Home Factor company Increasing the “cool factor” in Greensboro through development projects – The North State Journal

Increasing the “cool factor” in Greensboro through development projects – The North State Journal

0
Marty Kotis III bought street art artist from around the world in Greensboro to display his work in the city of Greensboro, North Carolina on May 3, 2022. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL

GREENSBORO — Commercial real estate developer and restaurant owner Marty Kotis has big plans to attract businesses and young people to Greensboro by “upping the cool factor” through various development projects.

An art project in a Cone Blvd. restaurant owned by Greensboro developer Marty Kotis is shown. Courtesy picture

Kotis is the CEO of Kick Ass Concepts, formerly known as Kotis Holdings. Kick Ass Concepts markets itself as a “development, commercial real estate, restaurant and entertainment company”. He is also the man responsible for the explosion of vibrant street art in the neighborhood through his Kotis Street Art project.

Kotis’ company owns approximately 45 acres along part of the Battleground Avenue corridor in downtown Greensboro in which he intends to create a “living, working and playing neighborhood with amenities including rooftop terraces, shops and apartments along the greenway”.

Kick Ass Concepts’ sizable footprint of 1 million square feet of retail space and approximately 150 tenants has a portfolio of iconic companies like Painted Plate, Red Cinemas Luxury Theatre, Burger Warfare, Pig Pounder and Tracks Beer Garden Bazaar and Bandstand.

In an interview with North State Journal, Kotis said he thought the 11-acre project in downtown Greensboro was probably the most interesting. The site was once the old Brooks lumber yard with associated warehouses, but Kotis has begun to transform it into a hip multi-use venue.

“We have Dram & Draft Whiskey Bar in there. We are building an electric vehicle business there,” Kotis said. “We do trade shows, a food truck park, an outdoor concert hall, a farmer’s market, an indoor concert hall, an ax and skateboard throwing venue, an art gallery and an outdoor cafe.”

Additionally, new 10-acre mixed-use spaces in the downtown and highlands for entertainment, office and retail are also in the pipeline.

Bringing Greensboro into the same range of competition as Charlotte and Raleigh in terms of jobs, shopping, entertainment and overall city attractiveness are key to its development strategy.

“The first thing is you have to have jobs that people want,” Kotis said. “And the second part is you have to have the amenities that people want – the restaurants, the artwork in the bars, the performing arts.”

Along the Battleground Avenue corridor in downtown Greensboro is an area that Kotis has been working on redevelopment since 1991. He noted that a list of older, defunct businesses in this area had been replaced with new ones. new “cool stuff you normally see in a town” and the next step was to fix the area building height issue.

“I’m going back and looking to make them denser and go more vertical because that’s one of the issues in Greensboro,” Kotis explained. “As you walk through town, you don’t see a lot of buildings over one or two stories along most of our hallways and that’s really weird.

A sculpture inside one of the development projects owned by Marty Kotis. Courtesy picture

Kotis said he noticed the lack of vertical development as a problem, but said that when other people visit the city, “they can’t quite put their finger on it, but they’re like, ‘This just looks run down or older, you know, like an 80s mall.”

“I’m also developing more in the cell along the Battleground Avenue Corridor,” Kotis said. “And I go back and look at the malls, like along West Market Street, or in the northeast of the city where I rejuvenate the malls and redesign them, which I really like to do.”

Kotis went on to mention the need for more apartments that would be attractive to young people to compete with some of the existing housing options in the area.

But there have been roadblocks along the redevelopment route Kotis wants to take, and the Greensboro Planning Department has been a bit of an obstacle. Kotis described traveling to different parts of the state and getting some great ideas to bring back, but ending up getting frustrated with city planners.

“When I come back to Greensboro, I get frustrated because they don’t know how to handle creative projects,” Kotis said of the city’s planning department. “They used to endorse a Sheetz or a McDonald’s or something I’ve seen before. But when we think outside the box, they can’t think outside the box with us, and so their immediate reaction to all these projects is to turn them down.

Kotis also pointed to the city’s use of ordinances, giving an example of wanting to have ten food trucks on the tracks, the 8-acre development project near downtown.

“The city, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that no, you should really only be able to have one to three food trucks because we don’t want too many food trucks competing with restaurants in the area,” Kotis said. “Well, they’re not. There ain’t a fucking restaurant in this whole block I own, or this block I own, this block I found, or this block I own. And when I want to put food trucks on my own property, they say it’s too much and they have an order preventing it.

Kotis is also frustrated that the city requires him to build a permanent restroom to accommodate 100 people for a planned outdoor concert hall. He called it ‘stupid’ that the city also wanted gates on this outdoor site so that in the event of a fire people could ‘stand in the middle of the street or in the middle of the train tracks’ .

Crime and homelessness in parts of the city linked to a lack of policing and law enforcement are also issues, according to Kotis. In particular, crime has been a problem near Tracks.

“It’s a constant problem if we go down to Tracks and cross over there. I guarantee you we’ll see piles of trash that my guys cleaned up that week,” Kotis said. “You will see heaps of garbage. You will see homeless people around you; they urinate or defecate [and] they are going to break into businesses.

Kotis said the general rule was that homeless people could “just have carte blanche, do whatever they want to do” and “at the expense of all our freedoms”. He added that police were reluctant to make arrests for fear of being charged with harassing homeless people.

Additionally, Kotis said drug addicts and aggressive begging have also been deterrents to moving the redevelopment forward.

“We had a guy who came in twice now and stripped outside a mall outside a Pure Barre space and started going through trash cans and harassing people and yelling at them and stuff,” Gave Kotis as an example. .

“Imagine you’re a new business, wanting to come to the area and see this…you say, ‘I don’t want to go,'” Kotis added.