by Sam Hieb
In a marathon meeting that featured strong opposition from a local activist group, the Greensboro City Council approved two parking decks that will each cost $30 million and will primarily serve new downtown private development.
The council voted separately on each deck — high-powered developer Roy Carroll’s deck on the corner on Bellmeade Street next to First National Bank Field was approved by an 8-1 vote, with newly-elected council member Michelle Kennedy casting the lone ‘no’ vote. The second deck—planned for the heart of downtown on Davie Street behind South Elm Street —came with complications. The next-door Cone Denim Entertainment Center says the parking deck –which will be built in conjunction with a Westin Hotel –will infringe upon an easement entertainment acts use to access the center. Without the easement, acts will refuse to come, the center’s lawyer asserted—which will effectively put it out of business.
The council voted 6-2 to approve the deck–with veteran council member Sharon Hightower joining Kennedy as the ‘no’ votes. Hightower and Kennedy also voted ‘no’ on another resolution to take the easement via eminent domain–an action that Cone Denim Entertainment’s attorney vowed will force a lawsuit.
The city will borrow the money to pay for the decks with the assurance that the debt will be paid of by future parking fees and property tax revenue from the resulting private development.