Quick Hits: GeerHouse

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Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Dave @ Building Bull City
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

eastofdowntown
Where did TBJ get the specs for this? I’m blocked by paywall. Seems the Four Points website has different info... https://fourpointsllc.com/durham/
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Durham_Transplant
Perhaps the website info is dated? Assume TBJ has some direct info because they have a rendering but I similarly don’t pay so can’t read the article.

Agree with Dave that this will be a huge change for that part of the city. Will be tons of new residents in the area with this project, Foster on the Park nearing completion and the condo (?) project on the other side of Liberty Warehouse appearing to be underway.

Understand this isn’t the best timing to start a new project (or maybe it is in some ways) but we desperately need new dining/retail/entertainment options downtown as these new residents start to flow in.
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Dave @ Building Bull City
Administrator
The article says that this information was from public documents filed to the city. I am trying to get my hands on those documents as well, but it is a manual process right now (they changed systems and you can't just search for site plans, currently - so I have to submit a request).

That said - if I were the betting type, I would put my money on the website and the current submittal being at least somewhat different from the final product. Something this size will surely go through an iterative process and since TBJ reported it before Four Points created a press release, who knows how finalized the current plan is.
mjp
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

mjp
Honestly pretty surprised a project this big (at least by Durham standards) is being announced right now but maybe they feel pretty confident that by the time it comes online, there will be plentiful demand. Maybe they're also leaning into the potential migration from big expensive cities to smaller cheaper cities.

Maybe they're also seeing the cost drivers moving in the right direction to get started and go out to bid. In my sector (water/wastewater), we're seeing materials and labor costs moving in the right direction to start projects. The main issue is financing, although I don't get the impression it's as hard to get as it was in 2009.

I'll admit, it's a little bittersweet seeing the transformation of this neighborhood. When I first got here in 2011, the whole block was such a refreshing and innovative use of old industrial space and had a feel that has survived surprisingly well in my opinion, in spite of (or maybe because of) the new developments nearby. I worry that this will result in the Geer/Rigsbee corridor becoming something very sterile and corporate but I suppose it will bring a lot of opportunity to our city.
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Gerry Conley
Recently saw a chart which forecast Durham as being a highly-desired place to live by people who don't want to live in a large city any longer.  Durham was not just in the running - it was far above other cities in the "study".  This was in connection with the present and future pandemics (which are forecast as well).  Our education, jobs, government, and quality of life, plus low density were primary movers in the decision making.  These 2 buildings, in that area kind of defeat these "ideals".  For myself, I hate to see the Geer Garden at the foot of these lumbering hulks.  
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Dave @ Building Bull City
Administrator
I am hopeful that as downtown grows:

1. Durham realizes that it needs to fix the loop to promote urbanism and connect these two parts of the city together.

2. Other parts of the city grow incrementally as well, like Burch Ave, Lakewood, East Durham, Old Five Points, etc and become great destinations in their own right. It really hasn't been all that long since the Rigsbee/Foster area has been interesting. Fullsteam only opened around 10 years ago, and I don't believe there was much in the area before that. I am hopeful that while this neighborhood may grow and change into something different, it generates momentum that allows for multiple NEW neighborhoods to take the funky/adaptive reuse baton.
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Gerry Conley
I'd also like to see other areas become the focus for gatherings as Fullsteam and Motorco have been.  The Scrap Exchange area in Lakewood looked promising last year.  The bar/restaurant that opened in that area was very popular with families on the weekend, but there wasn't enough business otherwise, I guess, and it closed.  SE keeps coming up with new ideas, so we'll see what happens.

On Sat, Jun 20, 2020 at 7:05 PM Dave @ Building Bull City [via Building Bull City Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:
I am hopeful that as downtown grows:

1. Durham realizes that it needs to fix the loop to promote urbanism and connect these two parts of the city together.

2. Other parts of the city grow incrementally as well, like Burch Ave, Lakewood, East Durham, Old Five Points, etc and become great destinations in their own right. It really hasn't been all that long since the Rigsbee/Foster area has been interesting. Fullsteam only opened around 10 years ago, and I don't believe there was much in the area before that. I am hopeful that while this neighborhood may grow and change into something different, it generates momentum that allows for multiple NEW neighborhoods to take the funky/adaptive reuse baton.


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Gerry Conley
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

ChapelHillSean
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

KmartFan
In reply to this post by Dave @ Building Bull City
I was pleasantly surprised to see a development of this size near downtown Durham...I'll be interested to see the timeline of when they hope to get this started...
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Durham_Transplant
In reply to this post by Dave @ Building Bull City
Some additional info and discussion from a News & Observer article today.

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article244360832.html

Predictable resistance over the height and nature of the development. Seems like a good use of what is primarily vacant space right now. Probably a different topic entirely but every single time one of these projects is proposed someone is upset that they don’t include affordable housing. I understand the need for more affordable housing but I don’t think it’s realistic to incorporate into every single project for a variety of reasons. The city and county have also done an admirable job (IMO) of prioritizing affordable housing where they own the land. The police HQ project, apartments by the bus station and 300/500 blocks of Main St will provide for hundreds of affordable housing units basically in the heart of downtown. Doubt you see that in too many metro areas across the US.

Only somewhat related, saw a TBJ article yesterday about a local woman who is opening a new distillery called Liberty & Plenty on Foster St right by (next to?) the Rickhouse. Seemed like a cool concept. The owners of Acme in Carrboro are also planning to open a new restaurant called Plum Southern Kitchen & Bar at 501 Washington on the other side of the old ballpark. Would be great to see more entertainment/restaurant/retail options crop up in that neighborhood beyond the Geer/Foster nucleus.
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Dave @ Building Bull City
Administrator
I have no actual information on this, but the possibility that they submitted plans that were bigger than they wanted, so they could walk them back and garner favor with the public is on the table.

Of course, no rezoning is necessary here, so they don't really HAVE to garner public favor, but it may be a good tactic anyway.

I love the comment "others worry that the project could gentrify the area". If you are worried about the immediate area, the only housing around is Liberty Warehouse, Foster on the Park, etc. There is nobody to displace.

Also, the fact that people are focused on the "height" makes me question that they are actually concerned about displacement.

Thanks for sharing the article here!
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Durham_Transplant
In reply to this post by Dave @ Building Bull City
Here’s a link to the project page for the architecture firm that shows some more complete/detailed renderings of what this will actually look like. I actually really like the creative use of space and inclusion of a pedestrian corridor between the two buildings. The design itself is pretty unremarkable but typical of current modern apt building trends IMO.

https://www.studio27arch.com/project/geerhouse/
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Dave @ Building Bull City
Administrator
Great find - thanks for posting!

Would love to hear thoughts on the more aesthetics-minded folks on the boards. It is not my style, but at the same time, if this area is going to be an extension of downtown, I don't necessarily mind having a downtown core that has large buildings and a lot of glass, if that means the growth continues and smaller scale neighborhoods around the core thrive by proxy.

I am certainly not a design/architect guy other than trying to understand how design impacts the way spaces are used or not.
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Durham_Transplant
Dave, I’m not much of a design expert myself but it feels reminiscent of a lot of the newer high rise apartments that I saw being built in Boston when I lived there. This is actually a picture of the building I lived in and the similarity is somewhat remarkable. This was a large 10 story cube shape building connected to a thin 20 story rectangle. There was an open mezzanine on the 3rd floor that connected the buildings with the pool and lounge area whereas this design contemplates the skywalk and pedestrian corridor. Just thought it was interesting.

515C267E-F262-473D-8667-D5AD3AAF8BDE.jpeg
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Durham_Transplant
CFE42568-747B-4BDC-83AE-CFADD8FC8A01.jpeg

Here’s a different angle that shows the taller section more clearly. I doubt it was in the running for any design awards but certainly not unpleasant to look at. Ultimately I think this will look better in real life than it does in these renderings. It will definitely be a departure from the norm for that area though.
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Dave @ Building Bull City
Administrator
Definitely similar - interesting.

There is something about glass buildings taller than 4 over 1 that legitimizes a downtown core in the minds of Americans. As much as I like to focus on the human-scale, I feel as though skyline matters to a degree as well.
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

elevatoroperator
In reply to this post by Durham_Transplant
I actually think the design for the 6 story building IS pretty great for what it is. It looks more similar to the kinds of apartment buildings you see in cities like DC and Portland; glad to see a bit better design beginning to penetrate our market. I'm assuming this will be stick-built construction, so its peers are Bullhouse and Cortland, and the buildings tend to be extremely generic and repetitive. Here, they are doing a lot of interesting things with playing with depth in the facade, full-height glazing, and an edgier material palette that seems appropriate for the area. I will be very surprised if they are actually able to pull this off, because developers tend to want to pinch every penny out of these 5-over-1 apartment building designs. Maybe these will be marketed as ultra-luxury.

The high rise is meh. I'm also curious how they're dealing with parking if the project is two phases. Maybe the podium gets built at the same time as the apartment building, with the tower coming later?
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

Durham_Transplant
Totally agree with you. The different angles and protrusions really create more visual appeal and engagement for the smaller building. Hope those features make it into the finished product.
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Re: Quick Hits: GeerHouse

cooper
I think that work is underway
Building at 634 Foster has been demolished.
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