Changes to plans for Union Square Campus development

by Jeff Sykes

Union Square Campus Inc’s new site plan.

Project managers for the proposed Union Square Campus are moving to a backup site plan just weeks after unveiling conceptual drawings for what was to have been the first phase of the combined nursing facility at Elm and Lee streets in downtown Greensboro.

John Merrill, a representative of the non-profit Union Square Campus Inc., told members of the Redevelopment Commission of Greensboro that the group had experienced a “financial hiccup”, but had worked through the issue. The end result is a scaled back first phase of the project, with plans now to build a three-story building at the corner of Lee and Arlington streets, as opposed to the four-story plan presented to the public last month. That building would have had street level retail and space for the combined nursing programs of UNC-G, NC A&T State University and GTCC, with Cone Health also having space in the facility.

Sources indicate that GTCC scaled back its financial commitment in recent weeks, forcing a move to the smaller facility.

USCI is also asking the City of Greensboro to transfer two acres of land at not cost in order to reduce their overall construction costs. The city council will consider a resolution at its Dec. 2 meeting that would make the transfer a reality.

This was news to members of the redevelopment commission, who expressed surprise at their regular meeting Wednesday that city council had bypassed the commission’s oversight of the project. The commission was asked to schedule a special meeting on Nov. 19 at which time they will approve the terms and conditions of the land transfer and advertise an upset bid period. Staff surmised that the possibility of an upset bid was slim, given USCI’s advanced plans.

USCI is also asking the city council to commit to paying for 250 spaces in a future parking deck. Two decks with a combined 1100 parking spaces are part of the master plan.

Representatives of the group overseeing the South Elm redevelopment announced that a Greensboro-based hotelier had recently expressed serious interest in the site. South Elm Development Group also told commission members that a promising retail lead had come forward in recent weeks.