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Um...did we all already know that this project also contains a restaurant & a HOTEL with 150 keys?? http://hewv.com/projects/norfolk-gateway-office-tower/   ARCHITECTURE

So I massed a pair of 500-foot towers, approx 130' in width, and plopped them down near the City Hall LRT station. I just threw two towers onto the spot, without trying to match the site plan dimensio

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GOOD: Looks like the added apartments? I do like the all-glass tower, but I think I prefer the first design.

BAD: The trade-off is this looks to be about 15 stories.

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Huh. 

So in the original, we had a single building fronting St Paul’s, and about half of the parcel along the interstate was shown undeveloped (presumably a future development site). 

This takes up the whole lot with several odd shaped buildings. It’s a strange site plan. It doesn’t command the St Paul’s streetscape. It’s not an urban downtown site plan. Quite campus-like, really. I’m confused by it, especially noting its site, proximity to the LRT, etc.  On the plus side, it looks like the parking is at least a little less obvious.

I’m not even bothered by the height reduction tbh. 

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This thing is.  Say what?! I just looked for these last night and didn’t find them. Good for you, but my god you’ve given me heartburn . 

I’m sorry, I’m not going to even debate this one lmao. It’s not worth my energy. I swear  I’m “resigning” from this  place lol. ;) Jk. But it does seem, without meaning to insult anyone, that some of you just want anything to go anywhere—rn.  That’s really not what this place is about. Ymmv
 

edit: I just wrote to Jared Chalk for confirmation. He was once my neighbor. Doesn’t mean he’ll respond, but anyway. 

Edited by baobabs727
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Why are people here obsessed with height? Yeah I get it that Norfolk is nothing but 15-20 story buildings but H.R.'s doesn't have the Fortune 500 money, dense population that other cities have where a need for 50 story + buildings are needed. What's shown above is at least a nice design and would look great on that corner. Better than nothing that is there now. If Norfolk "holds out" for the need for a taller tower like someone else mentioned above, we'll all be dead before we see ground break.

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12 minutes ago, zeppelin14 said:

Why are people here obsessed with height? Yeah I get it that Norfolk is nothing but 15-20 story buildings...

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well... speaking for myself, I did not say one thing about the story count. There are  so so so many more differences. Height is only one of them.  There’s also site plan, design, use/purpose, legacy considerations, etc. you only get one bite at the Apple.  (((((By the way, I have no idea what happened to this reply format. )))))))

Edited by baobabs727
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16 minutes ago, baobabs727 said:

 

Agree 100%.

I’d rather have a good site plan and programme with low or mid rise buildings than a tall building on a bad site plan.

this just is not a good site plan for an urban downtown setting in the 2020s.  That’s what’s confusing and frustrating about this. I’m sure you could go to a meeting and hear the developer’s architect and planner tell a great story about how they were inspired by mermaids or some ish, but this “campus” plan doesn’t help to make downtown Norfolk a more walkable, vibrant, or interesting place.  It seems antiquated and out of touch with Norfolk’s goals. And to waste an opportunity like that would be a real shame, IMO. 

Despite being shorter in height this is still a big project for Norfolk. Do it well! 

 

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8 hours ago, lammius said:

Agree 100%.

I’d rather have a good site plan and programme with low or mid rise buildings than a tall building on a bad site plan.

this just is not a good site plan for an urban downtown setting in the 2020s.  That’s what’s confusing and frustrating about this. I’m sure you could go to a meeting and hear the developer’s architect and planner tell a great story about how they were inspired by mermaids or some ish, but this “campus” plan doesn’t help to make downtown Norfolk a more walkable, vibrant, or interesting place.  It seems antiquated and out of touch with Norfolk’s goals. And to waste an opportunity like that would be a real shame, IMO. 

Despite being shorter in height this is still a big project for Norfolk. Do it well! 

 

The mere fact that a substantial amount of residential appears to be proposed, I believe will make that section more vibrant, walkable and interesting. Coupled with other proposed near-by residential uses it makes it even more so (assuming these projects get built).  I feel like this proposal is tall enough and dense enough to make  a real difference for downtown Norfolk.

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On 2/11/2021 at 7:33 PM, zeppelin14 said:

Why are people here obsessed with height? Yeah I get it that Norfolk is nothing but 15-20 story buildings but H.R.'s doesn't have the Fortune 500 money, dense population that other cities have where a need for 50 story + buildings are needed. What's shown above is at least a nice design and would look great on that corner. Better than nothing that is there now. If Norfolk "holds out" for the need for a taller tower like someone else mentioned above, we'll all be dead before we see ground break.

I have to agree with you about the height, height isn't that important to a great urban environment. Sure, it is fun to see really tall towers under construction, but living in NYC for a couple years, it wasn't the tall towers that I enjoyed, it was the urban neighborhoods of 4 story buildings that had shops on the first floors and lots of people living in those areas. 

My initial impressions of this change of design is that the tower portion looks fine, it kind of looks like what City Hall would look like if it was built today. Overall, it looks like a decent office building. the lower portion of the building complex is a bit weird. The hotel portion seems odd, I assume it is the lower portion that wraps around City Hall because that's what tourists want to look at when they visit Norfolk? It doesn't sound like there will be any apartments in this building, nor does it sound like there retail space, so it will most likely be a dead space building. The driveway entrance to the hotel is also alarming because it makes the building seem inviting to cars, not pedestrians.

As much as I say height isn't an issue, it would make more sense to build the office building and garage portion, then have the 150 key hotel on top of the office space....or the office space on top of the hotel space (which ever produces more income goes on top,) and then have a smaller residential building that could be wrapping around City Hall, that also includes retail spaces to turn that light rail stop into an active pedestrian space. That stop could easily be a bustling little urban plaza within the city.

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I’m not obsessed with height but this was pitched as a marquee project.  This redesign lowers the bar. Without context it looks fine but for its location and what the project was initially touted as, it’s a step down.  It doesn’t appear that the narrative has been updated so it’s unclear what the project will consist of beyond office space. 

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I figured out my issue. It looks like a hospital or medical building. If this were somewhere over in Fort Norfolk, I’d be fine with it. Downtown, not as much. 

Every time I look at the design, I see an all-glass PS3 PS2. 

Edited by BFG
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I decided to torture myself and look up the original design. There's no way in the world the city (or anyone with halfway decent eyesight) thinks the new design is an improvement. What does Hampton Roads have against curves and angles on its designs?

Again, put the redesign on the next Sentara or CHKD expansion. Bring back the original design for Gateway.

gateway.jpg

gateway2.jpeg

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9 hours ago, BFG said:

I figured out my issue. It looks like a hospital or medical building. If this were somewhere over in Fort Norfolk, I’d be fine with it. Downtown, not as much. 

Every time I look at the design, I see an all-glass PS3 PS2. 

More like a POS.

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I understand the disappointment with the change in design for this project and reduction in height but in my opinion, it should be built. If it’s not built there then it will end up in Town Center (remember  Clark Nexsen).

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5 hours ago, Norf Native said:

I understand the disappointment with the change in design for this project and reduction in height but in my opinion, it should be built. If it’s not built there then it will end up in Town Center (remember  Clark Nexsen).

Or they could just give a couple of mid level associates __ hours of labor to fix the site plan first, which would be much cheaper than acquiring and drawing up a new site in another location. 

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6 hours ago, Norf Native said:

I understand the disappointment with the change in design for this project and reduction in height but in my opinion, it should be built. If it’s not built there then it will end up in Town Center (remember  Clark Nexsen).

No. It won’t. 

Besides, that’s not very regionalist of you. ;) 

Edited by baobabs727
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9 hours ago, Norf Native said:

I understand the disappointment with the change in design for this project and reduction in height but in my opinion, it should be built. If it’s not built there then it will end up in Town Center (remember  Clark Nexsen).

Hey y'all I wanted to let ya know I actually bought a plot and got some site plans drawn up for a development on one the last prime pieces of property in downtown. It features a strip mall and a 2 story "tower". Please don't say anything mean about it it's a great development and besides this is the best the city can do anyways. Sure maybe I promised an architecturally and visually distinctive building that would have a huge presence in the city and region but this is totally good too please stop being mean.

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Honestly, we have this conversation several times each year because it keeps happening. Over, and over, and over again. Enough of this. Every time somebody comes back with a disappointing design the conversation always turns to "well, it's better than nothing" or "it's the best that Norfolk can do". No, actually, this is not better than nothing. This is absolutely not the best that Norfolk can do. The only way we get out of this rut and start getting better things is if we demand better. ARB needs to send this back to the drawing board. It's an insult...

If you have to reduce the height, ok, I hate it, but it is what it is. At the very least your "Gateway" building should have its reduction in height compensated for with visually arresting design. It should be a grand building, and not something akin to a suburban college campus...

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