Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Building on South Elm?

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 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."


Roch101 said...

Looks pretty cool to me. Five stories doesn't seem to out of whack. Commercial? Residential? Mixed? Do you know?

David Wharton said...

Don't know yet. Benjamin will probably be posting more soon.

rmelton said...

Yeah god forbid that we have anything that looks decent with those old crappy buildings downtown. Maybe we should require current property owners to make current buildings at least look like they're not empty store fronts .

Anonymous said...

5 stories is not too abrupt. Having a diversity in height actually helps the density. We already have examples on South Elm Street with taller buildings next to shorter 3 story buildings. The 7 story Dixie Building comes to mind. Also have people forgotten so soon about the 15-story Guilford Building!

David Wharton said...

Anon, I think you've persuaded me about the height, but I agree with Benjamin that the cornice should change to make it blend better with the rest of the block.

rmelton, crappy because they haven't been maintained, or crappy because the architecture is poor? At any rate, there are fewer empty storefronts on Elm St. than there are at the new Village at Elm and Pisgah Church.

Anonymous said...

My concern is not the height of the building. I am more concerned with:
1.The builder's request for a grant from the city to purchase part of the adjacent city-owned lot currently used for parking.
2. The request that the city rent some of the proposed remaining area as PRIVATE PARKING for the building and an area for dumpsters, etc.
Until recently there were parking spaces available for monthly daytime rental. This monthly parking was eliminated and now the lot is pay-to-park in the daytime and free after 6.
Why should this one property owner be allowed to rent parking day and night when others cannot rent it exclusively for either day or night.

Anonymous said...

When will it be known about the 300 block of South Elm? Are there other plans in the works? With the addition of the Mellow Mushroom, South Elm is an upbeat, dynamic place. The growing issue seems to be parking. Where do employees park?

Thank you for keeping us posted. We've posted several pictures on Elm Street already. However, it is time to return to take more!

Greensboro Daily Photo

David Wharton said...

GDP, I believe the City Council is holding a special meeting about it this evening.

I hope they build it, even if the building isn't perfectly to my liking.