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weill

Groundbreaking of the Art Museum

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for those of you that dont remember or dont know what it is going to look like:

RoanokeArt.jpg

artmuseum.jpg

artmuseum1.jpg

artmuseum3.jpg

That's a very progressive and stunning looking building. I'm impressed that this is going to be built in Roanoke.

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Anyone heard any news on this? The ceremonial ground breaking was in September and not a thing has been don to that parking lot to date. Makes me a bit nervous that this might be derailed. I really hope not.

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They might have a hard time finding someone who understand the building...Steven, how about the new museum in martinsville? its coming along and has a nice structure...maybe it can revitalize Uptown too.

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It's derailed.. The backing group of citizens and the board of the museum have not the slightest clue as to how a building like that could realistically be built. There's so many variables and circumstances to it, yet the maintain that it must be built exactly and without variance.

From what I understand from local (and locally working) major contractors, they want nothing to do with the project due to the board being so stubborn. Oh, and the cost? $46 mil and climbing daily.

If they can recover from this I will be shocked. Sometimes its good to have a wife who works with the public...

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well the city has only donated the land - which is worth $4 million, and they did that back in 1998 or so. So all they are really missing is taxes from prime retail real estate in the heart of downtown, public use areas, and a whole host of other uses for a site as historic as this one.

I will not be mad, I will be thanful that space such as this is not going to sit and suck up money. That could be an entire block of buildings which contribute to the tax base of Roanoke, relieving some of the burden (not enough Im sure) from the taxpaying citizens. But I cannot direct my anger solely at the building - for Billy's Ritz is guilty as well. With vacant floors above them, again - prime space downtown and you leave it vacant?

Insane

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You stated it perfectly. If it does get built, does this mean Billy's Ritz gets torn down? Downtown Roanoke Occupancy Rate is 89% which is kind of bad. Atleast the Wachovia Tower trys to have 100%.

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Billy's Ritz owners own everything on that block except the former Lonesome Dove Cafe - which is historic enough that they are going to recreate it around the corner to hide the AC units. Classy huh?

Billy's is not going anywhere. And 89% for a small city with shoddy representation is not terrible.

More on that when a political thread erupts.

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Actually I just read that article about the occupancy, and yes I do read the paper late..

89% for office occupancy is not a bad rate at all, but I wonder how it balances with the retail occupancy. I know there is more retail vacancys than office. A perfect example building is the Chamber of Commerce (Kirk and Jefferson) It occupies a small side space, while the Jefferson-fronting building is dead empty.

I personally think it would be wiser for the CoC to move forward onto Jefferson proper - it would cast it in a higher visibilty site, and give it the proper amount of traffic. To hide it behind a small park (a fire station once stood on that very spot - something FireFleitz can attest to) does it a disservice.

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They might have a hard time finding someone who understand the building...Steven, how about the new museum in martinsville? its coming along and has a nice structure...maybe it can revitalize Uptown too.
The roanoke museum is doable, and we;ve had to call in contractors from afar on projects before that local contractors wouldn't touch. It will be built.

I don't see the new Martinsville museum making a major economic impact by itself, but the combnination of that and the higher ed. center Uptown will help the center city greatly.

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Sure its doable, but to what end?

The AMWV does not recieve enough visitors as it is, moving to a larger location is just going to tempt fate to step in an then what? We are left with some hulking steel chunk in what should be a retail space.

Again, Im not saying don't build - Im saying don't build there. Honestly, as someone from NYC originally, who has seen my fair share of good and bad architecture - It's going to look silly there. And once its built there - the only people who will be happy with it are going to be those who wanted it there in the first place.

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Sure its doable, but to what end?

The AMWV does not recieve enough visitors as it is, moving to a larger location is just going to tempt fate to step in an then what? We are left with some hulking steel chunk in what should be a retail space.

Again, Im not saying don't build - Im saying don't build there. Honestly, as someone from NYC originally, who has seen my fair share of good and bad architecture - It's going to look silly there. And once its built there - the only people who will be happy with it are going to be those who wanted it there in the first place.

Is your concern that the modern feel doesn't fit in with the period of the rest of the surrounding architecture? I have heard people express concern that this would deter from the historic feel of the downtown area. I would have to disagree with that and here is why.

There is no question that it would be a mistake if say the market building or some other significant building was scheduled to be torn down in order to put this up. That is not the case. It is going up in a parking lot. The only thing lost is the Lonesome Dove building. Have you taken a close look? This is NOT a loss. It's on the verge of falling down on it's own and there is nothing unique about it. It's onlt merit is that it is old and Roanokers seem to have a very hard time saying goodbye to anything old even if is beyond it's time (but that's a whole other thread). Surface lots in cities are nothing but dead space that deter from the walkability and interest af a place. They kill urban environments and the more we lose the better.

If the argument is that it simply doesn't fit in..... well I think that is the whole point isn't it? Something that looks the same as the rest of the artchitecture around here would do nothing to add interest. Look at comments you see from out of towners (people who live in other urban areas) on various forums and most of the comments are how they are both surprised and impressed that such a structure is being built in Roanoke. They should be both. This is a structure that is extremely uncharacteristic of this city and I for one think that is fantastic. I believe we should want want to break the cycle of thinking of ourselves (and other people thinking of us) as old and incapable of change. This building screams 21st century and drags Roanoke into it. I lived in Chicago up until seven years ago (I'm 37) and the architecture there of course is world renowned. They have no hesitation mixing modern structures in with historic. The result is a skyline that is widely considered one of the top three in the world (along with NY and Hong Kong) in most urban forums I have come across. Trump Tower Chicago is going up in the sightline of the Wrigley Building (a beautiful 20's era skyscrapper). The new building will do nothing to detract from the old. It will only make the city continue to evolve and become more interesting.

As for businesses going up in that parking lot. Well, that would be great, but what makes you think that is going to happen in our lifetime if we don't do something radically different? How many more years of evidence is needed to see that keeping things as they currently are is not working to attract that kind of development?

I'm glad the backers are sticking to their guns and demanding the building go up as designed. We don't need a watered down, half hearted rendition of this. It will indeed be a failure then. Either do it right or move on. Is the new Art Museum a risk? Of course it is. There is no guarantee that it will succed. It is important ro remember that success can never be achieved without accepting the risk of failure. Protect yourself from failure and you will also protect yourself from success. This building risks success as well as failure and I am all for it. End of rant. Thanks for taking the time to read!

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nice statement, and it isnt about the amount of vistitors, the AMWV needs more exhibit space. I really hope this works out. This could mean the start of a Downtown boom, seriously.

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They can expect whatever they want - they turned down one of the biggest, most recognizeable names in Architecture (Graves) for an unknown whose work (check his site out) blatanly mimics his former boss Ghery (whom, from my understanding, does not have the highest opinion of Mr. Stout).

But hey - you want it, you got it - maybe. I really don't care about the design - but putting it out in a standalone location would have better benifited it, as well as giving businesses a reason to build on that corner - Had they built the thing on the Orange Ave. site cleared for the "ampitheatre" the amount of traffic which would pass by the Salem-Williamson corner would be tremendous, and worth twice the $4 mil price tag for the land alone.

Art is nice, but you can't eat it. Well you can.. Stupid thing for a cook to say.. nevermind..

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You want progress - the entire set-up of the city government needs to be reworked then. This town is changing, the leaders don't see it - the people don't see it. But outsiders see it, which is why they keep coming here.

Wait till the new cooking school opens.

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oh you'll see - just across the Henry St. Bridge (MLKjr bridge) is going to be a full on culinary school - where you'll be able to gain a 2 or 4 year degree in culinary arts, and know everything about cooking - except how to do it right.

(been there myself, there's so many things school just can't teach you)

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