Letters to the Editor: October 22 – 28, 2020
F.C. City Development Would Benefit from Cohesive Vision
While I support having a Whole Foods, a new home for Creative Caldron, the 21 affordable housing units among the 300+ for profit residential rental units, and significant additional revenue for the City, the development’s large footprint combined with its blase facade is aesthetically disappointing.
Driving along Broad Street, one passes the new Founders Row development. While still under construction, it more and more seemingly resembles the Spectrum mixed use complex anchored by Panera. Both have a U shaped footprint with a center courtyard, ground retail, and several stories of residential space above. As a layperson, both these developments also resemble the Harris Teeter complex, another large 6 story apartment building with ground retail. The Broad and Washington Project would further solidify a theme of massive mid-rise multi-family residential with ground retail along Broad Street. In a high cost of living area like ours, understandably mega multi-family mixed use projects are what is needed to generate revenue for the developer, its investors, and the City. Among the stakeholders, the City has the longest and broadest investment horizon. Whatever is built will be here well beyond the 20 year Whole Foods initial lease. In the interim it will also serve as a precedent to shape development and aesthetics in the downtown area. For these reasons, the architectural design should elevate beyond the functional to offer visual interest and a timeless quality that honors the historic charm of the Little City.The “general good of the community,” as you aptly put it, is best served by preserving that which makes our city a great place to live.
Perhaps now is the time for the City and its residents to discuss and commission renderings of what we want our city center along Broad and Park Streets to ideally look and feel like in 10, 20, 30 years. Such an overarching roadmap will empower the City to steer development and not simply be a product of it
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