x99

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x99 last won the day on July 21 2012

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  1. I think you're right that we're just filling space with a lot of stuff. Lately, I've heard a lot of unprompted "looks cheap" or similar comments around projects like Warner Tower. It is so bad that it makes Fifth Third Center look like an architectural tour de force. I don't know if those panels actually are cheap--various sources suggest they are not, both in initial costs and long term maintenance and efficiency--but it's hard to argue with the assessment that they look cheap and tacky, like pieces of plexiglass with metal covering the seams. Is there really anyone who thinks that looks "high end"? It's hard to imagine how that building could have been designed and built to be more bland, generic, and thoughtless. Despite its faults, if the Hinman Tower actually does get built, it shouldn't suffer from being an insipid glass garbage pile like Warner Tower or the similarly horrible corrugated metal trash cans popping up all over town.
  2. x99

    50 Monroe to get de-skinned?

    Simulated? Just use real ones. They aren't exactly expensive, either. I can't believe they would use plate glass on the street facades. It's just tacky. (... and here's hoping someone at least loosely affiliated with CWD reads this. Sam Cummings is a good friend of historic preservation, which is why I'm questioning so strongly that they would do a variety of things that could take what smelled at first like a fairly noble preservation effort into a half-baked, ugly remuddle.)
  3. x99

    50 Monroe to get de-skinned?

    If they don't put appropriate windows in, even if they are just cheap double-hungs, it will not look good in the end. It would be very unfortunate to spend all of this money and then blow it on the details. I've never really understood this project from the start. If it was not to restore the buildings, then why bother with all of this? Some half-baked effort could well be worse than if they had just left things well enough alone. Hopefully they at least make the front facades look right.
  4. x99

    New projects in East Hills

    I would say the business is finished and the concept is changing, if this thread is at all accurate. Marie Catrib's appears to own their building and does not rent. So the supposed $900k was probably for the building. If you're also buying a business, you don't coordinate the sale so terribly that you have half a dozen news articles all saying the place you just bought is closing.
  5. My silly thought process on this: If I get no parking, then why should I have to mow the city's lawn between the sidewalk and the street? Requiring homeowners to pay to park on their own street is a complete scam, as is allowing every lot owner to claim spaces by occupants. Each owner should be allocated free spaces annually in accordance with their frontage and available parking on the block they front. Claimed spaces can be leased, transferred, etc. Unclaimed spaces get auctioned off annually. Fair solution, and as I've argued before, possibly the only good solution to the "no parking micro unit" swindle which can suck up acres of neighborhood street parking to service a single small project.
  6. This reflects my own design bias, but I think this has to be one of the best parking lot projects ever, with the explanation behind it: http://www.archnewsnow.com/features/Feature107.htm Those ground floor retail spaces in those new buildings on Fulton seem to be difficult to lease. Perhaps it's because the buildings are very unwelcoming on the main floor, and violate sound New Urbanist principles that have been fairly successful when applied? If there is such a thing as a "New Urbanist" parking ramp that is not a liner ramp, I would say the above photos come pretty close to the ideal.
  7. This is just... bizarre. I really love how the illustration has two bikes, two cars, and four or five pedestrians. All that's missing are a few cows munching on grass in a median. Reality would show cars bumper to bumper as far as the eye could see and zero bikes. Sort of like Division has been for five or six years since they pulled a stunt like this on Division, which has been a permanent traffic jam ever since.
  8. x99

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    Tired of it or not (I am), it's an important conversation. It's one New Urbanists have been having for decades. Blank slate developments have an enforcement mechanism--lots of covenants and restrictions. Cities do not. A quality built environment is entirely voluntary. Form-based zoning codes have taken a small stab at it, but even that can only go so far. If the economics prove that more attractive and quality structures also attract more people, we'll at least have a quality build environment, but there are bound to be false starts along the way. For fifty years, we completely forgot how to design urban areas (although the art of it was arguably preserved to some extent inside of shopping malls). So far as Wealthy specifically, assuming you could turn this into a heavily developed commercial corridor, you will run into problems trying to "enhance" the existing aesthetic. Those corner gas stations and the remaining houses on Wealthy are all protected, as are the houses off-Wealthy you need to tear down for parking lots. That could be a tough nut to crack, but it may be years before that needs to become a real conversation.
  9. You stole the words from my mouth. The bright side is that it's an uninteresting brick people warehouse instead of an uninteresting metal panel people warehouse. That's progress, at least. Too bad they can't just recreate what was there. Close to the same size, and much prettier. EDIT: Thinking about this, I realized another issue with this. Previously, this was two buildings. The best small-scale urban projects will often take a single building and put two or more facades on it to keep maintain a varied streetscape. That probably would have helped.
  10. Maybe we just need to get creative. If memory serves, they were going to have some sort of "valet" parking. That ought to open up an ability to use a rotating parking "car carousel". I posted pictures of one of those things before (just Google it). Maybe one of those surface lots would be a good spot for one. In any case, flood the Planning Dept. Enough is enough.
  11. x99

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    I won't claim to know everything... I certainly don't. All I said was that I wouldn't expect you (or most developers, for that matter) to know or care much about historic preservation. That's not your job, and that was my point. I was also pointing out--I think correctly, but options may differ--that having "stand out", clearly identifiable modern style buildings in traditional historic districts is not a good thing. This is no Electric Cheetah, to be sure, but I also don't think it's entirely benign. I was also pointing out a few reasons, with detailed examples, why I felt this was not a very good design for this particular historic district. If the way I chose to do that was insulting to you, you have my apologies. No insult was intended. Most developers have little if any backing in historic preservation rules, theory or practice. I was overly presumptuous expecting you too would not. I should have been more careful. As for my earliest comment you were "getting away" with something... you're right implying that was a little rude. It was, and I shouldn't have directed it at you. Like you said, you leave the design details to the design professionals. That's really where my comment should have been directed. I was trying to avoid another war of words with those particular design professionals (which some may remember from a couple years ago). Suffice to say a lot of this is subjective, and they and I disagree about the subject. I shouldn't have dragged you into a long dead Internet flame war. Mea culpa. I've loved classical architecture since I was knee high, and it seems if there is a place where it should flourish and grow, it ought to be in traditional historic districts. It irritates me to no end that it is rarely given a chance even there. Instead, people keep hiring avowed modernists to work there, too. Over, and over, and over, and over .... It's just all "modernism", all the time, almost everywhere. Oh, well. From almost any perspective outside of historic preservation, I think these buildings are a significant improvement over what currently exists, and that's something to be proud of. 'Nuf said.
  12. Thanks for posting those. I do like this more than the original design, which always had this weird notch about a 1/3 of the way up where it looked (visually) like the building would crack off in a windstorm. I think this strongly moves it into the Postmodern camp. No, it doesn't have any real nods to architectural ornament like some Postmodern, but they do have the proportion and scale right this time around. It's a nicely done building.
  13. ... It's almost comical. Read the application. They bought an operating, maintained building FOUR YEARS AGO for almost a MILLION dollars, did nothing with it, never tried to lease it, and let it get run down and crappy looking. Their application kinda sorta forgets to mention all that. Now they say they can improve things and "add life" or something by bulldozing an abandoned, empty run down building. That takes some real brass ones, right there... If I were on the PC, I would happily tell them to go pound sand and hand them a paint brush. Then I would call my buddies in code enforcement to start slapping them with fines. Screw that sort of behavior. They can build a ramp on one of their numerous giant parking lots.
  14. What I'd almost like to see is a shorter, 3 or 4 story statement building. But that's not practical, given the need for added parking to support growth. A ramp with the quality of the Cherry/Commerce or Monroe Center ramp, coupled with office space on top thus becomes the reasonable option. I don't think the final height here makes a significant aesthetic difference. Both are tall enough that the buildings won't be very "personable", yet short enough that the final height will not make a meaningful skyline difference or variance in building heights. It's a wash either way.
  15. x99

    50 Monroe to get de-skinned?

    There was a quote from one of the owners awhile back (to paraphrase) that the final design would show some of the scars... Let's hope the scars are not CMUs on a street-facing facade... I think that would be a first downtown, and not a good one. I can't imagine industrial concrete blocks would help market the building, but who knows? I agree re: the accuracy. If they stuck the original parapet wall back on, that would be amazing. There are precious few high style parapets left intact downtown. The building on the right had a fabulous one, with a huge pediment running the middle 3/4 of the length of the facade, and four sort-of story-high pineapple urns, 2 at the edges of the building and 2 at the edges of the pediment. It was unusual, but pretty cool. Flanagans is one of the only buildings with a massive parapet still fully intact.