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15(+) Story Office Building Planned for Downtown

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Did anyone besides RVA and myself read this Richmond Biz Sense article which was posted in another thread last week just before the Chicago developer's announcement?

 

http://www.richmondbizsense.com/2013/01/17/downtown-real-estate-faces-triple-threat/

 

Maybe we should stop kvetching and be thankful that a tower is going up on a downtown lot even if it is lacking in esthetic appeal.

 

Every time I see the rendering it looks better. :good:

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I'd rather they move and build on another peroperty AND take the empty lot. I'd take that because this should not be acceptable just for the sake of having a building. That triangle offers us potential to have a building not seen in Richmond. We don't need another ho-hum box.

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The new tower will not cover the cobblestone road (Basin Bank St.). Massey owns the narrow parcel (41' wide according to the article) along Cary Street. Ivor Massey says a 6 story building could be built on the lot, but he's happy keeping it as paid parking for now.

 

http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/office-tower-won-t-include-downtown-parcel/article_cab58bce-1dc4-5449-9eaa-3a52273b6175.html

 

And on the other side, Kanawha Plaza is up for renovation.

 

http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/columnists-blogs/michael-paul-williams/williams-invisible-kanawha-plaza-needs-a-makeover/article_5e86a5f8-781e-5eba-a3f5-c40d5430fb37.html

 

My biggest issue with Kanawha Plaza is that it's surrounded by walls on three and a half side and it's no very inviting to go into. It needs to serve as a connector between the Fed/MWV and the James Center/Gateway Plaza.

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I didn't realize that about the Massey parcel.  That's really bizarre and will presumably negatively impact the ability of the developer to lease the first six floors of the building if it's going to but right up against a hotel or something. 

 

I wish that we could convert Kanawha Plaza into something with the look and feel of something like Bryant Park in New York.  Of course, it will decline into disuse if Richmond fails to keep vagrants from making the park their own personal Motel 6. 

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At Gateway Plaza, the first floor is retail/lobby, then four floors of parking, so if a 6 story building were ever built on the Massey lot, it would only block the views of one (or two depending on mechanical rooms) level of office space on that side of the building. I think that even in that case, Basin Bank St. would/could remain open as it's not part of the Massey owned parcel.

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I didn't realize that about the Massey parcel.  That's really bizarre and will presumably negatively impact the ability of the developer to lease the first six floors of the building if it's going to but right up against a hotel or something. 

 

I wish that we could convert Kanawha Plaza into something with the look and feel of something like Bryant Park in New York.  Of course, it will decline into disuse if Richmond fails to keep vagrants from making the park their own personal Motel 6. 

Aren't the 5 or 6 lower floors slated for parking?  Maybe the Massey plan will encourage the tower builders to go UP.

 

I like the Clayco developers' interest in improving Kanawa Plaza. 

Edited by burt

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I am happy for Basin Bank Street.  I am not sure what could possibly be build 6 stories at only 41 feet wide. It will give us an interesting streetscape. I welcome it! I too wonder about closing off the 8th street connector because it would look as jarring as the end of the MLK Jr Bridge when it turns goes from 6 lanes to a little street. It agree it would be a nightmare for traffic and the connector works best.

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Why doesn't somebody on here render us a nice 41-foot-wide building for that spot.  I was mulling the possibilities for that area and imagined some semi-permanent farmers' market style structure there that could host food carts during the weekdays and farmers on the weekend.

 

I'm pretty sure 9th Street will become two-way as part of the new street plan.  Won't that partly overcome the concerns of closing the cut-through? 

Edited by jbjust

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It may hasten the proposal to make the streets two way anyway.

 

I think the 41' space is doable looking at the picture on the assessor's site. I can see it even at 6 stories... but it'll be interesting to have a tall and slender building.

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I'm sorry, but I can't visualize this small block everyone is talking about.  I have no idea where this block is, other than it's somewhere close to the proposed building.  Can anyone help here?

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I'm sorry, but I can't visualize this small block everyone is talking about.  I have no idea where this block is, other than it's somewhere close to the proposed building.  Can anyone help here?

Eric, I'm pretty sure it's a cobble-stone area in the northern end of the parking lot that parallels East Cary Street from 8th to 9th.  In fact, as Cadeho has mentioned there is also a stone wall (or at least parts of it) in the same area that was a portion of the canal basin back in the 1800's.  James Center is also on top of what was the 2 or 3 block long canal turning basin which roughly was bound by 8th, 12th, Cary and Byrd Streets. It was a pretty big body of water but later was filled in and until the 1960's the whole area was a large rail yard. 

 

So, the 41 foot depth of the Massey property would extend south from the sidewalk along East Cary Street between 8th and 9th.

 

Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong about any of this.

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It's actually between the old cobblestone roadway -- which will remain unbuilt-upon -- and Cary Street.  If you drive down Cary, it's basically the row of cars in that big parking lot parked head-in facing Cary Street.

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It may hasten the proposal to make the streets two way anyway.

 

I think the 41' space is doable looking at the picture on the assessor's site. I can see it even at 6 stories... but it'll be interesting to have a tall and slender building.

 

For reference, this building below (in the center) is approximately 40' wide. (I think it's actually 39').

 

alma_realty_255_audubon_avenue.jpg

 

 

For added perspective, notice how the building is about 2.5 to 3 cars wide. You'll note the same width (in cars) of the Massey lot when viewed on Google Street View.

 

This building (above) is only 5 stories (not including basement) and the ceiling heights may not be the same as what we might get in the new construction on the Massey lot. A 6 story building at that site will be nice and slim, but not really skinny (assuming it runs pretty close to the lot line).

 

 

If we really want to go thin, we should follow Toronto's lead with something like:

 

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/canadian_gino87/Picture1.png

 

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2596/3928972541_db59e25317_o.jpg

 

For reference, that building lot is only 38 feet wide and rises to 42 stories.

 

 

This is another tower in Toronto on a similar sized lot at 60 stories:

 

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7204/6793483178_4c93a4ca13_b.jpg

 

Obviously it's completely unrealist for Richmond, but just goes to show what you can do with so little space.

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I'm sorry, but I can't visualize this small block everyone is talking about. I have no idea where this block is, other than it's somewhere close to the proposed building. Can anyone help here?

 

From the city's parcel search.

 

540_804, I figured it was large enough. My lot's front is 30' and 11 more feet added to that is a good size. I'd like it if they proposed a tall one like some of those buildings you showed. But it would be as interesting as our wedge building.

post-8815-0-15462800-1360134714_thumb.jp

Edited by Cadeho

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Wishful thinking. I miss Photoshop... but not bad for Paint. Please forgive any inaccuracies. I have no talent unlike my buddy Tommy.

post-8815-0-38601800-1360141064_thumb.jp

Edited by Cadeho

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Ah, this clears it up for me.  Thanks for pointing all of this out guys!  I never even noticed that thin lot behind the lot which will contain the Gateway Plaza.  Yeah, no one in the Gateway Plaza will want anything taller than 6 stories there because it would obstruct so much, or all, of the view to the north!  How weird is that little lot?!  Really ackward.  Not much you can do with it with the Gateway Plaza there.  Yikes!

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Wishful thinking. I miss Photoshop... but not bad for Paint. Please forgive any inaccuracies. I have no talent unlike my buddy Tommy.

Definitely not bad for paint!

 

Eventually. I'd like to see all of the streets downtown converted to 2-way, and thus the diagonal street may become unnecessary, but I would love if they could somehow keep that little triangle as a green space/plaza as you have in your mock-up/rendering.

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For reference, this building below (in the center) is approximately 40' wide. (I think it's actually 39').

 

alma_realty_255_audubon_avenue.jpg

 

 

For added perspective, notice how the building is about 2.5 to 3 cars wide. You'll note the same width (in cars) of the Massey lot when viewed on Google Street View.

 

This building (above) is only 5 stories (not including basement) and the ceiling heights may not be the same as what we might get in the new construction on the Massey lot. A 6 story building at that site will be nice and slim, but not really skinny (assuming it runs pretty close to the lot line).

 

 

If we really want to go thin, we should follow Toronto's lead with something like:

 

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/canadian_gino87/Picture1.png

 

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2596/3928972541_db59e25317_o.jpg

 

For reference, that building lot is only 38 feet wide and rises to 42 stories.

 

 

This is another tower in Toronto on a similar sized lot at 60 stories:

 

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7204/6793483178_4c93a4ca13_b.jpg

 

Obviously it's completely unrealist for Richmond, but just goes to show what you can do with so little space.

Jay, there is a NYCity tower on the west side of 9th Avenue between 47th and 48th that is at least 40 stories high,  Its footprint on 9th is less than 30 feet wide, although its width does fan out toward the rear of the building. 

 

Does the 41 foot depth of the Massey property include the Basin/Bank Street right of way?  I would guess not judging from Cadeo's neat thumbnail.

Edited by burt

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Blah... it's blah but an idea... I used to go crazy with designs but...

post-8815-0-40427500-1360220478_thumb.jp

Edited by Cadeho

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Blah... it's blah but an idea... I used to go crazy with designs but...

 

You say "Blah," but it looks way better than the real crap they're proposing on that site!  I'd take it!

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