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flaneur

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  1. @mintscraft56I think the post refers to Norfolk being unable to expand its geographic footprint via annexation as land-locked, not that it is literally land-locked in the way that Roanoke or other inland cities are. This is a legacy of the 1970s annexation moratorium decision, rooted in the legacy of racism too. All complex, but at least we're making progress, finally.
  2. nice find and this is exciting! while i would have loved that tall glass cube rendering shown awhile back, this entire corner at broad and madison is currently empty surface parking. this will be a great chance to enhance the urban wall and fill in gaps in that block. with quirk and common house within a block in each direction, this is a prime area to add to the growing vibrancy of broad. and 8 stories will fit in nicely! i can't wait to see the rendering.
  3. flaneur

    Shockoe Bottom

    +1 to many of the above comments. this doesn't have to be an either/or between development and preservation. it really should be a nuanced both/and where we have a holistic, balanced approach and don't weaponize either. we need to keep a fair amount of the rich historic urban fabric we have while also growing. one of the unfortunate realities of modern development is that it's hard for many projects to pencil (make it financially viable for the developer) beyond the omnipresent " 5 over 1" concrete podium with five floors of wood above it flowering in so many cities. these are good for adding density and new residents, and you can vary the facades quite a bit, but they get repetitive real fast. many of the older buildings we just could not build economically today. so to get around just the 5 over 1s and try to get better urban design, this is where our TOD zoning overlay and other efforts to help increase land values, incentivize height, etc., give us a chance to enhance the urban fabric with new development. but all said, i'll still take new "5 over 1s" on surface parking lots as smart infill any day of the week. but if it takes out a row of decent buildings, then it gets complex. for example, look at the block on 805 w. cary st. development near dinamo. that's one where i wish the developer had kept the facades of the existing buildings on the block while adding 5 story density infill behind, instead of tearing down most of that block and building the "fugly" 5 over 1 there.
  4. I agree. The HOW of this process is light years better in terms of transparency and inclusion than Navy Hill or the Casino. RVA at 1.3 million is the 44th largest MSA, so yes, I suspect MLB wants our market share when most of our peers at the AA level are more in the 75-150th MSA size. I think the biggest contingency will come down to how they structure the financials, specifically the use and boundaries of a TIF/TAD. The Navy Hill TIF was just bonkers and felt so gerrymandered with so many fragile dependencies for it to pencil (see second Dominion tower). For the Diamond District to get buy-in and not get hijacked by "another 6th St. Marketplace" narrative, it will need to have a much more logical TIF boundary and not put the burden/trade-off on more of the city. The actual market demand for this, and the fundamentals behind it, seem far more solid than most any econ. dev. "big project" I've seen the city pursue in my lifetime.
  5. Take this with a very big grain of salt, but while visiting family in RVA this past week, my brother told me his friend at CoStar said, "don't be surprised if the plans get scaled back." This is second-hand and I don't know his friend, but apparently there's talk internally about reassessing the scope of the project among staff. I'm hoping this is just second-hand speculation, but given office trends now and the evolving future of how we work, it wouldn't surprise me. I know CoStar has had a stricter return to office policy, but if they want to compete for the best talent, they'll probably need to ease up on required days in the office. Do any of y'all work for CoStar or have good contacts who might know more? On a positive note, the city looks amazing and you can feel the increasing urbanism and vibrancy everywhere. Plus the food and drink scene just keeps getting better and better.
  6. Oh I wish Richmond had "lavender trees." When I lived in LA I LOVED jacaranda season when the streets exploded in a blossom of lavender trees with petals all over the ground. It's beautiful.
  7. Don't get me started on the Richmond Real brand and money spent. Such a waste. Michael Paul Williams wrote a very compelling piece in yesterday's RTD. Whereas RVA happened in such a bottom-up, organic, non-corporate way and it took off. I live in Atlanta and love seeing occasional RVA bumper stickers down here. I know the city said that RVA is the region and the city itself needed a brand, but outsiders see the whole region, not arbitrary jurisdiction lines. Just go all in on RVA. Related, I'd love it they could get a big RVA sign up on one of the high-rises adjacent to 95 (Monroe Tower would be ideal, but it might be demoed) that you could light up different colors for holidays and such. An easy way to build the brand.
  8. Not a big surprise that Saks has closed off its upstairs floor. I think it's positive that they're staying instead of closing completely. As the new owners reposition Stony Point, there's super potential for dense infill residential while keeping a condensed and reduced retail row with a mix of luxury (Saks, Tiffany, etc.), restaurants, and more local-serving retail for residents. The Dick's spot is ripe for residential. It would also be great to add ingress/egress to Huguenot and Cherokee, but I suspect NIMBYs would oppose that. https://richmondbizsense.com/2022/06/10/saks-fifth-avenue-downsizes-at-stony-point-fashion-park/
  9. My point wasn't to NOT grow. I think RVA frankly should already have an MSA population of 2-2.5 million had she not fumbled so many times. I'm just saying you can try to strike a sweet spot between strategic, inclusive growth vs. fervid, rampant growth for growth's sake. Be aggressive trying to grow while being intentional about how to accommodate the growth. Note I did not say contain. I hate that frame and I loathe NIMBYs and BANANAs (build absolutely nothing near anybody). The Austin of the early 2000s was fun and still growing and robust economically, but I now hear that the Austin of today is leaving a lot of folks behind while attracting a lot of...forgive me for tacking to overly simplistic, negative/perhaps offensive language..."tech bro d-bags." Change is inevitable if indeed a city is dynamic, and that's much better than the alternative, stagnation or decline. I will choose the former any day over being stuck in a bypassed time capsule. But my main point here is it doesn't have to be an either or zero sum game when it comes to growth.
  10. I hope RVA does indeed grow and achieve her potential, but not unchecked or so explosively that she loses her soul. Change, churn, and dynamism are positive and inevitable in a healthy economy. But rapid growth comes with tradeoffs. The people describing RVA as a Portland or Austin from 20 years ago did so with a lament of what's been lost in those cities and how they'd like to leave them or are happy to have left. I doubt there's ever a perfect sweet spot balancing not losing the special sauce with growth, but I hope we hit it.
  11. Ditto. I have several friends who've visited or moved from Austin and Portland and both said that RVA reminds them of both of those cities about 20 years ago. There's a real there there, and an urbanism that belies RVA's relatively smaller size. Several NYC friends see it as a mini-Brooklyn.
  12. Agree. I'm happy in so many ways with the building, but some approaches really lack curb appeal from afar. But I can't complain as the building at street level mostly enhances the urban wall and meets the street soooooo much better than its neighbors. We really need to do something about the Cary. St. dead zone of parking entrances and also the Federal Reserve's fence (not needed; at the Atlanta Fed in the heart of midtown Atlanta you can walk right up to it and there's a park open to the public where people hang out and walk their dogs). On a random note, I'll say that the early 1970s Farmers and Merchant Bank HQ just a few blocks east, now Bank of America and designed by LA firm Welton Beckett, has really aged well.
  13. Not sure if this got posted last week, but here's some positive data on in migration to RVA and residential rentals. We're number 13 on the list: https://www.storagecafe.com/blog/us-renters-migrate-toward-feeder-cities-with-dallas-suburbs-biggest-renter-magnets/
  14. flaneur

    Near West End

    Hopefully they can come up with either some shared solution using other under-used existing parking near Willow Lawn or some kind of public-private joint venture to build a parking deck with housing above it. That land is way too valuable for a surface lot park and ride, and that use seems antithetical to the type of dense, infill that the Pulse will help catalyze. Broad from downtown to Short Pump should be Richmond's version of Wilshire Boulevard in LA. In cities with successful transit, you still usually need to pay at the park and ride lots.
  15. Really???? I don't mean to offend, but I live in Atlanta and I find Truist Park and the Battery so sterile, manufactured, and not urban. All of it is very nice, there are fun restaurants, bars, and an area to enjoy after the game. But there's no transit option aside from an insane bus ride, traffic is bonkers, and it's all so very Short Pump feeling without any of Atlanta's dynamic edgy vibe. I get that for the vast majority of the fan base in metro Atlanta, it's likely easier to access now so it may make economic sense for the Braves. Ironically, the area by the former Braves stadium, Summerhill, has EXPLODED with AWESOME real urban infill since the Braves moved out (check it out: https://atlanta.urbanize.city/neighborhood/summerhill). The Braves could have done a lot to add to the urban setting and capture the profits, but when they were there, they held a lot of the area for surface lots and it stymied investment. Then they tried to extort the city for funds and I am so glad Atlanta said no. Just as I am so glad Richmond told the Braves no 14 years ago (Gwinnett County is STILL deep in debt from that deal). Anyway, my whole point here is that I hope the Diamond District is urban and vital and not a manufactured sterile bubble. I also lived in LA for 7 years and I can tell you that LA Live and the area around Staples Center has the same "safe suburban manufactured entertainment zone" feeling. It did help inject investment in downtown, but the rest of downtown LA has EXPLODED and is so much more awesome. Both Summerhill in Atlanta and downtown LA would have gotten where they got to without a big suburban sports-anchored entertainment zone. The Diamond District is in such a prime area so I hope we don't force something contrived. The market will do its thing in this location, which begs for urban connectivity, vibrancy, and authenticity. My two cents with a clear bias to urban living for better or worse:)
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