Council to consider Union Square land deal

by Jeff Sykes

SEDG’s Bob Isner speaks to the Redevelopment Commission.

The Greensboro City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. today in council chambers at the Melvin Municipal Building. One of the more interesting items on the agenda will be the continued discussion about which parcel of the South Elm Redevelopment area to transfer to the Union Square Campus project.Union Square Campus Inc. is so far the only component developer signed on to the project, which encompasses about six acres of former brownfield sites along Elm Street south of downtown.USCI has asked the city to give them an acre of land for free to lower construction costs of their first building, which will house a joint nursing education program among the cities major higher education institutions and Cone Health System.The debate over the land transfer bogged down in late 2014 over compensation for the master developer, South Elm Development Group, which had expected to make profits from selling land to sub developers.A late-stage political drama arose when political interests entered the discussion in an attempt to move the first building from its planned site at the intersection of Lee and Arlington streets back to the more prominent location at Elm and Lee street.The often confusing debate encompassed hours of discussion at two special meetings of the Redevelopment Commission of Greensboro, and hung up on the idea that moving the site at this stage in the planning process was both inefficient and a disservice to the Old Asheboro neighborhood, which borders on the Arlington Street side of the redevelopment site.The debate over the parcel change could continue tonight, as opposing interests on council staked out competing arguments during both special meetings of the redevelopment commission.The commission itself was unable to recommend one site, after two votes ended in a tie at their first meeting. The group decided to forward two sites to council for the final decision.A link to all of the background stories reported by YES! Weekly is available here.