All I can say is this is how they turn out repeatedly. Developer presents something way out of line with neighborhood (downtown) plan, neighbors resist, developer presents his second plan (something closer to neighborhood plan though not necessarily conforming with it), second version gets through committees and the council approves.
I wish the neighborhoods could have more confidence the downtown plan would be respected. Lots and lots of people-hours and earnest work go into those things and they're not worth the paper they're printed on. They function as a bargaining chip. In response to the way developers use their first pie-in-the-sky iteration as a bargaining chip, I suggest in the future neighborhoods draw up these plans as idealistically as possible, to move their own starting point for the ensuing bargaining into stronger position.
City staff get respect from me -- they actually try to interpret and follow what the neighborhoods have expressed as their formal, written intent. They are a totally disinterested party to this show, doing the job they're paid to do and doing it apparently unaffected by the politics surrounding the matter. You've got to admit they're in a better position to be objective about the proposals and written plans than anybody else. Unfortunately nobody pays attention, but there it is on the record: somebody tried.
I wish we had a wider array of candidates for Maniaci's seat this time but we saw how that got screwed up. (I don't think it's a conspiracy, but it's a disappointment.) Whoever said earlier that one election, one seat, and even one vote can make a big difference wasn't joking.
I hope the new building looks like it fits as well as the new drawings show, but I'll be surprised if it actually does. I'll wait and see. I agree with whoever wrote earlier about how the area looks decayed now. I believe this is our usual strategic benign neglect at work.
This is a glass half-full, half-empty situation for me. We are getting a more efficient, up to date, and safer building with more living units and no surface parking, and those are genuinely meaningful improvements. Are they still fixing up the boxy building on the lakeshore lot at the same time, or did that little sweetener get lost in the switching-around?