sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Interesting Winston-Salem Journal article on yet another effort at downtown redevelopment.

Since the article led with John Elkington, the renowned developer who developed a plan for Winston's last redevelopment effort. That plan, which included a sports bar named after Tim Duncan, didn't work out. as many others haven't. I was looking forward to Elkington's views on what went wrong with his ambitious plan. Unfortunately, he said only:

"In Winston-Salem .....there just wasn't a commitment to get everyone on board. Until you get people to say 'Yeah, I believe in this,' it's never going to happen."

So what keeps going wrong? There's the obvious reason: The city and county have to get involved because they are major property owners downtown:

"The project would require the city and Forsyth County to be partners because several city-owned buildings would need to be torn down and the county still owns the courthouse."

We had the same situation here, but basically one key piece of property, on which First Horizon Park now sits. Everyone involved made the transaction happen quickly, and now the possibilities seem endless in downtown Greensboro.

So why can't this happen in Winston? It depends on the point of view. Perhaps partnering with the city is not as easy as it seems. By the same token, a little research reveals other cities had issues with Elkington's vision of downtown revitalization.


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