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Starwood Mixed Use Proposal

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I like this development because it is exactly what is needed, though it does fall short from what I have always said should be built there is a mixed use residential tower....but this achieves the same effect.

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It's a good space-filler.  Would love to see a 35-story residential/hotel tower rise above the corner portion of this, though.  

 

Also, re: the ferris wheel.  A 20-story wheel will lift passengers 12 stories above the Elizabeth River Trail?  Is the trail going to be raised onto an 8-story high skyway?

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This is a low rent, slapdash disaster of a plan on so many levels, primarily with regard to an abject  failure of integration and connectivity with MacArthur Center and its supremely flexible, multilevel functionalities,  as well as with respect to a dearth of dynamic verticality, presence and visual impact.  

This plan leaves the second and third floors, and likely even the first floor, as well, as dead ends to nowherw, absent the (originally) intended multiple in-line tenancy and foot flow.

There is zero integration with the only connection being a courtyard   ...yeah...where one already exists!  This is like slapping a new development next to the mall and calling it an extension.  

Unless you can enter the hotel or restaurants or shops absolutely directly from MacArthur floors one and two,  or nevermind actually reinventing the third floor food court area (where there is an unused elevator shaft behind Sakura and a hallway waiting to be punched open to new development) and adjacent movie theaters which are underutilized,   this project will do little to nothing to enhance the mall, to shore up its tenancy issues, to create a buzz...and finally, to keep Nordstrom.  

Lastly, if you study the architecture and building materials used to build MacArthur Center-- both inside and out--you will see that they are first grade, entirely custom and extremely well thought out. I sincerely doubt that the facades of this new construction will come even close to reaching a level of quality of design and materials used by Taubman.

I have already sent emails to Starwood,  the Mayor, and my council representatives downtown. 

Edited by baobabs727
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Never trust the first water color renderings. They NEVER turn out to be accurate with regards to the final design. This is very early days and we have a long way to go (probably 1-2 years) before the first shovel of dirt hits the ground. Let’s see what they actually submit to design review first, then go from there.

Truth be told, the office tower has a far more detailed rendering than this project does, and seems further along in design.

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Ok, true. But here watercolor designs have nothing to do with actual structural and functional design. Look at the design. There is no connectivity to the second or  the third floor. There's just a hole with grass like there is one already.  

Clearly, a tower should be built with direct access to Mac  floors one, two  maybe three ...to some shops and restaurants and office or hotel or something. 

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6 hours ago, baobabs727 said:

Ok, true. But here watercolor designs have nothing to do with actual structural and functional design. Look at the design. There is no connectivity to the second or  the third floor. There's just a hole with grass like there is one already.  

Clearly, a tower should be built with direct access to Mac  floors one, two  maybe three ...to some shops and restaurants and office or hotel or something. 

That is what I always thought they were going to do is a hotel and/or residential tower with the first two floors being an extension and entry into the mall.

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23 hours ago, baobabs727 said:

This is a low rent, slapdash disaster of a plan on so many levels, primarily with regard to an abject  failure of integration and connectivity with MacArthur Center and its supremely flexible, multilevel functionalities,  as well as with respect to a dearth of dynamic verticality, presence and visual impact.  

This plan leaves the second and third floors, and likely even the first floor, as well, as dead ends to nowherw, absent the (originally) intended multiple in-line tenancy and foot flow.

There is zero integration with the only connection being a courtyard   ...yeah...where one already exists!  This is like slapping a new development next to the mall and calling it an extension.  

Unless you can enter the hotel or restaurants or shops absolutely directly from MacArthur floors one and two,  or nevermind actually reinventing the third floor food court area (where there is an unused elevator shaft behind Sakura and a hallway waiting to be punched open to new development) and adjacent movie theaters which are underutilized,   this project will do little to nothing to enhance the mall, to shore up its tenancy issues, to create a buzz...and finally, to keep Nordstrom.  

Lastly, if you study the architecture and building materials used to build MacArthur Center-- both inside and out--you will see that they are first grade, entirely custom and extremely well thought out. I sincerely doubt that the facades of this new construction will come even close to reaching a level of quality of design and materials used by Taubman.

I have already sent emails to Starwood,  the Mayor, and my council representatives downtown. 

Wow why so cynical? I get that there was supposed to be a 3rd anchor but retail has changed dramatically since the mall was built. 

MacArthur Center has lots of vacant space and will probably lose an anchor when Nordstrom bails out after its 20 obligation is done. I think the mall's owners are showing insight and building something there that can generate foot traffic rather than an open plot. 

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I've talked to the Starwood management at MacArthur and the Nordstrom corporate office has given them the impression that they expect to extend their lease with the city. Keep in mind that Nordstroms lease is dirt cheap and the city can keep it that way if they want to keep them there. Also helping that store is that all online sales in the area get credited to the physical store, which is apparently unique in the industry. 

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I don't think that this is exactly what any of us were hoping for on this lot. I know for me personally I was hoping for a tower withe not necessarily an anchor but retail that connected to MacArthur. But this isn't a bad development, could it be better? Yes, but it still seems like it's in the early phases of design so maybe it will get better. 

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For some reason, I never thought of a large tower there. Maybe 10 stories at most, but I think this helps get more activity downtown, and gives it an urban feel. 

I think the first story should be retail like a small Target or Walgreens. 

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I hoped for a tower but this could be a good thing if it’s done right. We could end up with a nice space like the Piazza in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia or a more open-air Palmer Alley in DC. 

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1 hour ago, BFG said:

For some reason, I never thought of a large tower there. Maybe 10 stories at most, but I think this helps get more activity downtown, and gives it an urban feel. 

I think the first story should be retail like a small Target or Walgreens. 

I should have rephrased my statement, by large tower, I meant by Norfolk standards 10-15 stories.

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9 hours ago, JPN0731 said:

Wow why so cynical? I get that there was supposed to be a 3rd anchor but retail has changed dramatically since the mall was built. 

MacArthur Center has lots of vacant space and will probably lose an anchor when Nordstrom bails out after its 20 obligation is done. I think the mall's owners are showing insight and building something there that can generate foot traffic rather than an open plot. 

 

Where did you see me say that I thought there would be an anchor store there? I said nothing of the sort. I live within a five minute walk of this place, and I am there nearly every day of the week. I have seen the mall open and morph since the first day it opened, and I've known for many years that there would never be an anchor store there.

Reread my post. What I'm saying is that there should be greater use made of MacArthur Center's architectural flexibility  by incorporating dynamic verticality in the form of a tower that would connect to multiple floors at that dead end.  Not an anchor connecting, but a mixed-use project connecting. The developers cleverly built-in connectivity for multiple future purposes. Not just for an anchor.

What they should not be doing is  simply encircling a courtyard that already exists with the only connection to the mall  being that very courtyard with an entrance on the first floor. Which already exists!

 Mark my words, the project as conceived now will not, as you claim, increase foot traffic for the mall. It will be it's own separate village and will support itself.  There is no integration. They are  slapping some pedestrian apartments next to a mall. 

On 3/10/2018 at 2:31 AM, urbanlife said:

That is what I always thought they were going to do is a hotel and/or residential tower with the first two floors being an extension and entry into the mall.

That's because you think logically ...and big. Nice to have someone of kindred spirit here. 

7 hours ago, 23320 said:

I've talked to the Starwood management at MacArthur and the Nordstrom corporate office has given them the impression that they expect to extend their lease with the city. Keep in mind that Nordstroms lease is dirt cheap and the city can keep it that way if they want to keep them there. Also helping that store is that all online sales in the area get credited to the physical store, which is apparently unique in the industry. 

That's also what my sources in city government are telling me and others, but nothing is certain at this point. 

Edited by baobabs727

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5 minutes ago, baobabs727 said:

 

Where did you see me say that I thought there would be an anchor store there? I said nothing of the sort. I live within a five minute walk of this place, and I am there nearly every day of the week. I have seen the mall open and morph since the first day it opened, and I've known for many years that there would never be an anchor store there.

Reread my post. What I'm saying is that there should be greater use made of MacArthur Center's architectural flexibility  by incorporating dynamic verticality in the form of a tower that would connect to multiple floors at that dead end.  Not an anchor connecting, but a mixed-use project connecting. The developers cleverly built-in connectivity for multiple future purposes. Not just for an anchor.

What they should not be doing is  simply encircling a courtyard that already exists with the only connection to the mall  being that very courtyard with an entrance on the first floor. Which already exists!

 Mark my words, the project as conceived now will not, as you claim, increase foot traffic for the mall. It will be it's own separate village and will support itself.  There is no integration. They are  slapping some pedestrian apartments next to a mall. 

That's because you think logically ...and big. Nice to have someone of kindred spirit here. 

I may not live in Hampton Roads anymore, going on 17 years now roughly, but I still want to see Norfolk and even Virginia Beach succeed....though it seems like the NIMBY attitude in VB is just as strong as it was back then. I know some people love the super tall buildings and always want a new tallest tower, but I personally love the 4-12 story buildings because that is where a true urban neighborhood comes from.

I also get what you are saying about the mall, it would make sense to extend the first two floors of the mall or do something for a more formal entrance to eliminate the dead end issue, then build residential or mixed use above it. The type of development proposed is great in general for the city, but it feels wrong for this location.

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Thank you. I love that you are still connected  and committed to us despite your long absence and distance.  And I agree, when I say tower I don't necessarily mean 30 stories. More like 10 to 15 would be nice there and appropriate. Hotel/residential, shopping and dining, and a courtyard maybe even a rooftop courtyard at the third floor level or something... there's much you can do with a property that size. It seems like they're just trying to fill up the whole thing, wall it off to the street and leave a courtyard connecting to a building   --as is uthe status quo.   This does nothing for MacArthur's second floor, or for revamping the third floor, the underutilized theaters/food court. 

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Here's an update about the mall expansion/condos/motel/"public space" being planned for the 3rd anchor spot in MacArthur Mall.

https://pilotonline.com/business/consumer/article_3a00ddfe-7647-11e8-a4cb-475bc36a5132.html

 

By the way I couldn't find a dedicated thread for MacArthur Mall. Feel free to move this if there is a more relevant thread.

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If Nordstrom does decide to leave, I think the mall owners should forget about the "upscale" tag to the mall and go ahead and put a Target in its location.

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1 hour ago, zeppelin14 said:

If Nordstrom does decide to leave, I think the mall owners should forget about the "upscale" tag to the mall and go ahead and put a Target in its location.

Yes. I think a Target would do very well.

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