By Daniel Wirtheim, Staff Writer
Published in print Apr. 22, 2015
During the 2008 recession, Bulent Bediz filed bankruptcy, maintaining a majority of his properties on quickly dwindling finances.
His vision of transforming the Glenwood neighborhood into an enclave for artists had come to a standstill.
Michael Byers, then assistant vice chancellor of business affairs at UNCG, approached Bediz for a deal on his Lee Street properties. Bediz was intrigued.
More than anything, Bediz wanted Glenwood to succeed as a safe-haven for cultural-diversity, and the university had the means to encourage that type of growth.
In 2010, UNCG met with the Greater Glenwood Neighborhood Association (GGNA) to draft a revised vision for university expansion, where the preservation of a natural stream area called “The Glen,” the architectural significance of houses on Lexington Avenue and homes on Glenwood Avenue were addressed.
Deals were drafted, augmented and passed back and forth between Bediz and Byers, as they tried to draft what would be the best way to approach the university’s plan of expansion.
Bediz settled on selling homes in exchange for the opportunity to purchase what would become a used car lot on Lee Street, which seemed like an attractive deal at the time.
Bediz bought cars, a lot of cars, but the land was never purchased.
Capital Facilities Foundation Inc., the entity through which UNCG accumulated the properties, is currently in a litigation battle with Bediz over the agreement.
Although Bediz drafted part of the agreement himself, he couldn’t help but feel betrayed.
In Jan. 2014, 37 of Bediz’s vehicles were towed by the city of Greensboro.
Bediz was arrested on the same day, charged with resisting, delaying or obstructing a police officer, and assault on a government official.
He claims he’s innocent. He claims the city was practicing selective code.
For Bediz, this was the final straw. The city that had once commended his efforts for preserving Glenwood’s historic character was now his adversary.
In May 2014, Byers left UNCG and Charles Maimone was appointed the vice chancellor of business affairs.
“From the very beginning, the University has listened to and included ideas from the Glenwood Neighborhood,” wrote Maimone.
“We have viewed the Spartan Village project as a collaboration between the University, the GGNA, the local community, and the City of Greensboro.
I would say that due to the dialogue with and the contributions of many stakeholders, UNCG has ended up with a much better project.”
Parking lots and “cookie-cutter dorms,” as Bediz calls them, now sit on Lee Street, where his thoughtfully crafted homes once did.
As he sits on his front porch, Bediz can see the University Police Station lit up at night. He calls it a “palace”— a symbol of his broken dream.