Friday, May 24, 2024

Roy Carroll battles Greensboro over a parking deck

Greensboro officials and developer Roy Carroll are wrangling over a parking deck, shown in this rendering. About 22,000 people work and 27,000 live in the central business district, according to Downtown Greensboro Inc.

It’s a case of “he said, she said” in the battle over the construction of a $30 million parking deck in Greensboro. City officials and local developer Roy Carroll have been facing off for the last year, singing two different tunes when it comes to the speed bumps that the Bellemeade Street parking deck project has hit.

Carroll, founder and CEO of The Carroll Cos., has been a prolific developer in his hometown in recent decades (“Power 100: Roy Carroll builds an empire of ‘sticks and bricks,’” February).

In late 2017, the city began working on deals to build two $30 million parking decks downtown. One would serve as the base of a $100 million hotel-office project that Carroll hopes to build.

Downtown Greensboro needs more parking to keep up with future development demands, according to an analysis the city commissioned in March by engineering firm Kimley-Horn. The study found that three of four parking decks in downtown are frequently at or near 85% full, and the city hasn’t built a new parking deck or lot in almost 30 years.

After months of what Carroll dubbed “good faith” negotiations, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan told him in late April the city planned to abandon the project in favor of building a smaller deck on a nearby corner.

According to the Greensboro News & Record, the city alleged Carroll couldn’t provide a timeline for the project, causing a delay in construction of the parking deck that also would be used for a planned $17 million office building adjacent to the Greensboro Grasshoppers’ baseball stadium. It is being developed by Gemcap and Carolina Investment Properties.

The 1,050-space deck also was supposed to be the foundation of Carroll’s $100 million building, which is slated to include 15 to 20 stories of office and residential space.

Carroll, on the other hand, has said that his development company has bent over backwards working with the city as the project repeatedly veered off course.

Carroll, who was unavailable for comment, took to Twitter to voice his frustration with the city’s initial decision. “To the City of Greensboro: If you get someone to spec a 200,000-square-foot office tower like I was proposing and guarantee it to start within 6 months, … I’ll give $1 million to the charity of your choice,” Carroll tweeted on April 25. On May 3, he tweeted, “I continue to struggle with the city’s parking deck position. Lots of leading citizens volunteering theories. None bode well for the city.”

Then, in mid-May, the project was back on the table and discussions with Carroll have reopened, according to interim City Manager David Parrish. Carroll hopped back on his Twitter account to voice his opinion.

“We will try our best to make a garage deal for GSO,” he tweeted on May 14. “Parrish is a deal maker. A [$100 million] mixed use project is complicated but I’m optimistic!”

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