by Eric Ginsburg
Arguably the most famous local alum of Greensboro College didn’t actually graduate.
That hasn’t kept developer Roy Carroll from embracing the small, Methodist college where he only spent a year, or stopped Greensboro College from embracing him as one of its own.
Carroll arrived at Greensboro College as a transfer student for the 1982-83 school year, and though he later attended UNCG and obtained a contractor’s license from GTCC, Greensboro College appears to have made a much more significant effort to keep Carroll in the fold in recent years.
It makes sense — Carroll is one of the largest developers in the city, with several massive projects rolling in downtown Greensboro, and his daughter Brittany later graduated from the Pride. After graduating in 2012, she enrolled in a master’s program at High Point University.
Carroll’s local profile has built steadily over the past several years, beginning with his renovation of the former Wachovia Tower across from where Center City Park now stands. The building, which he converted to high-end condos and named Center Pointe, is also his home.
From the balcony of his penthouse suite on the western side of the building, Carroll can look down into the Greensboro Grasshoppers stadium or to the wide swath of property across the street where he plans to build a multi-million-dollar development that will include a hotel and hundreds of swanky apartments.
He used to be able to hear the vibrating bass and what he considered vulgar lyrics emanating from Greene Street Club’s rooftop, but — with some help — Carroll was able to put the kibosh on noise he considered distasteful, disruptive and bad for business.
Carroll pressured city council members, including former Center Pointe resident and then-mayor Robbie Perkins, to tighten the noise ordinance so that Greene Street and another rooftop venue wouldn’t disturb him and a few of his vocal residents. He even offered to buy the police department the equipment needed to enforce a noise ordinance.
The whole ordeal took years to sort itself out, with council rewriting the ordinance three times after Carroll raised a ruckus. Both downtown venues ultimately closed the rooftop portion of their clubs, and like numerous other residents in the city, they were furious at what they said was an unfair imposition by an entitled Carroll, who arrived downtown years after the clubs opened up.
But Carroll soldiered on, seemingly unfazed. When the so-called “cool” conservative Rhinoceros Times faltered and went out of business with a pile of debt, Carroll brought the Rhino back to life as its publisher. Colorful headlines, a tabloid-style cover, a monster truck and a (metaphorically) domesticated rhinoceros ensued. He even bought a mammoth cruise ship — available to rent for a mere $120,000 a week — and named it after his remade publication.
Carroll’s relationship to Greensboro College has grown too, both as a board member, a donor, the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award and something called the “Distinguished Strategic Executive in Residence.” He currently serves as the second vice chair of the school’s board.