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Jackson Ward / Gilpin


whw53

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@I miss RVA correction, it wasn't Ed Slipek, it was Harry Kollatz, Jr. and Tina Eshleman in Richmond magazine: https://richmondmagazine.com/news/richmond-history/the-distressway/

Ah, just rereading what could have been breaks my heart!!!! Of course, this type of boulevard is exactly what Seattle is building to replace the elevated freeway that disconnected downtown from the Puget Sound. Maybe one day we can fix the expressway:) What could have been....

"The “Main-to-the James” committee in 1972 hired the Philadelphia-based urban planning and landscape architecture firm of Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd. Rather than a below-grade expressway forming an asphalt moat between Main Street and the James River, the Wallace group suggested converting it into a boulevard, similar to the present four lanes and median of Leigh Street behind the Science Museum. They advocated restoration of the canal. A rift ensued, and the committee denounced the consultants’ work as sketchy, unscientific and with weak justifications."

Edited by flaneur
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30 minutes ago, flaneur said:

@I miss RVA correction, it wasn't Ed Slipek, it was Harry Kollatz, Jr. and Tina Eshleman in Richmond magazine: https://richmondmagazine.com/news/richmond-history/the-distressway/

Ah, just rereading what could have been breaks my heart!!!! Of course, this type of boulevard is exactly what Seattle is building to replace the elevated freeway that disconnected downtown from the Puget Sound. Maybe one day we can fix the expressway:) What could have been....

"The “Main-to-the James” committee in 1972 hired the Philadelphia-based urban planning and landscape architecture firm of Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd. Rather than a below-grade expressway forming an asphalt moat between Main Street and the James River, the Wallace group suggested converting it into a boulevard, similar to the present four lanes and median of Leigh Street behind the Science Museum. They advocated restoration of the canal. A rift ensued, and the committee denounced the consultants’ work as sketchy, unscientific and with weak justifications."

I remember "Main-to-the-James" as being one of the bigger -- and very much heralded -- brainchild efforts of then-mayor Tom Bliley. I recall seeing a photograph of Bliley standing near one of those 3-D  (physical) conceptual renderings (like CoStar's physical rendering) of what the Main-to-the-James riverfront of downtown COULD look like. What sticks out in my mind is that the rendering depicted PROLIFIC high-rise development all along the riverfront and canal was being envisioned by Bliley, the committee and the other powers that be. How that jibes with an entrenched expressway, however, is beyond me - because the two are about as incompatible as can be -- particularly given the landscape downtown in those days.

BTW - if anyone is interested in delving into the actual federal court case, here's a link to Judge Merhige's ruling. The site makes available a downloadable PDF, if that's your preference.

https://casetext.com/case/river-v-richmond-metropolitan-authority

 

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@I miss RVAbingo on a giant moat freeway being incompatible with vibrant, dynamic urbanism. We may be off the technical Jackson Ward/Gilpin topic, but still on point given just how much devastation and disconnect both the Downtown Expressway and I-95 caused to so much of RVA's core and perpetuates to this day. Heck, even the Wikipedia entry on the Downtown Expressway names this tension:

"The Downtown Expressway has been criticized for a lack of urban sensitivity ever since the project was proposed in the early 1970s. Its construction destroyed hundreds of homes in Oregon Hill among other neighborhoods like the Historically Black neighborhood of Randolph , and cuts off pedestrian traffic to the river front. The lack of mixed use urban activation along the downtown Richmond riverfront and surrounding the highway in general has been linked to the expressway. Some have even suggested a renovation in the manner of San Francisco's Embarcadero or Boston's Big Dig."

 

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@I miss RVAalot of these so called “preservationists” are racist residents in the fan that only want “their” neighborhood preserved and could care less about lower income or minority communities like Fulton bottom, Jackson Ward, navy hill or as was mentioned in the linked article, Randolph. They know nothing of what they actually associate themselves with.

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50 minutes ago, I miss RVA said:

What sticks out in my mind is that the rendering depicted PROLIFIC high-rise development all along the riverfront and canal was being envisioned by Bliley, the committee and the other powers that be. How that jibes with an entrenched expressway, however, is beyond me - because the two are about as incompatible as can be -- particularly given the landscape downtown in those days.

Everything I'm posting below presupposes Bliley genuinely thought the highway would drive high-rise development. It's totally possible (even likely) that that assumption is bogus and that his administration concocted knowingly false projections to give cover for their attempts to harm black people. However, assuming the development projections were of good faith, I do have another suggestion.

Jalopnik has an interesting article on a similar highway in Syracuse. Relevant quote from the article: 

Quote

Indeed, Garrick and countless other experts—Jane Jacobs is often credited as being one of the first, with her landmark 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities—have pointed out that urban renewal and the concept of urban highways, joined at the hip as they were, had fundamental flaws.

Many conceptions of what a city would look like back then were unrealistic, imagining massive urban parks underneath even more massive highways. Few planners at the time reckoned with where all the cars would be kept in the downtown area while people worked or shopped or ate, a problem that created a vicious cycle as ever more parking replaced the very attractions that were supposed to lure suburbanites downtown in the first place, and even more cars created a street environment few people wanted to walk around. Soon, city officials found themselves managing downtown areas with ample highway access, plenty of parking, but few attractions to give workers a reason to stick around after clocking out.

It seems like at the time of decision-making there was a fundamental misunderstanding of how the highways would interact with broader society. It was understood that they could be used to displace black people but it wasn't appreciated how they would enable everyone else to leave. Looking back, that misunderstanding seems sort of absurd.

 

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Here's the relevant book from Rev. Ben Campbell that looks really interesting, Richmond's Unhealed History, and I bet you can get it from a local bookstore such as Fountain or Chop Suey. This shorter piece by Campbell in Style Weekly is also a great read:
https://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/unhealed-history/Content?oid=1669944

Edited by flaneur
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6 hours ago, flaneur said:

Here's the relevant book from Rev. Ben Campbell that looks really interesting, Richmond's Unhealed History, and I bet you can get it from a local bookstore such as Fountain or Chop Suey. This shorter piece by Campbell in Style Weekly is also a great read:
https://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/unhealed-history/Content?oid=1669944

Amazon has the paperback (new) for $15.95 -- I checked out some of the sample pages (plus read what you posted from Style) -- this looks really good - and very comprehensive. I'm going to get the book. :tw_thumbsup: A definite must have for my library of RVA books (and yes, I actually have a small library of books about Richmond -- including a few volumes that I've had since the early-to-mid '70s, which was when I started my little RVA book collection -- go figure!)

Edited by I miss RVA
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19 hours ago, ancientcarpenter said:

I had to update my link as it was the film discussion, new link directly to the movie is here:

https://www.pbs.org/video/how-the-monuments-came-down-widbkc/

This is a very interesting and worthwhile documentary telling about some of the untold history of African American economic successes in the city.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Another tract along Leigh being prepped for development. CAR submittal from yesterday describes a new '3 story, multifamily project' at 2 W Leigh St. Applicant appears to be developer\politician Lizzie Drucker-Basch.

https://energov.richmondgov.com/EnerGov_Prod/SelfService/richmondvaprod#/plan/df402363-3a5e-456f-94dd-81b143f13461?tab=locations

 

 

2WLeigh.jpg

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3 hours ago, whw53 said:

Another tract along Leigh being prepped for development. CAR submittal from yesterday describes a new '3 story, multifamily project' at 2 W Leigh St. Applicant appears to be developer\politician Lizzie Drucker-Basch.

https://energov.richmondgov.com/EnerGov_Prod/SelfService/richmondvaprod#/plan/df402363-3a5e-456f-94dd-81b143f13461?tab=locations

 

 

2WLeigh.jpg

Fantastic!! Glad to see something with some size (3 stories here is certainly good!) coming to this block.

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5 hours ago, whw53 said:

Another tract along Leigh being prepped for development. CAR submittal from yesterday describes a new '3 story, multifamily project' at 2 W Leigh St. Applicant appears to be developer\politician Lizzie Drucker-Basch.

https://energov.richmondgov.com/EnerGov_Prod/SelfService/richmondvaprod#/plan/df402363-3a5e-456f-94dd-81b143f13461?tab=locations

 

 

2WLeigh.jpg

I was very disappointed when the abandoned red house (east side of this property) was not renovated to be a coffee shop or something more than duplex.

Glad the land next to it is being developed... that lots has been vacant for ages. Can't wait for the parking lot and property next door to go as soon as the lady that owns it can get on her medication and sell - she was the infamous one who put up chain link fence and barbed wire on the parking lot property we see there and HJWA had to ask her to remove it because it's an historic area. She owns the one story offices attached to that parking lot. 

Edited by ancientcarpenter
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well the 3 story project at 2 W Leigh isnt much to post home about. Not sure what I was I thinking - I guess I was hoping for more of a split level condo thing with some modern architecture but this is indeed a '3 story multifamily building' per the filing comment,- just taking cues from the single family stock in the surrounding blocks.

 

2WLeigh.jpg

2WLeigh2.jpg

Edited by whw53
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Well, it's not bad. Mind you,I'm not thrilled with it being siding (ugh... SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO turn-of-the-century (20th, not 21st) Richmond, IMNSHO) and that's always turned me off because those old RVA siding houses makes the city look like some kind of poor, rural, southern shanty town... ugh... I HATE THEM!!! BRICK BRICK BRICK, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZEEEEE!!!  But whatever - I get it that perhaps these folks need to watch their pennies, nickels and dimes - so I get it.  The structure itself looks okay. Consistent for where it's being built. And it's better than the grass lot that's there now. So, we'll take it.

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I was really hoping for a convenience store at bottom or a coffee shop but this is okay too. Do we know if it's rental or for sale? I assume rental.

I like the design... it fits in well with the historic district that it is in. A 3 story modern home would have been cool too but I'm imagining a more expensive looking one like the one on this same block on leigh st. 

This space being filled will be great for everyone...it's been quiet the depressing corner to look at. Hoping for that junky office next door with the big parking lot to sell soon. I hear the lady is quite the character that owns it. 

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1 hour ago, ancientcarpenter said:

I was really hoping for a convenience store at bottom or a coffee shop but this is okay too. Do we know if it's rental or for sale? I assume rental.

I like the design... it fits in well with the historic district that it is in. A 3 story modern home would have been cool too but I'm imagining a more expensive looking one like the one on this same block on leigh st. 

This space being filled will be great for everyone...it's been quiet the depressing corner to look at. Hoping for that junky office next door with the big parking lot to sell soon. I hear the lady is quite the character that owns it. 

I hope it sells, too -- it would be nice to see three more such three-flats like the one that's being built on the corner -- or a slightly larger, perhaps brick, nine-flat (three stories - nine units). It would be really great to get this entire corner redeveloped and active with folks living there.

 

@ancientcarpenter-- what's the story with the huge parking lot and what looks like a bank building (or some kind of office) on the east side of St. James Street? Is that something that could eventually be developable? That's a pretty large swath - imagine the density (even at just 3 stories) that could go there. Five stories would be even better!

Edited by I miss RVA
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On 2/11/2022 at 11:27 PM, I miss RVA said:

I hope it sells, too -- it would be nice to see three more such three-flats like the one that's being built on the corner -- or a slightly larger, perhaps brick, nine-flat (three stories - nine units). It would be really great to get this entire corner redeveloped and active with folks living there.

 

@ancientcarpenter-- what's the story with the huge parking lot and what looks like a bank building (or some kind of office) on the east side of St. James Street? Is that something that could eventually be developable? That's a pretty large swath - imagine the density (even at just 3 stories) that could go there. Five stories would be even better!

It looks like it's the same family that  owns the 3 parcels in a row. That would be quite the deal for a developer to get their hands on and build up.

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=c3ed34c0fb38441fb95cd2d2d6a22d48

image.png.777e131436a7454f204dd2326031118c.png

 

What I'd really like to see is Ebenezer Baptist sell off some land that hasn't been used for decades. In the last 10 years, on the busiest easter sunday, I have never seen themuse the western side grass lot nor the northern side overflow lot. I can't imagine that they aren't hurting for membership like all churches (well, maybe not mega churches!) and that land could catch a pretty penny.

 

image.thumb.png.0c68dc9b9aafb7908e4082ed7446aabd.png

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Two Jackson Ward Development Updates:

 

 

212 E. Leigh St - Gammino Project

- will continue to be 5 stories ("4.5" stories)

- New design (from white to red brick)

 

1862309245_212eastleighst-gamminoprojectbeforeandafter.thumb.JPG.902c7a984dd709ffc15971dfa15af5e5.JPG1285253264_212eastleighst-gamminoproject.thumb.JPG.88a782710bc36921e9a1c34e673eaf56.JPG

 

 

212 W Marshall

- RBS got ahead of this development and didn't reach out to developers past the government permit rendering and details

- Scaled down from 5 story, 13 units to 4 stories 8 units

- New design (from white to red brick)

 

340210870_210wmarshal2.thumb.JPG.30d5623abcacfd7e0130940449a81381.JPG

1053242788_210wmarshal1.JPG.4d66ffd9ecefacf93e17a46badf55b1c.JPG

Edited by ancientcarpenter
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