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Charlotte
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Charlotte Business Journal - 7:53 AM EDT Tuesday
Famed architect Pei chosen for NASCAR hall bid

Erik Spanberg
Senior Staff Writer

Leaders of a campaign to bring the NASCAR Hall of Fame to Charlotte have selected renowned architect I.M. Pei's firm to design the proposed museum, which they're targeting for a city-owned site in Second Ward.

Bids for the project, to be awarded by NASCAR, are due May 31, with a city to be chosen some time after the motorsports organization's annual awards banquet in December but before the Daytona 500 in February 2006.

Charlotte is vying against five cities -- including Atlanta, Kansas City, Mo., and Daytona, Fla. -- to become the hall of fame's home. Local bidders anticipate the project will cost $75 million to $100 million to build.

The New York-based architectural firm, Pei, Cobb & Freed Partners, was formed in 1955 and boasts a glittering portfolio. Its signature projects include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland; the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.; and the expansion of The Louvre in Paris.

Tim Newman, head of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which is spearheading the NASCAR bid, told City Council members Monday night that representatives from Pei, Cobb & Freed would make their first visit to Charlotte on Tuesday.

"With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they've done a tremendous amount of interactive work," says Cathy Bessant, a Bank of America Corp. marketing executive who is helping assemble the NASCAR bid. "That's really important to NASCAR and to us."

In addition, the Charlotte NASCAR campaign team has enlisted high-powered marketing and public-relations firm Interpublic Group to work on the project. Interpublic's client roster includes BofA as well as the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Chevrolet, Microsoft Corp. and Nike Inc.

Bessant says private money, still being raised, will foot the bill for assembling the bid. It carries a price tag near $1 million, she says.

"We're still in the process of raising it, but it's mostly the large corporate players around (who are) either contributing in-kind or hard dollars," she said. She declined to name the contributors.

After detailing the assets rival bidders can offer, Bessant said she remains convinced Charlotte is an ideal site.

"Every city brings something to it," she said. "Having said that, when you add it all up -- the geography, the heritage, the base of support, the likelihood of ability to attract visitors that NASCAR wants -- we have a tremendous amount to offer, and we're hopeful that we can put a proposal together that demonstrates that. We're going to earn this, no question about it, but it's also right in the sweet spot of what this region has to offer."

During Monday night's meeting, Mayor Pat McCrory again expressed support for the hall of fame, which will likely require substantial public investment.

"We consider this an economic development effort," he said. "It's similar to recruiting an industry (to Charlotte)."

Newman, Bessant and McCrory said financial details will be coming soon. Until then, they said, speculation on funding scenarios would be pointless.

Venture capital executive Nelson Schwab, who is helping the Charlotte bidders with funding scenarios, missed Monday's meeting because of a death in his family.

McCrory declined to say whether the bid group would seek donation of the city-owned tract preferred for the museum. Under plans unveiled at the council meeting, the Second Ward land -- bounded by South Brevard, Second, Caldwell and Stonewall streets -- would be used for the hall of fame as well as a moderate, but undefined expansion of the convention center.

The 5.8-acre parcel is valued at $13.6 million.

Newman says the Second Ward site stitches together a burgeoning entertainment district, running from the new NBA arena under construction in First Ward to the convention center, The Charlotte Westin hotel and proposed hall of fame in Second Ward. Placing the NASCAR museum next to the convention center could spur visitors in town for trade meetings to visit the hall of fame, he says.

Beyond that, Newman says Rick Hendrick and other NASCAR team owners have expressed interest in hosting sponsor meetings at the hall of fame and in the convention center, if the properties are adjacent.

"I'm extremely excited about the site location," McCrory said.

At a February retreat, city staffers told the council it's facing a $12 million deficit in the city's fiscal 2006 budget, to be completed this year. At the same time, a group of cultural groups led by the Arts & Science Council wants the city to contribute $117 million toward a range of proposed projects, including a relocated Mint Museum of Art.

NASCAR has intentionally left its request for proposals vague, encouraging each community to be creative with its ideas for the hall of fame. The sanctioning body is not expected to pay for land and construction costs or ongoing operational expenses.

McCrory declined comment Monday night on potential funding sources. He said several scenarios are under consideration, though sources close to the talks anticipate a significant public funding component. N.C. General Assembly members have expressed support, though the state faces a $1.3 billion budget deficit this year.

Bessant estimated the NASCAR Hall of Fame, if located in Charlotte, would have a $100 million annual economic impact and attract 400,000 visitors per year.

While bid leaders expressed hesitancy at making details of their campaign public, they now say public interest demands releasing more information on the process.

"People are really interested and engaged," Bessant said. "And I think the absence of information is not helpful to that momentum. We wanted to put some information out there so we could build on that momentum and really give people a reason to be fired up about it."

Contact media and sports business reporter Erik Spanberg at [email protected] or (704) 973-1116.

Link:
http://charlotte.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2005/04/11/daily11.html


Some of Pei’s museum projects


CLEVELAND ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME








DC HOLOCAUST MUSEUM




 

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Curiousity of what IM Pei's NASCAR design would look like is almost enough for me to want Charolette to get the hall of fame.

While a fan of Pei, I don't like all of his designs. I don't like Wildwood here in Atlanta. I think he just recycled portions of other designs of his. I suspect that some of his lesser projects are created in his style by assistants with his oversight.

I would guess for something this high profile that the design will be his. I like the way he contemplates the meaning behind what a building is to contain before starting design. For the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame for example, he had never been a fan of rock but started listening to it. He kept listening until he boiled the essence of rock down to one word: Energy. And from there he designed the building. I'm guessing with NASCAR he'd create something that shouts "motion".
 

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It wouldn't surprise me if Atlanta announced they're going to have Rem Koolhaas do the design for the Atlanta bid.
 

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...wolf in cheap clothing
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God forbid. Pei was the perpetrator of downtown Asheville's ugliest building.
 

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Roll Tide
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Great. Another monolithic concrete eyesore that will look hopelessly dated within 15 years. Way to go, NASCAR.
 

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hauntedheadnc said:
God forbid. Pei was the perpetrator of downtown Asheville's ugliest building.
That's the risk you take when hiring one of these world famous architects. You might get something really cool or something really crappy or something that looks cool now but in a decade or two looks really crappy.
 

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isn't pei like 90 now.anyways i read his book IMpei a profile in american architecture and in the book it stated many times that most of the designs weren't done by him but by the junior partners and then he would approve them and revise them.,so most of the stuff he supposedly did weren't actually done by him,
 

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That's pretty typical of high profile brand name professionals. You see it in everything from architects to painters to comics (Jim Davis probably hasn't written a Garfield homself in 20 years). And that's why lots of times the designs look like they are recycled parts of another's design.

I'm curious as to how much this helps Charolette. Will NASCAR really care or be impressed that the hall of fame was designed by a famous architect? What percentage of their fans have ever heard of Pei? They are a mostly conservative crowd so anything that looks strange or European will not go over well. On the other hand, if Pei himself is actually doing the design and he does his research on NASCAR and the NASCAR fans, he surely would compensate for that factor.
 

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Congrats nostyle on being the very first forumer to be added to my ignore list. Not even Yalegrad achived that honor. w00t for you!
 

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King of the Queen
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thats like getting the online bitch slap.

either way. i want something that blends the convention center into what will happen in 2nd war, the westin, and the rest of that area.
 

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Charlotte
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I like the idea of putting an architecturally interesting museum in Uptown, but it just seems like it would make more sense to put this thing out by the Speedway/Concord Mills or up in Mooresville somewhere near all the race team’s headquarters. Supposedly the planning committee is comprised of people from all surrounding communities, not just Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. I have to applaud the influence of Charlotte’s Uptown power brokers.
 

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The reason that its going uptown is that we have the hotels and restarants within walking distance to support this muesem which will draw 400,000 people per year. Also there have been plans for at least the past 5 years to put in a big automotive muesem downtown anyways.
 
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