Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Urban News Vol. 45

Some quick news today describing additional development that is not quite downtown, but integral in strengthening the Monroe-Chestnut Center City Gateway District.

by Jim Stinson, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Article Key Points:
  • Construction has begun on a Canandaigua National Bank branch on Alexander Street
  • To be followed in August by two new buildings with 100,000 square feet of office space
  • Buckingham Properties expects to add or renovate more than 750,000 square feet on the old Hospital grounds
  • The medical and office buildings are purely speculative ventures
  • Previous project on site, a renovation at 220 Alexander attracted a major tenant so quickly that consideration is being given to leasing additional space as it becomes available

Some early comments to the article, despite being urbanist in nature, were highly critical of the site plan. I would certainly say that the bank entrance should face Alexander Street, and I'll agree that the drive-thru and surface parking perpetuate the whining and crying and laziness involved in a car dependent society. BUT...I'd also say that the larger buildings that address the Monroe Avenue frontage appear to be of precisely the correct type and scale required there.

I acquired a second rendering of this plot from Buckingham's website. The main office entrance on Monroe is well-defined, fenestration is reasonable, and ground level treatment implies appropriately sized retail spaces. All in all I consider this a very solid addition to the Monroe Avenue business corridor and applaud Mr. Glazer for showing the ultimate faith (building on spec) in the redensification of Great American Cities.

On a personal note, tonight I start drawing classes at the Memorial Art Gallery in an effort to develop the skill enough to create my own site plans and architectural renderings. I hope to make proposals for vacant city lots rooted in good urbanist principles a recurring blog entry series in the coming months.

1 comment:

CWhittaker said...

Have you though about using Sketchup or something similar to depict potential designs on a site?