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GRDadof3

Has the HPC gotten too heavy handed lately?

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I'm hearing more and more that the current HPC committee is really difficult to work with, especially when it comes to infill in the neighborhood historic districts. I think the city has to realize that to grow the population much over 200,000, occasionally some of the existing structures will have to come down. And/or that when doing additions to existing structures, as long as they are "tasteful", that some latitude should be allowed. You can't grow density/population without both of these things happening. How much oversight is there of this "committee" by the city?

 

Thoughts? Anyone else hearing the same? Having similar headaches?

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Just so happens I had a long conversation with someone today about this very issue.  I heard the same thing.  With HH taking up a SIGNIFICANT amount of real estate just outside the CBD it is going to be hard to see our City grow if they are not more reasonable.  The fact remains that an across the board, "No Demolition Ever" stance does not hold water to reality in certain circumstances.

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what about the west side? that seems like the logical place for future growth...

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what about the west side? that seems like the logical place for future growth...

 

Not all opportunities for growth reside on the West Side. That's just silly. Then you create a land hoarder situation where Walt Gutowski and Rockford Construction hold all the cards.

 

Large swaths of the East Side are now in historic districts, and as Dave said, if there's a "no demolition" or "no moving structures" hardline, future growth opportunities are greatly restricted. I'm not talking about clearing entire blocks, I'm talking about the HPC fighting the moving of single structures. Or fighting additions on the backs of buildings because you might possibly sort of see the addition from the street if you look hard enough.

 

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=106126017699080909841.0004622ee088f741d2783&ll=42.961008,-85.65937&spn=0.03015,0.054932&z=14&source=embed&dg=feature

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I understand that all growth can come from the west side... I think the HH area should be untouched. there is is a lot of land to the north and not much worth saving on the west side...

Edited by gvsusean

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as someone who lives in HH, I would second the idea of leaving HH alone. The problem isn't so much development, as tasteful development and who determines what that is.  I would rather see someone rehab a existing structure than tear it down or add on.  it's not like the homes are too small in HH. If you can't afford to do it right then leave it for someone who can afford it.  it much more difficult to undo some crap that another person has done that to rehab from original condition. as for the small amount of commercial in HH, I don't think that it has been an issue as there is really very little. It would be different if, as noted earlier, there were large swaths of land available for development in every other direction.

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Since everything that comes to the HPC is public record, can you guys advise specific examples?  I do think I at least know of one.  The Kregal Building on Wealthy?  It was originally a moving warehouse where they refused to allow windows to be added to the front facade?  I assume that project was killed due to this restriction?   I think that was pretty silly. 

 

It seems like that in HH most of the issues come to play around the borders of the district, where the hospitals are trying to expand their foot print.  

Edited by mpchicago

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As a former member and chair of the HPC, I need to chime in here.  While I have my own issues with some of the HPC decisions, those issues have absolutely nothing to do with the commission being difficult to work with, being too heavy handed, or being too hard on developers.

In fact, quite the opposite.  There are at least a few infill projects that are absolutely abysmal. 

 

We need more density, we need more people living in the city, etc, etc. - yes I agree 110%.  However, we also need to start doing density a whole lot better.  We have failed on almost every level in that regard.

Keep in mind that these neighborhoods and their residents have spent a generation stabilizing their neighborhoods by increasing home ownership, preserving dilapidated homes, and fighting the good fight to preserve the urban character of these places.......the last thing any of us want or need is some suburbanites coming in and making these look just like forest hills.

What developers need to do, is to first understand the neighborhood.  Then hire a good architect, who also understands the neighborhood, basic urbanism, and its context.  

Then the developers and architects need to come up with projects that are not fake old.  It seems like nearly everything that is proposed is some vinyl sided gay-90's theme park, with lots of obligatory (and un-needed parking).


Please note that a new mixed-use building that is four stories was approved as an infill project on the Vivant property.  It was approved.  The commission worked with the developer to get this approved.  It is going to increase density and move more people into the neighborhood.  You know what it wasn't?  It wasn't obligatory historicism.

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Does the HPC only have authority over historic districts?  Or does it encompass everything within civic boundaries?

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Not all opportunities for growth reside on the West Side. That's just silly. Then you create a land hoarder situation where Walt Gutowski and Rockford Construction hold all the cards.

 

Large swaths of the East Side are now in historic districts, and as Dave said, if there's a "no demolition" or "no moving structures" hardline, future growth opportunities are greatly restricted. I'm not talking about clearing entire blocks, I'm talking about the HPC fighting the moving of single structures. Or fighting additions on the backs of buildings because you might possibly sort of see the addition from the street if you look hard enough.

 

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=106126017699080909841.0004622ee088f741d2783&ll=42.961008,-85.65937&spn=0.03015,0.054932&z=14&source=embed&dg=feature

 

This is my biggest gripe about historical districts. There are guenuine historical homes, and then there are homes that just happen to be in the borders that aren't historically signifigant, but you still have to treat it like one.

 

I live in E. Hills and I would love to renovate my attic space into a usuable place rather than the sweatbox that it is during the summer, and that would leave me only with the option of skylight windows that can be opened, and installing a window in the back wall that is just a blank surface. The exsisting "historical" windows are hopelessly small and one is purely decorotive and cannot be opened.

 

But that will slightly alter the "look" of the house, so I'm alreading dreading having to deal with these guys. And it is why I would never support new historical districts without some major restrictions on the HPC to prevent them from going overboard.

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Interesting discussion.  Some of my comments from another topic (http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php/topic/116427-possible-historic-district-in-egr/):

 

"Shifting gears, I don't think any district is bound to say that every structure and feature is contributing.  When you designate a district where most structures are old, though, it's easy to fall into that trap.  GR has been particularly guilty in this regard, with some geniuses on the HPC arguing that an old ramshackle two stall garage is "contributing" because that's the type of cheap thing middle class people constructed to house their cars in the 1920s.  Or the goofy argument that a metal door on the back of a house that wasn't even visible from the street was a "contributing feature." Or the crumbling, abandoned chimney on the back of a house that could not be removed because it was was "historically significant" and showed how people 'used to cook'..."

 

Are there cases where the HPC goes too far?  Absolutely.  Are there districts such as the Wealthy Historic District that probably should not exist at all in their current form, and whose continued existence cannot really be justified?  Absolutely.  Robey, Donald, and Freyling have zero business being historic districts.  Likewise with the litany of old concrete block gas stations.  If development continues on Wealthy, that ill-considered district is going to continue to cause needless headaches.  Tell me again why people can't put in replacement vinyl windows and siding on some 750 square foot ramshackle house?  Because it somehow injures the memory of the poor, early Dutch working-class settlers who built those shacks?  Uh-huh.  That sort of nonsense merely delegitimizes the point of historic districts in the first place.  We might as well designate everything old as historic by that standard.

 

Still, so far as residential in-fill, the wood window and door preferences are a big obstacle--they can add an enormous cost.  Perhaps why the two new houses that recently went up in the Hill have hideous casement windows.  As values increase, though, I'm optimistic we'll see some decent builders putting up nice houses.  That overpriced "thing" they recently built on Union is schlocky to the extreme.

 

So far as commercial redevelopment, I don't place blame on the HPC so much as the developers and architects.  The renderings for the Kregel project were awful, and they are similarly awful for many other structures.  The architects simply have no talent and little concept of what makes for an attractive building that meets HPC guidelines because so many architecture schools have thrown 500 years of knowledge out the window.  That said, the Kregel project, per my understanding, lost the windows because of federal historic tax guidelines--not the locals.  The locals' sin was poo-pooing the awesome tower proposed for the gas station.  And considering that gas station as a contributing "art deco" building in the first place.  I think that's a big stretch, frankly.  Even if it was, it was an extremely poor example that had been so butchered it was no longer contributing.  But nobody even bothered with the argument.  The old car wash invariable replaced some earlier structure.  Are we now stuck with a crappy old carwash forever because it somehow shows a "connection to early automobile travel between Grand Rapids and its suburbs" or some nonsense?

 

For what it's worth, I'm not trying to pick on the HPC--they have a tough job, and as volunteers, some simply don't have the training to and cannot always be expected to properly interpret rather technical NPS guidelines, especially when those guidelines are often a conflicting bunch of crap, such as the "make it fit with the character of the existing structure but not be so good that it conveys a 'false sense of history'."  Good luck ever figuring that one out.  My favorite there is an NPS example where, 80 years after original construction, they completed an originally designed by unbuilt penthouse, and completed it exactly as originally designed.  It looked fantastic.  According to NPS, that sort of thing is inappropriate.  Ugh.

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Does the HPC only have authority over historic districts?  Or does it encompass everything within civic boundaries?

 

The GR HPC only has authority over historic districts and sites* within the city of Grand Rapids.  This authority is granted to it by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO, pronounced Ship-O) in partnership with the National Parks Service. SHPO, which is administrated by MSHDA, was established by the same federal law that was used to establish the Heritage Hill Historic District.

 

The GR HPC is just following federal law the best they can.  If they don't, the SHPO could de-certify the GR HPC and take back control. 

 

*Historic districts & sites are listed on the Michigan State Historic Sites or National Register of Historic Places or Grand Rapids Historic Districts.  If it is not on a list then the HPC have no authority.

Edited by Gorath

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The "ill considered Wealthy District" is going to continue to cause needless headaches.......hmmm

Last time I checked that district was doing just fine.  And I am willing to bet that it will continue to do just fine.  There are plenty of opportunities to create density along Wealthy, in district.  Is it harder? yes.  Does it cost more?  Maybe.  Just hire an architect who gets it, design can solve these issues.  Integrated has done a fantastic job navigating these districts, and IMO their infill building on Cherry is just what we need more of.

At the end of the day, all of the historic districts have held their value, are continuing to draw people into them, and are continuing to draw investment.  They have performed quite well and people want to live there and invest there. While that is not simply because of the designation and protection, you can not deny that it has been a huge bonus.  The reason I chose a district to live and invest in is because there is more certainty.  I know that my neighbor is not going to tear down his house and build a 2014 version of a Tudor-Craftsman Frankenstien.  I also know that my other neighbor is not going to replace his windows with vinyl fascimiles of windows. 

Look no further than EGR, where there is no historic protection and entire blocks are being recast with out of scale, out of context, mcmansions.  There will come a time when whatever charm that currently exists on those blocks, will cease.

Or better yet, look at the church on Lake Drive that is not in district and was obliterated and consumed by the addition.  The addition added density and got more people living in the neighborhood, but at what cost?  The building is truly an eyesore, and I am told by residents that it leaks like a sieve.   This is density, just not density done well.  Does HPC provide protection against that?  Sometimes.  And I will take my chances.

If people don't like these rules, then move into one of the myriad of other great neighborhoods in the city (there are plenty without designation).  If developers don't like these rules, go develop in one of these other great neighborhoods.  Oh wait, there is a reason why the historic districts are such a draw - because they are great places, due in part by their designation. 

Quit crying about HPC and historic districts.  Start figuring out solutions.

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As a former member and chair of the HPC, I need to chime in here.  While I have my own issues with some of the HPC decisions, those issues have absolutely nothing to do with the commission being difficult to work with, being too heavy handed, or being too hard on developers.

In fact, quite the opposite.  There are at least a few infill projects that are absolutely abysmal. 

 

We need more density, we need more people living in the city, etc, etc. - yes I agree 110%.  However, we also need to start doing density a whole lot better.  We have failed on almost every level in that regard.

Keep in mind that these neighborhoods and their residents have spent a generation stabilizing their neighborhoods by increasing home ownership, preserving dilapidated homes, and fighting the good fight to preserve the urban character of these places.......the last thing any of us want or need is some suburbanites coming in and making these look just like forest hills.

What developers need to do, is to first understand the neighborhood.  Then hire a good architect, who also understands the neighborhood, basic urbanism, and its context.  

Then the developers and architects need to come up with projects that are not fake old.  It seems like nearly everything that is proposed is some vinyl sided gay-90's theme park, with lots of obligatory (and un-needed parking).

Please note that a new mixed-use building that is four stories was approved as an infill project on the Vivant property.  It was approved.  The commission worked with the developer to get this approved.  It is going to increase density and move more people into the neighborhood.  You know what it wasn't?  It wasn't obligatory historicism.

 

No one mentioned suburbanites or Forest Hills or wanting to do a suburban style project. The Vivant property was approved because there is nothing there, it's just a parking lot. What about projects where a small building sits on a large lot and the HPC won't let anyone touch the small (worthless) building to build something bigger and better and not vinyl sided? In fact, in some instances, the existing building has aluminum siding (the house on the corner of Cherry and Eastern sitting on almost an acre) and the house has to stay. Can't even be moved? Where's the sense in that?

 

I'm not saying that historic districts are bad. Not at all. And I don't think variances should be granted to tear something down for a parking lot (Martha's Vineyard for instance if it had been in an historic district probably would not have been able to tear down the neighboring building). I'm saying the current people on them seem to be going to the "extreme."

 

The problem with doing infill in most of the city is the cost of new construction vs what the value of the surrounding homes are. There are really only a few areas now that have the values to support new construction infill. The last thing you want to do is build a condo project (for instance) and the units don't appraise. You really need homes that are at least in the $120's and up range to even entertain new construction.

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X99: That overpriced "thing" they recently built on Union is schlocky to the extreme.
 

 

 

 

That home is not overpriced. In fact, if it's still around $225K, it's a pretty good value at $125/sf. That's pretty much the "starting" point for any decent new construction these days.

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The "ill considered Wealthy District" is going to continue to cause needless headaches.......hmmm

Last time I checked that district was doing just fine.  And I am willing to bet that it will continue to do just fine.  There are plenty of opportunities to create density along Wealthy, in district.  Is it harder? yes.  Does it cost more?  Maybe.  Just hire an architect who gets it, design can solve these issues.  Integrated has done a fantastic job navigating these districts, and IMO their infill building on Cherry is just what we need more of.

At the end of the day, all of the historic districts have held their value, are continuing to draw people into them, and are continuing to draw investment.  They have performed quite well and people want to live there and invest there. While that is not simply because of the designation and protection, you can not deny that it has been a huge bonus.  The reason I chose a district to live and invest in is because there is more certainty.  I know that my neighbor is not going to tear down his house and build a 2014 version of a Tudor-Craftsman Frankenstien.  I also know that my other neighbor is not going to replace his windows with vinyl fascimiles of windows. 

Look no further than EGR, where there is no historic protection and entire blocks are being recast with out of scale, out of context, mcmansions.  There will come a time when whatever charm that currently exists on those blocks, will cease.

Or better yet, look at the church on Lake Drive that is not in district and was obliterated and consumed by the addition.  The addition added density and got more people living in the neighborhood, but at what cost?  The building is truly an eyesore, and I am told by residents that it leaks like a sieve.   This is density, just not density done well.  Does HPC provide protection against that?  Sometimes.  And I will take my chances.

If people don't like these rules, then move into one of the myriad of other great neighborhoods in the city (there are plenty without designation).  If developers don't like these rules, go develop in one of these other great neighborhoods.  Oh wait, there is a reason why the historic districts are such a draw - because they are great places, due in part by their designation. 

Quit crying about HPC and historic districts.  Start figuring out solutions.

We're trying to fix the issue of EGR with a Historic District.  There are a few people who are against it in the city leadership but we'll keep fighting the good fight.  Right now in EGR, if you want to demolish a house you just need to prove that the utilities are disconnected and then you get to demo.  The city doesn't even issue a permit.  We're hoping to at least stall some of the demolitions.  There is a meeting at EGR City Hall tonight at 6 if anyone would like to come support the cause.  

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No one mentioned suburbanites or Forest Hills or wanting to do a suburban style project. The Vivant property was approved because there is nothing there, it's just a parking lot. What about projects where a small building sits on a large lot and the HPC won't let anyone touch the small (worthless) building to build something bigger and better and not vinyl sided? In fact, in some instances, the existing building has aluminum siding (the house on the corner of Cherry and Eastern sitting on almost an acre) and the house has to stay. Can't even be moved? Where's the sense in that?

 

Bingo.  And frankly, Mark Miller's claim that  I was "Crying about HPC and historic districts" is a bit off base. My house is in a historic district, and arguably one of the more architecturally significant houses in the district for a rather interesting reason--it underwent an early major renovation and change to form.  Most wouldn't see it, though.  In short, I don't have a problem with historic districts.  Just the way they are often administered in this town.

 

The solution to this problem?  Stop misusing historic districts, and shift the thinking about managing them.  First, recognize that not all old buildings in a historic district are contributing structures.  Most HPC boards recognize this.  Grand Rapids generally does not, due in large part, I suspect, to lingering and understandable concerns arising out of our badly wrought experiment with urban renewal and nearly leveling everything we had.  Second, recognize that the NPS Preservation Briefs and the Secretary's "Standards" were never intended as guidelines for the management of entire historic districts and each and every building within them.  This has been a serious issue, and poorly understood.

 

With Wealthy, the intent, I suspect, was to allow for historic preservation tax credits on Wealthy to be combined with Ren Zone benefits to foster development, with actual  preservation  likely an afterthought.  There isn't much to preserve, in many instances.  Now, many incentives are gone.  So now we have a district that is on the way back, but being hindered by (what I suspect was) a politically motivated "historic" designation.  If the Board would learn the meaning of "non-contributing structure" and building compatible buildings, we would be in a much-improved situation.  I get it--these are often people (like me) who love old buildings and want to save everything and mandate that it be fixed to crown jewel status.  However, that is not how it is supposed to work, for better or worse.  Not every building is architecturally or historically significant.  There are many buildings, even in Heritage Hill, well over a hundred years old, that could be legitimate candidates for tear down simply because they do not contribute in any way other than by virtue of being old.  And that simply is not enough.  With what we went through in the late 60s, though, that can be very, very difficult to accept.

 

By way of example, the aluminum-sided mess is not properly considered a contributing structure because it most of its distinguishing characteristics have been lost, although I doubt the HPC would entertain the thought.  With good advocacy and education, though, they might. The original siding is gone, the windows are all screwed up, and the house in general has no historical value.  Same with the old Ron's car wash.  It's an old concrete block building that is out of size, cheaply built, badly located on its lot, makes no architectural contribution, and really has no relation to its neighborhood or the buildings around it other than being old.  There is no possible way to build anything on the main elevation without overpowering it.  As much as I hate to say it, these two particular old buildings ought to be lunch for a bulldozer.

 

I could go on about this topic at considerably more length, getting into the recent revisions of NPS Preservation Brief 14, the influence of the modern traditional architecture movement, and so forth, but I suspect most are already bored to tears.  Goofy passion of mine.  Suffice to say that, from what I've seen, a lot of grief in front of HPC boards could be avoided by paying a little bit of money to someone to review plans for compliance and properly advocate, if necessary.  I've got to wonder who pays tens of thousands of dollars in design fees without bothering to hire someone who understands the first thing about complying with fairly simple standards (and advocating a proper interpretation, if necessary).   It's a two pronged problem:  HPC boards do often need to be educated, but often the architects and designers are so poorly trained in compatible historical architecture and NPS standards that they are in no position to do the educating, much less have their designs approved.

Edited by x99

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The "ill considered Wealthy District" is going to continue to cause needless headaches.......hmmm

Last time I checked that district was doing just fine. 

Quit crying about HPC and historic districts.  Start figuring out solutions.

 

Mark -- You miss the point.  Drive down Robey or Donald and tell me what is so historically significant that these streets needed protection.  That (to read between the lines of the designation) they were the turn of the century equivalent of trailer parks?   My house is a massive old monolith with a lot of architectural value and character that took years to build and has an enormous amount of irreplaceable craftsmanship.  I get it.  The houses in the Wealthy district are shacks that people tossed up in a week.  It took Habitat months to get something approved that was "shack like" enough.  How stupid.  Many of the commercial buildings on Wealthy are so destroyed that their historical value is lost.  So you tell me what legitimate reason there was for that designation other than the purely political tax-credit play.  My solution?  See prior post.

Edited by x99

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So the yellow building at the corner of Cherry and Eastern has to stay, per the HPC.  WOOD TV made it sound like the developer was going to include it in the overall project now? Or are they wrong, and the whole project is on hold because of the building?  Jeff, it seems like you know something about this.  I remember you posted a photo shop of a condo/apt project there not too long ago.  Can you give us more details, or is this still under wraps?

 

Frankly, I kind of like the idea of working the yellow building into a project. Obviosly renovating that building is going to cost a lot more than what the developer originally wanted to spend at this site.  Does anyone have a pic before the building was trashed? Why does the HPC consider this building important?

Edited by mpchicago

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We're trying to fix the issue of EGR with a Historic District.  There are a few people who are against it in the city leadership but we'll keep fighting the good fight.  Right now in EGR, if you want to demolish a house you just need to prove that the utilities are disconnected and then you get to demo.  The city doesn't even issue a permit.  We're hoping to at least stall some of the demolitions.  There is a meeting at EGR City Hall tonight at 6 if anyone would like to come support the cause.  

 

I know a lot of people who are against making EGR an historic district. :) Maybe certain parts of it, sure.

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So the yellow building at the corner of Cherry and Eastern has to stay, per the HPC.  WOOD TV made it sound like the developer was going to include it in the overall project now? Or are they wrong, and the whole project is on hold because of the building?  Jeff, it seems like you know something about this.  I remember you posted a photo shop of a condo/apt project there not too long ago.  Can you give us more details, or is this still under wraps?

 

Frankly, I kind of like the idea of working the yellow building into a project. Obviosly renovating that building is going to cost a lot more than what the developer originally wanted to spend at this site.  Does anyone have a pic before the building was trashed? Why does the HPC consider this building important?

 

The HPC considers the building important because it's in an historic district. I wasn't at the meeting so I missed what other arguments were made. I've talked with 2 parties who were interested in developing that corner, but with the current house there if it has to stay, it's not feasible. So 10 years from now when the building is boarded up and the lot becomes 3 feet tall with weeds, at least the historic integrity of that corner will not be compromised.

 

The idea of wrapping that house with apartments is what they "want" to see there.

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Bingo.  And frankly, Mark Miller's claim that  I was "Crying about HPC and historic districts" is a bit off base. My house is in a historic district, and arguably one of the more architecturally significant houses in the district for a rather interesting reason--it underwent an early major renovation and change to form.  Most wouldn't see it, though.  In short, I don't have a problem with historic districts.  Just the way they are often administered in this town.

 

The solution to this problem?  Stop misusing historic districts, and shift the thinking about managing them.  First, recognize that not all old buildings in a historic district are contributing structures.  Most HPC boards recognize this.  Grand Rapids generally does not, due in large part, I suspect, to lingering and understandable concerns arising out of our badly wrought experiment with urban renewal and nearly leveling everything we had.  Second, recognize that the NPS Preservation Briefs and the Secretary's "Standards" were never intended as guidelines for the management of entire historic districts and each and every building within them.  This has been a serious issue, and poorly understood.

 

With Wealthy, the intent, I suspect, was to allow for historic preservation tax credits on Wealthy to be combined with Ren Zone benefits to foster development, with actual  preservation  likely an afterthought.  There isn't much to preserve, in many instances.  Now, many incentives are gone.  So now we have a district that is on the way back, but being hindered by (what I suspect was) a politically motivated "historic" designation.  If the Board would learn the meaning of "non-contributing structure" and building compatible buildings, we would be in a much-improved situation.  I get it--these are often people (like me) who love old buildings and want to save everything and mandate that it be fixed to crown jewel status.  However, that is not how it is supposed to work, for better or worse.  Not every building is architecturally or historically significant.  There are many buildings, even in Heritage Hill, well over a hundred years old, that could be legitimate candidates for tear down simply because they do not contribute in any way other than by virtue of being old.  And that simply is not enough.  With what we went through in the late 60s, though, that can be very, very difficult to accept.

 

 

 

Just about every city in this country went through urban renewal, it was a Federal program. Some downtowns were leveled way worse than Grand Rapids was. Downtown Chicago and much of the area around the Loop and the Chicago River, for instance.

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The HPC considers the building important because it's in an historic district. I wasn't at the meeting so I missed what other arguments were made. I've talked with 2 parties who were interested in developing that corner, but with the current house there if it has to stay, it's not feasible. So 10 years from now when the building is boarded up and the lot becomes 3 feet tall with weeds, at least the historic integrity of that corner will not be compromised.

 

The idea of wrapping that house with apartments is what they "want" to see there.

 

Link to the WoodTV article?

 

This is truly disturbing, and a blot on the HPC's record.  Per their own guidelines, HPC is to issue a Notice to Proceed with demolition where "(b) The resource is a deterrent to a major improvement program that will be a substantial benefit to the community and the applicant proposing the work has obtained all necessary planning and zoning approvals, financing, and environmental clearances."

 

This should be particularly true where a building has been so thoroughly abused and altered, as here.  Typically, a building is not contributing where it has had architectural modifications to the extent that it has lost its historic character.  I think that applies here.  The only thing left of this house is a vague Italianate roofline and a few brackets.  The rest is just  a gangly looking cube.  Have worse houses been restored?  Possibly.  Still, sometimes it is better to just start over.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to see someone strip the siding from the building and restore all of the missing or altered architectural features.  That would be great.  But it's a pipe dream.  The best solution here is to salvage a few architectural features, require the developer to put up a site marker, and move forward. 

 

Sometimes, it can be too hard for us old house nuts to toss anything out, even when it is high time to do so.  But, it is very, very hard to fall into the simplistic mindset/trap that everything old must be saved.  I used to think that way before I had a better informed grasp of architectural history and change.  We need to be able to recognize that many of the treasures we have today would not be there if some of the structures which preceded them were not removed.  With virtually everything between Lake and Wealthy west of Fuller now designated--much of which is just "sacred trash"--we've got a growing problem trying to figure out how to move the city forward. 

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Link to the WoodTV article?

 

 

WOOD-TV: Project Rehab buildings for sale

 

There is a lot of "lawn" & surface parking around the yellow house. I assume the developers are proposing to build a separate apartment building on that space without being anywhere near the yellow house.

 

WOOD-TV never mentioned anything about the HPC in their story.

Edited by Gorath

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WOOD-TV: Project Rehab buildings for sale

 

There is a lot of "lawn" & surface parking around the yellow house. I assume the developers are proposing to build a separate apartment building on that space without being anywhere near the yellow house.

 

WOOD-TV never mentioned anything about the HPC in their story.

 

 

Ha, of course not. They only saw people moving stuff out of the Project Rehab building on the SE corner and inquired around.

 

It's about .8 acres. You could conceivably build townhouses down Cherry and then down Eastern, built right up the normal setbacks from the house and leave the house alone, but the numbers don't work. The property is too costly for that.

 

If someone were to buy the land as is, with the house, and fix up the house, you'd probably be somewhere near $500,000 in. Homes in Heritage Hill rarely climb up to that price range. Not a relatively small house like this one. It would never appraise.

 

With two paries and possibly a third passing on it, you begin to shake your head.

 

From what I understand, they won't even allow the house to be moved.

 

There was a little shotgun structure next to Winchester that was torn down for a parking lot. Wonder how that squeaked by? Maybe because it had lost its "context" within the historic district?

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