Monday, January 25, 2010

Urban News Vol. 54

New developments amongst local development companies would appear to be affecting big change in the drawn bid procedure for the 'Rascal Site' at Main and Gibbs. This saga has made appearances in this space before. Urban News Vol. 29 dealt with the solicitation and reception of five new proposals in August of 2008. Urban News Vol. 6 was a commentary on four designs rejected by the Cultural Center Commission in February of 2008.

by Brian Sharp, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Article Key Points:
  • The remaining developer in the running for the Block F development has scaled back its plans
  • A DeWolff/Christa/Morgan partnership expects to reduce a $63 million, 10 story tower to a $20 million four story neighborhood block
  • The residential scale is said to be preferable to the surrounding Grove Place neighborhood
  • Financing issues are making it infeasible to build a costly high-rise
  • A developer was selected last year, but agreement was not reached
  • The revised proposal would be built of brick, limestone panels, and glass
  • Retail space will augment five for-sale brownstones and 250 apartment beds

Interesting that the quantifying term chosen to relate apartment capacity is 'beds.' It's as though they were planning a small hospital. Joking aside, I have spoken before about increments of finance and how they will play a role in shaping the future of development. I still maintain that the days of these full block, or worse, superblock projects are over.

In this instance, what I believe was selected by the commission (right, above) was an utter disgrace, and what got my vote 16 months ago was DeWolff's first entry (left, below). By the sound of this article, what will be built will be a pretty tasteful blend of the DeWolff proposal and standard Christa infill (think Sagamore, South/Hickory) and ought to blend in nicely with, and potentially be better than, the high end condos on Grove and Gibbs Streets.

My thought process has shifted in the last year with respect to the heights of downtown buildings. I believe that anything built to last through any type of energy disruption should not usually be designed any taller than roughly 6 stories (due to energy inputs for things such as HVAC and elevators). As such, I'm not heartbroken to hear that the 10-story tower is no more. Let us hope that by the time the design is finalized, city codes on minimum parking provisions have been revised as I read about today regarding Washington, D.C.

1 comment: said...

It will be interesting to see the final design of this development. I'm interested in seeing how a public square fits into this project. Have you seen any plan views that show the footprint of the development?