Thank you again for your interest in the public, Mr. Gouda.
My opinion: I still like the project... a lot, really. The new rendering does stay true to the original, however my favorite element that truly distinguished it from other buildings in the original rendering was how the glass cube/crown was the entire top. The modified top glass cube, but doesn't make the tower as bold as in the original rendering. I did like the height of the original plan, but what can you do? Also, has the restaurant portion been scaled back? It looks like the glass around this section from the original has been scaled back as well.
On a side note, you may want to pass this project along to whomever interested in retail leasing to courting Starbucks into this location. They're rapidly expanding Central Florida operations and when this is done, this will be a prime location.
To WeNeed2Progress (Great name by the way),
We are planning on expanding the cube as you insightfully suggested. We did not have time to adjust the rendering to show how the glass cubes will intersect with the structure; however this change is a priority.
In addition we are going to make sure that the “cage like” frames around the cubic glass elements stay true to the original design.
We were asked by the DRC today if the cubes would connect to and be part of the interior spaces and the answer is yes, they will. I have to credit the DRC board as they also identified the cube depth as an important element to restore. Some very constructive comments were made at the hearing and we plan to implement them as they will have a very positive impact on the project.
The restaurant has been adjusted somewhat and will be further developed. It is two stories tall with the outdoor seating moved up to the roof. We felt it was important that we pull back from the park to add seating along our property line. The parks department felt from the start that it was very important that we offer outdoor seating to help enliven the weakest corner of Lake Eola. They felt that it would help draw more people into the park. From this discussion was born the idea of adding the deck to the park property in exchange for making improvements to the entire corner.
Since our original plan depicted an outdoor deck extending into the park, we felt it was important to show the parks department that we will remain true to our word. We therefore reduced the restaurant interior footprint in order to keep their coveted “faces in the park” by adding a deck on our own property.
Believe it or not, the state fire safety regulations that restrict the amount of glass openings permitted on the walls of buildings that are constructed close to one another have impacted the left portion of the restaurant wall. Since there is the possibility that the city or parks dept could build a structure on park property right next to the restaurant, we must therefore limit the amount of glazing on the restaurant wall that is close to the property line. Since the restaurant pulls back from the property line as it runs to the north, the limited glazing requirement does not apply to the right side of the wall.
We expect that the parks department will initiate their own MPB application where they ask for the right to add an outdoor deck to the park with the intention of leasing it to our hotel’s restaurant operator. Park improvements were never something we were asking to be approved at our MPB hearing as we are not the owner of park land.
If the park’s plans are approved, we will modify the hotel’s restaurant, bringing it back to something very much like the original design. Part of the agreement would provide something like air rights that will address the fire safety issue described above. As it now stands, we have to design the restaurant to code based on our own property.
Our offer to provide funding for substantial improvements to the park near our site remains on the table. I believe that our original MPB proposal had a smaller leased deck area than the one that was approved at the Lee’s Lakeside location.
As good neighbors, we are also adjusting the restaurant to accommodate some of the concerns voiced by our neighbors at the Roslyn Club.
Thank you for your support and the helpful comments.