Boom What’s Going Up After the Bars Come Down
posted by March 15 at 15:27 PMon
Here’s an artist’s rendering of the new development planned for Pine Street between Summit and Belmont on Capitol Hill (aka the Cha-Cha/Bimbo’s/Man Ray block):
It’s easy to see (UPDATE! now you can click on the link for a bigger version) that the development is going to be just as monolithic, standard-issue, and uninspired as neighborhood residents have feared. It lacks the architectural texture that architects Weber + Thompson assured the neighborhood it would have (larger, actually usable balconies would be a start, as would some recessed units and visible courtyards, like the ones at the Press Condos down the street). It’s a block long and six stories high, with one small corner of sidewalk-accessible open space at the west end. The drawing shows eight storefronts, which would be an improvement on early plans to include just three large storefronts on the entire block; however, rents, at an estimated $30 a square foot, will still be out of reach for most independent businesses—and the developers have said bars aren’t welcome, anyway. (Current rents are as low as $14 a square foot.) The project is going through design review at the city, but since that process has no teeth (the city can’t dictate aesthetics), residents are left with little recourse to alter the plans for a project that, along with the six-story building planned for the plot behind Linda’s across the street, will redefine the neighborhood.
As we’ve said before: We’re not against density. What we’re against is density that obliterates the very “vibrancy” that made the neighborhood desirable in the first place. Build your condos, developers, but put them on open lots first — otherwise, you may drive a stake in the heart of the “vibrant” neighborhood you’re trying to draw people in to.