The changes in downtown Greensboro have picked up the pace considerably in 2019.

The first new hotel in decades, Hyatt Place, opened on the corner of North Eugene and Bellemeade streets. And the final building of the 300-unit Carroll Bellemeade apartment complex – which features a rooftop pool over looking First National Bank Field, the home of the Grasshoppers – will be open soon.

The Project Slugger office building, 400 Bellemeade, is under construction next to the ballpark and the city is building a parking deck across Bellemeade from the ballpark.

After many delays, the Westin Hotel-February One Parking Deck complex is under construction on South Elm and East Market streets.

Downtown Greensboro Inc. President Zack Matheny said that DGI played a part in those projects as well as helping locate the three pop-up shops run by Wrangler, UNCG and NC A&T State University.

But Matheny said he is also focusing on bringing more jobs to the downtown. Matheny said, “Nobody has ever focused on urban job growth.”

He said bringing Centric Brands, with 250-plus jobs to the Gateway Building on the corner of South Elm Street and Gate City Boulevard, was the largest manufacturing job growth downtown in 40 years. Matheny said that area is now being branded as “Lower Downtown,” or “LoDo,” and additional parking is in the works on the southwest corner of the South Elm Street and Gate City Boulevard intersection – because you can’t bring jobs without parking.

He added that Kontoor Brands was bringing an additional 200 employees downtown and, of course, one of the reasons for building the February One Parking Deck is that Lincoln Financial needs more parking for employees in the Lincoln Financial complex.

Matheny talked about a host of other projects, such as the restoration of the building at the corner of Friendly Avenue and North Greene Street for offices and apartments, the renovation of Natty Greene’s to give it more of a street level presence and, of course, the many downtown festivals for which DGI is responsible.