It's depressing that levelling an entire city block suddenly isn't good enough-- we need to level the surrounding blocks so that we can look at the first one we destroyed.
Keep in mind that the architecture leading directly up to the square is some of the most interesting and colorful anywhere in this town, not to mention the Isthmus.
I don't 100% disagree with you. I tried to be clear I don't want to lose the small scale and nice old buildings that make State Street what it is. I wish the Overture Center wasn't there at all, frankly. It's going to hurt a lot of small arts groups and it exists to serve a demographic I and many others are not part of. But it's there, it's not horrible for what it is, and we have to find some way to help it relate to its environment without destroying that environment in the process.
Wait 30 years. See how Overture and the Plaza has turned into an ugly, outdated eyesore that reminds us a little too much of the early 2000s.
Your time line is surely accurate as far as it goes. Thirty years after it's built, just about NOTHING looks good. Fifty years after, we start seeing what stands the test of time and what doesn't. At 30, a lot of east campus is flunking and it's hard to imagine we'll miss the Peterson Building in 2020, but stranger things have happened.
Buildings with deco ornamentation, put up in maybe 1915, looked grimy and old in the 50s. Now they're prized. The Anchor Bank on Midvale, very 60s, is just starting to be appreciated after years of being crowded between uglier newer construction. It's an airy, nifty little Flintstones space, if you never looked at it before.
I can't tell you how Overture will hold up. Nobody can. We've got to put up with it and let time do its work. Pretending it isn't there won't help any.
It's worth noting the previous re-do of that theater area took place in the 70s and didn't make it. 30 years later, nobody liked it well enough to keep it from demolition to be replaced by Overture. I can't say if it would have looked better in 2020, but since it was already a remodel I doubt it would have. I wonder if the city even finished paying off the bonds before it was torn down.
...why do we have to eliminate retail space, neighborhood space, buildings people can live and work in-- and create quasi-public space that caters to the tastes of the priveleged? Living downtown really offers only two options: you're either a drunk, destructive student or a wealthy condo owner bemoaning the grime or panhandlers or upscale shopping options.
No disagreement. We've been pleading on this forum for months that we want more affordable housing downtown, we don't want the entire campus area to lose its houses-and-porches blocks and be all fancy condos, and that high rents are hurting small retail around State.
That said, I'm not sure a park with cafes across from Overture necessarily excludes people of average or small means. They can't get tickets to some full-dress opera, but they might go see a movie and eat at Himal Chuli and have more fun anyway.
I'd rather have a real "city landscape"-- you know-- buidlings and such-- than a big ugly hunk of glass that $200 million demands we look at. Larger cities have plenty of these too, of course. They, however have large areas and more old architecture to work with. We're small and cramped on the lakes. We could work to preserve the appeal and history of old buildings and the classic "downtown" experience, but instead we're paving it over and dressing it like an upscale Vegas hooker.
I think those with any sensitivity to the historical context of downtown are trying, maybe even groping, for the fine line between a downtown museum of turn-of-the-last-century urban architecture and a generic rebuilt city with the architectural uniqueness of the West Beltline. Economic realities aren't making it any easier as wpatterson has made clear in this thread.
Madison's got a really limited amount of good older downtown architecture compared with some cities. We've destroyed a lot of it -- the Square is proof of that. If you can find a way to keep the whole 100 block of State intact and prevent somebody from putting up a tower that blocks the Capitol, I'll be with you all the way. I think the question isn't what to do with the 100 block of State. It needs to stay pretty much as it is in height and some nice older buildings deserve to be saved. The question, I think, should be what to do with the 100 block of N. Fairchild. Do you think we could change some or all of that without wrecking State?
Doing nothing at all is a recipe for allowing big landlords to let their properties rot (and I'm not comfortable at all with what Rifken says he means to do with his holdings on State). Once the buildings are sufficiently decayed and disgusting everyone's relieved when the guy finally does us all a favor and says he'd like to tear them down. I'm not accusing Rifken of this because it hasn't happened yet, but if that's the path he wants to take, his first step is conveniently in place. Jerome Mullins did the same thing for years downtown, and Minton is trying to do it now in Jennifer-Spaight. The city doesn't have the legal leverage at this time to block these guys. For that reason I think the city would do well to pre-empt any future deliberate decay of the 100 block of State by doing something creative now.