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On the waterfront
Development plans for the Charlotte port area are drawing comments from both opponents and supporters. A sample of recent submissions:
If you expect this to benefit Rochester and the surrounding area, you are mistaken. This project consists of a hotel that will not be utilized by local residents and one coffee shop and one restaurant. How much revenue will that bring in to the city tax base?
The hotel is supposed to be unique because it will have spa amenities. Many hotels in this area offer this same thing closer to beautiful shopping (Eastview Mall, etc.). This hotel will be empty in the long winter months and eventually will be a large empty building similar to the Port building now that is mostly empty and a sad reminder of past "Grand Mistakes" made by the city.
I think that this project has great merit, and we should all give it serious consideration. It does not seem obtrusive or terribly out of scale to the rest of Charlotte and in the end may be a very good development for the neighborhood and city. After all, cities across the Northeast (and North America) are reinvesting in their waterfronts with great success. We cannot move forward if we are continually stuck in the past.
However, this controversy does point out that the current city administration is having significant problems developing positive relationships with some neighborhoods. Although the administration is frustrated by opposition to the plan, the city's web site FAQ blasting the neighborhood group is a poor strategy. Such negativity only engenders greater resentment and volatility.
I hope this great project moves forward, but I also hope the administration retools its approach in order to rebuild trust.
Selling public parkland to a private developer for an ill-fated luxury hotel and condo development is just not smart. Rochester is the eighth largest and third poorest city in the country.
Instead of building new on a postage-stamp parcel of land on the waterfront, how about rehabbing what is already there and in decline? I love this city. I love Charlotte. It NEEDS development. It just needs the RIGHT development.
For Charlotte to succeed, they need to be competitive with their fellow city neighborhoods – namely, the attractive, vibrant ones like Park Avenue and the South Wedge, and not to mention our growing downtown. If Charlotte tries to emulate the car-centric, low-density suburban lifestyle they will fail, because people who want that lifestyle will never move to the city. There are plenty of suburban neighborhoods on or near the water just like Charlotte is, so that's not a unique selling point, either.
City neighborhoods have to appeal to city people. And a huge part of urban appeal is walkability, which requires a population dense enough to sustain retail, restaurants, and services in a concentrated area. And in an area with limited space, that means mid- to high-rise apartment/condo buildings.
And those vast parking lots belong to a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Henrietta. Take them out.