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Developers, residents talk new Southern Village construction

By Rich Fowler
Staff Writer

The developers of Southern Village met with residents on Monday and Tuesday nights to discuss building a five-story hotel or condominium in the center of the community.

Southern Village developer D.R. Bryan said that the plan would be to put in either a 90-to-110-room hotel or condominiums on the site, along with a two-level parking deck and around 5,000 square feet of ground-level retail. Bryan said that a local hotel group has already expressed interest in the site.

The building would go in on the site of the parking lot across the street from Weaver Street Market.

About half of the residents at the Tuesday night meeting were opposed to any new building. They were concerned about parking, security and aesthetics, and worried about overcrowding at Scroggs Elementary School.

Southern Village resident Terry Melville is afraid of what either would do to the look and feel of the center: “I think that if a structure goes there, we’re going to lose the openness of the village, and it won’t be as convenient for parking.”

“I don’t want to see more stores go bankrupt, because that starts changing the character of our village,” said eight-year Southern Village resident Elizabeth Shuster. “I would rather take a chance on some growth done the right way.”

Bryan and John Fugo, who teamed up to develop Southern Village 15 years ago, both live and work in the neighborhood.

“We’re really looking at keeping this place alive and making sure that it continues to develop,” Fugo said.

Michael Lyle, director of Market Street Books and Maps, is in favor of adding a hotel to Southern Village.
“It’s more that it needs to be done in a way that matches what’s already going on here,” he said.

Others are taking a more wait-and-see approach. Southern Village resident Rainer Dammers said, “I think it depends highly on how you connect it to the existing village.” His concern is that whatever goes in should fit in with the rest of the community.

“If there is significant opposition in the neighborhood to [the building], then we’re going to stop right now,” Bryan said.

The developers are going ahead with a very rough concept plan to save time and money. The plan calls for a 90,000-square-foot building with 58,000 square feet of parking.
“What we submitted to the town is nothing but a box with a maximum width, length and height saying this is the most that would be done under the zoning,” Bryan said.

The developers want input from the Community Design Commission and the town council before committing to anything. If there is enough interest, they would start drawing up formal designs and plans. The concept plan is scheduled for review at the Sept. 24 CDC meeting.

3 Responses

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  1. jim

    Eliminating the parking in the middle of Southern Village’s Market Street is the dumbest thing thing anyone could every imagine. For a hotel? There are plenty of hotels in town. All of the small retailers on Market St, and even the little Weaver St Market, will suffer if a big dumb building is put in the center of Market St.

  2. Peter

    I think it is a great idea if done correctly. The building would actually add more parking (hidden). What is duller than a parking lot? It would add more retail. Real towns grow and develop. It would bring more street life. Isn’t that what we are supposed to be about in Southern Village? If it looks like a condo-no. If it has the feel of the village and the street level is all restaurants and shops with no dead space-great. I think 4 entrances to the garage is too many. Having shops facing each other across the street will feel more like a real town and be more dynamic. I say do it and do it well.

  3. Scott Morrison

    Since the age of 6 I have lived in 14 Towns,Cities, and Villages; one in the heart of France. When I moved to Southern Village I did so due to it low key, unique village atmosphere. I can walk to the commercial and relax. You can walk almost anywhere in the commerical area and feel the sun on your face. As in most true Village environments, the max. height of the buildings is about 3 stories.
    The proposed build is to large for the existing space and would give the commercial a city feel. Sitting out and eating a Weavers would be clostrophobic in comparison. If a building of that size is to be put in it should be built on the other side of 15/501 and a tunnel walkin installed to conbine the two sides. The hotel should not be built. Thats not the feel I was sold and the current zoning of that area garenteeded it.