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joeDowntown

Historic Preservation

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At the request of GRCentro, here's a topic to talk about Historic Preservation - why we need it, when it seems to impede development, etc. 

Have fun. :)

Joe

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Speaking of Historic Preservation and the house at 616 Wealthy (which they denied demolition) - I think it was a stretch to say this structure was unsalvagable or a threat to public safety. My question, it's currently residential. Would the city be opposed to zoning it commercial? To me, it seems like it could be restored and make a great commercial building (restaurant, bar, office). Or would they frown upon that being in the historic district?

Joe

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I am fairly certain the plot is zoned as a Traditional Business Area, in which mixed used is generally encouraged. A return to strictly residential use might be a bit awkward in the current context, though not impossible. I think a more interesting option would be to explore possibilities for a creative storefront addition. This would inevitably destroy the current composition of the home's front facade, though it isn't without precedent. A stroll along Wealthy will show multiple pre-district examples of exactly this condition, including the Wealthy Street Bakery/Art of the Table building. It's a form that has become part of the neighborhood's rhythm. 

The interesting thing is that HPC cannot dictate building use, only how a proposal might effect the historic resource (building/features/site/neighborhood). Recently, this fact was a a big point of frustration for opponents of the proposed project at the Clark's Foods site. Many neighbors came to HPC expressing opposition to the high density of residential units only to find that HPC couldn't even deliberate on that point. Five condos or 70+ apartments, the outcome would be been exactly the same.

Edited by GRCentro

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On 10/8/2016 at 10:21 AM, GRCentro said:

awkward in the current context, though not impossible. I think a more interesting option would be to explore possibilities for a creative storefront addition. This would inevitably destroy the current composition of the home's front facade, though it isn't without precedent. A stroll along Wealthy will show multiple pre-district examples of exactly this condition, including the Wealthy Street Bakery/Art of the Table building. It's a form that has become part of the neighborhood's rhythm. 

I think the most offensive thing with 616 Wealthy was the owner has basically done nothing but let it rot with zero plan to do anything. I do like the storefront addition idea, but I believe they may present major logistical problems giving modern building and accessibility codes.  I seem to recall hearing that once upon a time.  Combine that with the house being basically a piece of junk, and it might be a tough sell.  

There may be another option, too.  I don't think tearing a building down and replacing it with a compatible design would necessarily be as big a problem as simply tearing it down(?).  The demo rules you posted elsewhere seem to leave at least some room for that. Tear down a house or two on James for parking (if necessary), design a really good, compatible building to fill out the street frontage and the corner, and--voila!--a nice "major improvement" project that also would be in accordance with the historic pattern of development on Wealthy.  A dirt lot just happens not to be an improvement over a crappy house.  And to be perfectly clear (lest any shady developers start getting ideas), most of the new buildings you jokers come up with wouldn't be "major improvements" over much of anything in a historic district, since most of the stuff your architects design is about as attractive as a sweaty armpit.

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20 hours ago, x99 said:

I think the most offensive thing with 616 Wealthy was the owner has basically done nothing but let it rot with zero plan to do anything. I do like the storefront addition idea, but I believe they may present major logistical problems giving modern building and accessibility codes.  I seem to recall hearing that once upon a time.  Combine that with the house being basically a piece of junk, and it might be a tough sell.  

There may be another option, too.  I don't think tearing a building down and replacing it with a compatible design would necessarily be as big a problem as simply tearing it down(?).  The demo rules you posted elsewhere seem to leave at least some room for that. Tear down a house or two on James for parking (if necessary), design a really good, compatible building to fill out the street frontage and the corner, and--voila!--a nice "major improvement" project that also would be in accordance with the historic pattern of development on Wealthy.  A dirt lot just happens not to be an improvement over a crappy house.  And to be perfectly clear (lest any shady developers start getting ideas), most of the new buildings you jokers come up with wouldn't be "major improvements" over much of anything in a historic district, since most of the stuff your architects design is about as attractive as a sweaty armpit.

This was done a long time ago (heck, I remember it being Crisan's Coffee shop, one of the first "real" coffee shops, outside of Kava House, in GR), but Big Bob's in EGR is an example of what I think could be done (though hopefully a better parking situation, potentially outdoor seating). They took a house, ripped out most (if not all) of the second floor (much of the interior has high ceilings) and built a cool little restaurant (though their windows are have been changed to look more like a storefront). I think something like this could be done rather effectively at 616 Wealthy without changing the historic character outside (heck, I'm sure they could bring back a lot of character that has probably been stripped over the years).

bobspizza.jpg

Joe

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