narcoleptish wrote:SombreroFallout wrote: It also resorts to a false choice, that somehow density can't be combined with quality proposals that include realistic civic spaces and functional green elements.
If people understand so well then how could they be led to this conclusion? What I said, and what should be easy to understand, is that when elements like these are included, the dedicated space will not be generating any income thus the spaces that do will have to generate more, which usually means building up.
The really aggressive developers work hard to lead people to this conclusion. Then along comes another developer with a different viewpoint and he'll realize adding green space generates income by increasing the overall value of the property and its individual parts. It does, too. Who wouldn't prefer to live near a little pocket park, given a choice?
I think it comes down to two things: 1) the attitude of the developer (wring every last cent out of the place and leave, like Friedman at Hilldale, or give a few inches and have a project that integrates better into the neighborhood -- see the 600 block of E. Johnson for one that works, and has nice greenspace); and 2) the skill of the design team. A good design team can get the developer and neighborhood together in a lot of cases where a stubborn team wipes out.
Other workable but well-scaled designs are along the Wilson Street- east side bike path in the 1100 block and at the Livingston intersection. Those took a LOT of planning hours and it paid off. Add the Yahara River apartments at Main and the river -- one of a number of highly successful Commonwealth projects. And add the condos in the 1100 block of E. Dayton, done by Sveum. Those took months and months of discussion, green space and trees were saved, and it worked.
Smaller is not a failure, by the way. Maybe if they broke Union Corners into parts and did one at a time, we'd have more progress. It doesn't all have to be done by one company.
narcoleptish wrote:SombreroFallout wrote:
In addition, in recent years in at least one few specific developers have felt comfortable pushing proposals that broke prevailing zoning codes, with encouragement from the city, and generally did everything they could to live up to stereotype, from threatening and deriding to pushing entirely unreasonable project concepts into neighborhoods totally built and designed for other land use categories
Are you talking about anything that actually got built? Just curious.
Sounds like Edgewater, and we don't know yet if that'll be built. The developer wants to make it sound like it's all on the city, but he's also got to round up private financing and of course he's not saying how well that's going.
Another example is the Sequoya Library development on Midvale, which did get built. It met huge neighborhood opposition, and is four stories tall (if I recall correctly) unlike anything else in the area. The library is nice, but the neighborhood right behind is nothing like it used to be and the homeowners there very strongly did not want this to happen. It's no higher than the east side ones I listed above, but this particular neighborhood hated it all the way and I don't count it as a successful integration into its context. Maybe someone who lives nearby will put in their opinion here and change my mind.
SombreroFallout wrote:I don't think anybody believes that buildings above 4 stories are going to get approved there
Totally disagree. Whatever gets approved on East Wash will be taller than four stories. That is, as long as the developer doesn't pull another self-castration in the process of saddling the city with yet another half-baked starved-for-vision project that simultaneously shortchanging the site's highest and best use while leaving behind a less-than-fully-functional white elephant for someone else to clean up.
The city may get behind taller buildings west of the river but at Union Corners I think neighborhood opinion might win out. Once you go past 4 stories, building costs soar and unless you're getting campus rents, buildings at 5,6,7 stories are hard to pay for.
(I screwed up the quote boxes, but you can sort it out if you need to.)
Cieslewicz tried to "streamline" (ha) the permitting process and cut out neighborhood input, and that went over very badly. The neighborhoods want in -- they have to live with the results, including whatever happens to their property values. I think neighborhood organizations will remain strong under Soglin.
I think the half-baked starved-for-vision thing is right on. And I think the vision has to include what the neighborhood wants because now, with successful projects to use for examples, we know successful ones can be build. The good designers will come up with complex plans not stick to only one height on a big property like Union Corners.
At Union Corners, height might go taller than 4 stores on the E. Wash side because it isn't in anyone's back/side/front yard and the shadow pattern only falls on pavement. Back from the avenue, no. And green space will be required near the bike path where a few oak trees grow. A buffer between the tracks and the new buildings would be desirable anyway, and that's a natural one.
That's my call. I think nearly everybody can win if the designers are smart enough. Just packing 'em in like sardines might maximize use of the airspace but it's not the way to a plan that will succeed in the long run and I think banks are starting to realize that.
Also, having multiple designers, like they did on Alexander's project between W. Main and W. Wash, can't be counted out. That development ran headlong into the real estate bust and I think it was overbuilt, but design-wise it's not a disaster. I'm coming down to the idea breaking Union Corners into parts and starting with whichever one can get funded in today's environment is the way to go. It's got to fit into a flexible overall plan, but will happen piecemeal.