After looking at a city-generated three-dimensional view of the proposed Camperdown site, the Greenville Design Review Board – Urban gave a unanimous thumbs up to both the proposed AC Hotel by Marriott and the adjacent office building at The Greenville News location on Main Street.
Board members were presented both projects together at their August meeting. Plans included the addition of a canopy running along an open plaza with the intent of “guiding pedestrians through the entrance of the office building” into the plaza. The addition of the canopy came following the board’s July meeting. It run from Main Street to the project plaza.
“It’s a cool feature and it does tie into downtown,” said board member Todd Melo.
Michel Lentz, principal withWakefield Beasley & Associatesand lead architect for the office building proposed by Centennial American Properties, said they looked at buildings around the Camperdown development because they wanted to “take some leads from what was already built.”
“We really went with some of the brick from ‘the old Greenville’ while also looking at the “new Greenville’ like at the Peace Center,” Lentz said.
Stephen Overcash, principal of the Charlotte firm of Overcash Demmitt Architects and designer of the AC Hotel by Marriott proposed by JHM Hotels, said it was a struggle to get the hotel to “engage all four sides” of the city streetscapes.
“We think we have done a good job bringing architecture out on, not just the first floor, but also on floors two and three,” Overcash said.
Board member Danielle Fontaine expressed concerns that the hotel design did not meet the city’s guidelines for setting back 20 feet after the fourth floor. In the revised staff notes prepared for the board, it was noted the building been stepped back “two-thirds of the way down Main Street at the second floor.”
“What made it acceptable to me is that this is not strangling the street, and it is fortunate there is a big, open air space there,” Fontaine said of the open plaza.
The board approved both projects to move forward under city staff direction, with conditions of staff approval of final building materials and color, as well as design details, and the development must meet other department and division comments made, including wastewater.
The approval of the certificate of appropriateness for both buildings comes after months of back-and-forth discussions with the Design Review Board, including the city asking for a different exterior look to the office building in April. The city moved ahead with plans for the complex in January.
Earlier this summer Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co., a project co-developer, pulled out of an agreement with Centennial American Properties to develop the site.
“It has taken a while to get here, and design is not easy,” said review board chairman Barry Nocks.
The Camperdown project includes another office building, an apartment complex, condominiums, a theater, space for retail outlets and a fitness center.
“I think it is a great looking design, and I like the new brick with a little color variation … it is a good addition to the area,” board member Carmella Cioffi said of the proposed office building.
She said the only issue she had with the hotel design was the “monolithic” feel of the proposed brick color.
“I’m really excited about this corner and this development,” Cioffi said. She added that the designers and developers of both buildings “have taken into account the spirit of downtown.”