Friday, July 17, 2009

Urban News Vol. 46

While I don't have a ton to relate today or even a new topic (the story is a progression of something first reported in Urban News Vol. 44), I felt it important to show the latest rendering of 661 South Ave. I now consider this to be the finest city development project that has been undertaken since I began writing this blog.

I suppose I should clarify on what grounds I give it this distinction. These would be a combination of programming, architecture, respect to the pedestrian, rental rates, scale, and character. So, in summary, I think pretty much everything about this is well executed so far.

by Tom Tobin, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Article Key Points:
  • Groundbreaking held Thursday
  • Four story, 40,000 square foot building - 33 Apartments, Ground Floor Retail
  • Restaurant + Mix of Store Types
  • Studio, One, and Two Bedroom apartments: 650-1000 square feet

I read in City Newspaper that South Wedge Planning Committee Director Robert Boyd had specifically requested Konar be involved in the design and development of the parcel. By the looks of this rendering, they made the right decision.

Looking previously at aerial photos and angled aerials of the site, I assumed that this project would be confined to the grassy lot adjacent to Solera, but this image shows the new development flush against the building at 683 South. This would complete the commercial block on the west side of South Avenue, possibly the most critical development parcel in the heart of the South Wedge. I'm impressed.

I'll finish my love affair with a single rendering by pointing out the Mansard roof styling of the 4th floor on the ends and in the center that give it symmetry in its attempt to look like Old North St. Louis. Also I see what appears to be some ornamentation at the peaks of 'buildings' 2 and 4. Maybe there is hope for architecture and craftsmanship!


Rottenchester said...

Amen, brother. This will be a huge boon to the South Wedge.

My only concern is that the reason that the small retail businesses (e.g., Solera) are alive there today is because of low rents. I hope the new retail space in this complex has reasonable rent so businesses there can survive.

thethirdcoast said...

I really like that rendering!

Let's hope the final design follows it closely.

I've also been by the corner mentioned in Urban News Vol. 45 a couple times, and it looks like that development is steadily progressing. Maybe I'll go back in a couple weeks and see what's changed.

urban explorer said...

Great development... Rochester could use 50 more like this one. Too bad we had to give it a million dollars in public money to make it happen. Despite that, I believe it's worth it.

What I can't understand is Bob Boyd's reference in the article to Brooklyn brownstones. Has he been to Brooklyn? This is not really anything like a Brooklyn brownstone. In fact, the rowhouses farther north on South Avenue are much more like Brooklyn, with their shallow setback and elevated first floor with stoops.

Secondly, why does Rochester have to emulate Brooklyn? Why can't Rochester utilize context clues from, oh, I dunno... ROCHESTER??!! We have a city full of wonderful historic examples of great architecture.