by Sam Hieb
It’s been a while since we’ve heard news about Greensboro’s $30 million downtown parking deck that would be attached to a proposed Westin Hotel. All I know is I drive by the site pretty much every day and this is what I’ve seen for going on a year now.*
Rhino Times editor John Hammer has some good news and some bad news. The good news is the other downtown parking deck–the one on the corner of Eugene and Bellemeade streets —is a go. The City Council approved a real estate transaction with Guilford County that will allow construction to begin.
Now the bad news:
The February One Place-Westin Hotel parking deck appears to be treading water. In April 2017 the City Council approved building the deck at a maximum cost of $30 million and approved buying the land for the parking deck for $2.1 million. In April 2018 the city settled a lawsuit over the easements across the land the city had purchased for the deck and then settled the same lawsuit again with more concessions in August 2018. Both times the reason for the settlement was said to be so that construction could get underway. But after demolishing the buildings on the site, nothing much has happened.
City Manager David Parrish has said month after month that they are making progress on negotiating the contract with Elm Street Hotel LLC to build the parking deck.
But it is worth noting that in April, 2018 Mayor Nancy Vaughan called Carroll and said that the city was through negotiating with him over the Eugene Street parking deck. At that time the plan was for Carroll to build a mixed use building on top of the city parking deck built on land owned by Carroll. The city scrapped those plans, went back to the drawing board and came up with the current plan where the city will own the parking deck and Carroll will own the property around it. Everyone seems to agree the current plan makes better use of the land.
But so far the city has been willing to negotiate with the Westin Hotel developer for a full year longer than it was willing to negotiate with Carroll and according to Parrish the negotiations aren’t complete.
Mayor Vaughan tells the Rhino that negotiations with the Westin’s local investors are progressing and hopefully something will be finalized by May—which is Wednesday. That might come as a surprise to the City Council, which—surprise–is not up to speed. Hammer reports “when councilmembers are asked about the project they claim to know no more than what has been said public meetings or reported in the news.”
*Rhino Times photo