Burwell Heights Development Gets First Architectural Review
The design for the ambitious Burwell Heights mixed-use development that was revealed last week went in front of the Italian Village Commission last night, and received a combination of praise and critique during the feedback session. The design was noted as being a very preliminary one, with room for discussion about the specific best use of the site, which was formerly home to a taxi company parking lot and repair garage.
“We want to get a feeling of if we’re going in the right direction with the aesthetics, as well as the size of building,” said Karrick Sherrill of Shremshock Architects during the presentation. “One thing we want to focus on is how we can pick up cues from this portion of neighborhood for the size and the rhythms of the buildings, but also from other retail corridors like High Street.”
Multiple commission members commented on the fact that normally a singular building designed to look like multiple buildings does not work well aesthetically, but said that the architect actually made this approach work very well.
“I don’t want to like it, but I actually really like it,” said commission member Josh Lapp. “The mansard roof could be an element to get rid of in favor of a more modern addition. I’m just happy that the massing is broken up.”
Commission member David Cooke said that he liked that the development is a gateway piece between Weinland Park and Italian Village on the northern end of the district, noting that it has the potential to help bridge the two areas in a way that The I-670 Cap does between Downtown and The Short North on High Street.
“My fear is that this project puts a lot of faith on what may happen on the other corners,” argued commission member Todd Boyer, adding that the southeast and northwest corners of Summit and Fifth are possible sites for future development. “The height and mass I’m ok with. But it will be ‘an island’ with the hopes that something else will come along.”
One neighborhood resident from Fourth Avenue attended the meeting to weigh in, and said that he was very concerned with the scale of the development, noting that he would see it clearly from his back yard. He said that the scale did not match the surrounding buildings and noted that the parking variance requested would impact the rest of the neighborhood.
Overall, the feedback didn’t change the outlook that developer Brad Howe has about the project. Howe didn’t want to go into specific details at this preliminary stage, but spoke very positively about the transformation of the neighborhood following the meeting.
“I think that where the Short North is going, and with the activity on High Street and over on Fourth Street, things are getting really exciting and in the next five to ten years we’re really going to see a transformation in that area,” he stated. “There’s going to be a real retail corridor from High down Fifth Avenue over to Fourth, and I think that the best is really yet to come. So tonight’s meeting was really encouraging.”
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Rendering by Shremshock Architects.