Benjamin Briggs sent me these renderings of a proposed building in the 300 block of South Elm Street:
At first glance, it doesn't look bad. An earlier proposal was apparently all steel and glass, which wouldn't fit in with South Elm's distinctive architecture.
But I think five stories is too abrupt a transition from the next-door building's three, the window pattern and steel awnings are incongruous with the surrounding buildings, and the recessed and dark entrance on the corner is a wasted opportunity to put something interesting on the sidewalk.
It reminds me of a lot of newer buildings I've seen in downtown Charlotte and Chattanooga -- pretty generic. I think the architects could certainly relate the building more creatively to its context, since Elm Street has plenty of interesting architectural elements to play with.
Or have I missed something here?
Update: Benjamin Briggs has a much more detailed (and architecturally informed) critique.
Update II: News & Record story. Downtown developer Milton Kern says, "[The developers] are good folks. They don’t understand that downtown is not another office park."