't build anything-- ever. Build what you said you would build or your building permits will be pulled-- forever. Sure, Greensboro will loose some tax revenue but Greensboro will be alive long after Roy Carroll is dead and buried. Roy ain't getting any younger. Play hard ball for a change. Quit kissing Roy's ass. It makes you look pathetic. It makes all of Greensboro look pathetic. Professor Wharton continues:

"The closing of a short street seems like a small matter, but it isn’t. Think: What are our goals for downtown? Why have philanthropists and the city invested in the ballpark, Center City Park, the Greenway and the arts center, which Carroll credits with attracting him to this location?

It is to make downtown busy with people who walk and bike — not just drive — to nearby businesses and entertainment venues.

Both everyday experience and academic studies confirm that small blocks are essential for vibrant pedestrian life.

Jeff Speck, the urbanist who led the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, writes, “People are small, and the most walkable cities acknowledge this fact with small blocks. ... Most cities that have closed streets in the past now wish they hadn’t.”

Jane Jacobs, the most celebrated urbanist of our time, devotes a whole chapter of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” to the importance of small blocks."

I made that same point when I wrote:

"Besides, in the future you'll not be able to get those streets back from men like Roy Carroll. You only pull that crap on poor people."

Add to that the fact that under current city guidelines when any street or road is closed by the City the road is then given free of charge to the property owners on both sides of the road. And being that Roy Carroll owns the property on both sides of the road he is essentially getting yet one more invisible incentive package from the City of Greensboro. So what's this one worth? Several people I have talked to have estimated the value at $2 Million Dollars-- just about the same amount of money City Council gave the downtown Wyndham Hotel.

And didn't Mayor Vaughn praise Roy for not asking for incentives? That's because Roy doesn't ask for incentives, he steals them with the help of the City Council.