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New 11-Story Office Building in The Short North

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Development New 11-Story Office Building in The Short North

This topic contains 167 replies, has 38 voices, and was last updated by  Pablo 2 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 136 through 150 (of 168 total)
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  • #1101666

    jbcmh81
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Walker Evans wrote:</div>
    I think there’s a certain level of agreement here about the ideals surrounding urban form…

    … but when it comes to implementation, there’s always going to be differences of opinion about the nuances of each individual project and situation. And that’s ok!

    It’s helpful when your viewpoint is not held too strictly to any rigid ideal so that compromise can be reached, and the outcome can make the most people happy in the end.

    If you hold too tightly to your ideals (with regard to any topic), and are unwilling to compromise, then you’ll end up finding yourself constantly unhappy in life. Extremism in unhealthy.

    We should always demand that things be better, but we should also be willing to work within realistic parameters of getting tasks accomplished and continue to move forward at the end of the day.

    And if these commissions in the VV and IV had not been good at that, the SN would not be where it is today.

    Except that these current guidelines didn’t exist when the neighborhood was truly in its revitalization stage, so thanking them for how the neighborhood is now doesn’t seem right. It seems to me that the guidelines exist now for preservation of the neighborhood’s current form rather than helping it to keep progressing in the natural direction of a hot neighborhood in a growing city.

    #1101676

    WJT
    Participant

    It seems to me that the guidelines exist now for preservation of the neighborhood’s current form rather than helping it to keep progressing in the natural direction of a hot neighborhood in a growing city.

    This.

    And I agree with what Walker said, there is a middle ground. I think that the guidelines as they are may be too stringent, but God forbid if there were no guidelines at all-the rampant over-development along High that would result would ruin the area and destroy any quality of life factors that make the area so desirable*.

    *not so desirable to me actually. I preferred the Short North when it was still semi-ghetto. But such is life, and change, in a large growing city. First off, I don’t live in the Short North and don’t have to personally deal with what happens there, and secondly, I can at least attempt see to some extent beyond my own personal preferences and at least attempt to see what I think is best for the majority, and the city as a whole.

    #1101684

    Nancy H
    Participant

    There are lots of place in Columbus (actually most of it) where you can build whatever you want if it fits the zoning for the area: residential, commercial, manufacturing, etc. But, if someone wants to build or remodel a building within the boundaries of one of the Historic Districts, then they have to get a Certificate of Appropriateness from that area’s Commission before the City will issue a building permit. That is the law as it currently stands.

    This part, from section 3.5 of the Short North Design Guidelines says it best “Height as viewed from the street shall be compatible with adjacent contributing properties. Setoffs may be used at upper levels. Physical size and scale shall be compatible to existing contributing properties without overwhelming them.”

    The buildings on each side of this project are roughly 100 years old (one is listed as 1900 and the other 1926), so definitely considered “adjacent contributing properties.” The one to the north is 4 stories high, with a very small 5th story part in the middle rear. The one to the south is 3 stories. Depending on how it is designed, 11, 9 or even 6 stories could be “overwhelming.”

    In its purest sense, the commissions are charged with preserving the neighborhood’s sense of place. Sense of Place is a tough thing to define. I think this guy does it well

    http://www.planetizen.com/node/56165

    Make no mistake about it, the Short North’s sense of place is what makes it popular.

    And I did indeed joke about surrounding Bollinger Tower with other tall buildings so we wouldn’t have to look at it. I am not the original source of that comment, or the only one who feels that way. That said, we will be looking at BT for a long time.

    #1101685

    WJT
    Participant

    There are lots of place in Columbus (actually most of it) where you can build whatever you want if it fits the zoning for the area: residential, commercial, manufacturing, etc. But, if someone wants to build or remodel a building within the boundaries of one of the Historic Districts, then they have to get a Certificate of Appropriateness from that area’s Commission before the City will issue a building permit. That is the law as it currently stands.

    This part, from section 3.5 of the Short North Design Guidelines says it best “Height as viewed from the street shall be compatible with adjacent contributing properties. Setoffs may be used at upper levels. Physical size and scale shall be compatible to existing contributing properties without overwhelming them.”

    The buildings on each side of this project are roughly 100 years old (one is listed as 1900 and the other 1926), so definitely considered “adjacent contributing properties.” The one to the north is 4 stories high, with a very small 5th story part in the middle rear. The one to the south is 3 stories. Depending on how it is designed, 11, 9 or even 6 stories could be “overwhelming.”

    In its purest sense, the commissions are charged with preserving the neighborhood’s sense of place. Sense of Place is a tough thing to define. I think this guy does it well

    http://www.planetizen.com/node/56165

    Make no mistake about it, the Short North’s sense of place is what makes it popular.

    And I did indeed joke about surrounding Bollinger Tower with other tall buildings so we wouldn’t have to look at it. I am not the original source of that comment, or the only one who feels that way. That said, we will be looking at BT for a long time.

    But does ‘sense of place’ ever change, ever evolve? If that was the way the city thought 100 years ago, those 3-5 story buildings would not have been built either. When and where do you say ‘this area must be preserved?

    Is it just the built environment that determines ‘sense of place’? How about things such as affordability? diversity?-don’t those things also consitute part of what forms a ‘sense of place’

    Also, along those lines, since the demand is so hot for this area, why is there no city requirement that a certain percentage of new housing units be below market rate(workforce housing)? This apples to downtown as well.

    #1101688

    sruckus
    Participant

    BT really is quite hideous. A friend made me think the other day when we were talking about it that I am not sure it’s feasible of any redevelopment anyway because of the limited parking (and with the current residents it’s not an issue) so renovations are out of the picture and I can’t imagine anyone considering it worthwhile right now to spend all the money to tear down the tower, either.

    #1101689

    sruckus
    Participant

    But does ‘sense of place’ ever change, ever evolve? If that was the way the city thought 100 years ago, those 3-5 story buildings would not have been built either. When and where do you say ‘this area must be preserved?

    Is it just the built environment that determines ‘sense of place’? How about things such as affordability? diversity?-don’t those things also consitute part of what forms a ‘sense of place’

    Yeah, one can extrapolate that out and you end up having crazy situations like Paris where they’re so obsessed with keeping everything exactly as it was and not letting it evolve.

    #1101695

    WJT
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>WJT wrote:</div>
    But does ‘sense of place’ ever change, ever evolve? If that was the way the city thought 100 years ago, those 3-5 story buildings would not have been built either. When and where do you say ‘this area must be preserved?

    Is it just the built environment that determines ‘sense of place’? How about things such as affordability? diversity?-don’t those things also consitute part of what forms a ‘sense of place’

    Yeah, one can extrapolate that out and you end up having crazy situations like Paris where they’re so obsessed with keeping everything exactly as it was and not letting it evolve.

    Also it is very very selective ‘preservation’. What about preserving the suburban-style fast food joints along High? What about the Dollar stores and the UDF and the parking lots facing High street? Are they not also part of the ‘sense of place’ that is(soon to be was as they are being phased out)the Short North? Do they not reflect part of the history of the place? So so selective.

    #1101701
    Josh Lapp
    Josh Lapp
    Participant

    Also it is very very selective ‘preservation’. What about preserving the suburban-style fast food joints along High? What about the Dollar stores and the UDF and the parking lots facing High street? Are they not also part of the ‘sense of place’ that is(soon to be was as they are being phased out)the Short North? Do they not reflect part of the history of the place? So so selective.

    Is it? There are actual standards and classifications, done by professionals as to what should and shouldn’t be preserved. If you really believe any of this that you aren’t paying any attention to what is really happening. There is a period of significance of buildings in the districts and some have more integrity than others. In Italian Village there are some auto-oriented uses that merit preservation and some that don’t. No one wants a static neighborhood, but that does not mean that development can ignore the historic context it is becoming a part of, especially in a district that is on the National Register and is one of the few preserved neighborhoods in Columbus.

    There are also other considerations that are often thrown in the mix. Is it better to preserve an old but insignificant building or loose a major curb cut on high street? IVC decided recently that loosing the curb cut is more important.

    There are plenty of other neighborhoods that ignore the historic context and historic buildings. Just in the past year or two we have seen a number of historic buildings demolished downtown because there are not historic protections in place. And maybe thats ok? But the reason IV, VV and GV are the way they are is because of that historic context and as they, grow new buildings should at least have some association with it.

    #1101720

    Nancy H
    Participant

    Do you believe that this project, in its 11-story proposed form, would’ve had reduction demands in 1980s Short North?

    By “reduced demands” do you mean building height? If you do mean height – then yes it would have been turned down.

    Not a single highrise building was built on High Street until Bollinger Tower was built in 1984. It only got built because it was forced upon the neighborhood as a federally funded project for low income seniors and people with disabilities. Nobody objected to the occupants, but EVERYBODY objected to the look of the building. Height was just one of many objections.

    Jackson on High, Dakota, Hub, Fireproof and The Joseph were all built in the last 10 years. Only the Dakota and Jackson were built before the Short North Design Guidelines were written. The struggle of getting those projects through the process was a driving force behind the need for guidelines just for the High Street commercial strip.

    – – –

    @ nobody in particular

    I do wish some of you would learn how to edit quotes so that only the relevant parts are included. Wading through 2000 words of full quotes inside full quotes inside full quotes, to find two sentences of new comments is annoying.

    #1101734

    Nancy H
    Participant

    A little something for WJT – Those of you who found Civics Class boring can skip to the next post.

    I was curious about just how many Architectural Review Commission areas we now have in Columbus, so I did a little digging on the City’s website. There are five of them: Brewery District, German Village, Historic Resources, Italian Village and Victorian Village. HRC is a sort of catch all that covers properties in Columbus Register Districts (not covered by the other commissions) and properties listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places.

    During my digging, I discovered there is a Board of Commission Appeals already in place for appealing decisions made by the City’s five Architectural Review Commissions.

    From the City’s website: “The Board of Commission Appeals was established by Ordinance # 1516-89 in 1989. The Board of Commission Appeals consists of five (5) mayoral appointees who serve without compensation. It is the duty of the Board to hear and decide appeals from any of the five (5) City of Columbus architectural review commission’s denial of an application of a certificate of appropriateness for proposed construction, alteration, or demolition of a structure, appurtenance or architectural feature of a property located in a historic district or individually listed in the Columbus Register of Historic Properties.”

    They had one appeal in 2014 and so far only one 2015. Both were denied by unanimous vote. So, not exactly encouraging for developers who want to “go around” the commission’s decision.

    #1101745

    WJT
    Participant

    A little something for WJT – Those of you who found Civics Class boring can skip to the next post.

    I was curious about just how many Architectural Review Commission areas we now have in Columbus, so I did a little digging on the City’s website. There are five of them: Brewery District, German Village, Historic Resources, Italian Village and Victorian Village. HRC is a sort of catch all that covers properties in Columbus Register Districts (not covered by the other commissions) and properties listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places.

    During my digging, I discovered there is a Board of Commission Appeals already in place for appealing decisions made by the City’s five Architectural Review Commissions.

    From the City’s website: “The Board of Commission Appeals was established by Ordinance # 1516-89 in 1989. The Board of Commission Appeals consists of five (5) mayoral appointees who serve without compensation. It is the duty of the Board to hear and decide appeals from any of the five (5) City of Columbus architectural review commission’s denial of an application of a certificate of appropriateness for proposed construction, alteration, or demolition of a structure, appurtenance or architectural feature of a property located in a historic district or individually listed in the Columbus Register of Historic Properties.”

    They had one appeal in 2014 and so far only one 2015. Both were denied by unanimous vote. So, not exactly encouraging for developers who want to “go around” the commission’s decision.

    Actually thanks for the info… this is info I could look up online, but it is usually easier to just ask a question than wade through the internet to find specific info because there are many people on here who really are informed about such stuff and I can get what I want(and then some)that way. And yes, that is a compliment towards the quality of the posters on this messageboard(in general).

    Well it certainly does seem like the developers know what it possible and what is not in certain areas. I also think any problems I have are mainly not with the process itself. I guess I cannot really fault any commission members if they are basically following what they have to follow, and as I believe Josh Lapp stated, they have different interpretations of what that exactly is. I guess my problem is in the very definitions of what design, architecture, density, etc. are allowed/permissible in a given area.

    *also I will admit this…I like the 11 story tower-in-the-park on High. Or at least the idea of it. Just a little landscaping and some seating, maybe a piece of art. I like variety, I don’t want every.single. block. to be a repetition of 2-6 floor brick buildings built out to the street with ground floor retail and an occasional patio seating area. The area has been built out for what, 150 years now? and has gone through changes and at least some of that change should be included as a real representation of what the neighborhood has gone through. That even includes leaving things that may not be loved or fashionable now, but remember, fashion and what the ‘professionals’ think is appropriate changes like the weather. Look at what the ‘professionals’ have thought was appropriate 20, 30, 50 years ago, and bemoan the resultant loss.

    I also think that indifferent or even ‘bad’ architecture is one of the least worrisome things in a neighborhood-it basically becomes less relevant as long as all of the other things that make a neighborhood great work well and are present. Just saying. With a variety of buildings the ‘bad’ ones just blend in together with the rest. If the Bollinger were just one of several not so attractive buildings of the same height, it would blend in much more. Of course it just isn’t one of a half dozen, and there will not be any more of this height. To me that is problem- a lack of variety and height in the district.

    I do agree with you that some more creative thinking from developers might help.Things like underground parking(if they are so keen to develop here and the demand is so high then why not?) would allow for more density and some height with things like setbacks, etc.(instead of 11 floors rising straight up from the site). These proposals might be met have a more favorable reception if developers would try harder to accomodate some of these concerns.

    #1101746

    jbcmh81
    Participant

    Also it is very very selective ‘preservation’. What about preserving the suburban-style fast food joints along High? What about the Dollar stores and the UDF and the parking lots facing High street? Are they not also part of the ‘sense of place’ that is(soon to be was as they are being phased out)the Short North? Do they not reflect part of the history of the place? So so selective.

    Is it? There are actual standards and classifications, done by professionals as to what should and shouldn’t be preserved. If you really believe any of this that you aren’t paying any attention to what is really happening. There is a period of significance of buildings in the districts and some have more integrity than others. In Italian Village there are some auto-oriented uses that merit preservation and some that don’t. No one wants a static neighborhood, but that does not mean that development can ignore the historic context it is becoming a part of, especially in a district that is on the National Register and is one of the few preserved neighborhoods in Columbus.

    There are also other considerations that are often thrown in the mix. Is it better to preserve an old but insignificant building or loose a major curb cut on high street? IVC decided recently that loosing the curb cut is more important.

    There are plenty of other neighborhoods that ignore the historic context and historic buildings. Just in the past year or two we have seen a number of historic buildings demolished downtown because there are not historic protections in place. And maybe thats ok? But the reason IV, VV and GV are the way they are is because of that historic context and as they, grow new buildings should at least have some association with it.

    Okay, but here is something that gets lost- there is finite space to build in the Short North. At some point, every single vacant lot will be filled, or at least every reasonably buildable one. What happens then? Does the neighborhood become a time capsule where change essentially ceases and the neighborhood potentially stagnates, or does the demand for housing there remain so high that it threatens the very older structures you’re trying to protect? That’s why limiting density on these surface lots especially is so backwards. When they’re gone, something smaller will inevitably be sacrificed. So why wouldn’t the push be the best use of space? There’s also the consideration that intentionally limiting these projects will only serve to inflate prices in the area. Good for homeowners, I guess, but terrible for everyone else.

    #1101747

    jbcmh81
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>jbcmh81 wrote:</div>
    Do you believe that this project, in its 11-story proposed form, would’ve had reduction demands in 1980s Short North?

    By “reduced demands” do you mean building height? If you do mean height – then yes it would have been turned down.

    Not a single highrise building was built on High Street until Bollinger Tower was built in 1984. It only got built because it was forced upon the neighborhood as a federally funded project for low income seniors and people with disabilities. Nobody objected to the occupants, but EVERYBODY objected to the look of the building. Height was just one of many objections.

    Jackson on High, Dakota, Hub, Fireproof and The Joseph were all built in the last 10 years. Only the Dakota and Jackson were built before the Short North Design Guidelines were written. The struggle of getting those projects through the process was a driving force behind the need for guidelines just for the High Street commercial strip.

    That really seems unlikely that the project as proposed would’ve been turned down at a time when the Short North was better known for its crack than its galleries or restaurants, especially at a time, we’ve been reminded, when strong guidelines didn’t even exist. I can understand the objection at the time to Bollinger- an ugly low-income housing project in an already depressed area, but had a mixed-use quality project like this been proposed then, I just can’t imagine it being outright rejected or had as many objections on size as it does today.

    If the Jackson hadn’t been built and was proposed today, how many floors would it have been reduced from its 8?

    #1101748
    Josh Lapp
    Josh Lapp
    Participant

    Okay, but here is something that gets lost- there is finite space to build in the Short North. At some point, every single vacant lot will be filled, or at least every reasonably buildable one. What happens then? Does the neighborhood become a time capsule where change essentially ceases and the neighborhood potentially stagnates, or does the demand for housing there remain so high that it threatens the very older structures you’re trying to protect? That’s why limiting density on these surface lots especially is so backwards. When they’re gone, something smaller will inevitably be sacrificed. So why wouldn’t the push be the best use of space? There’s also the consideration that intentionally limiting these projects will only serve to inflate prices in the area. Good for homeowners, I guess, but terrible for everyone else.

    I can’t argue that historic districts often become the most expensive neighborhoods in any given city, for one, because they are often the most interesting and vibrant areas and for two because development is often limited. But often that is the price to pay for good preservation, otherwise, that historic character is wiped away. German Village is a great example. Much of the area north of 70 had similar characteristics as what remains to the south, but it was eventually demolished without protections in favor of larger ‘better’ buildings.

    Eventually yes, when an area is built out, it is built out, but isn’t that the nature of development? The development momentum will move somewhere else I assume as is the case all over the country, and is already happening locally.

    A big question is, why would we allow the character that makes the neighborhood desirable in the first place to be wiped out? I would have a difficult time arguing that there are a lot of structures that are ripe for demolition in the Short North, which I can tell you is the fear of everyone in the preservation movement. The standards that were developed for the historic districts, including high street, didn’t just come out of thin air. There are national standards for preservation that are then adapted locally and height (not density, we don’t regular interiors) and its affect on neighboring structures is a big consideration.

    If I could snap my fingers and build a bunch of underground parking or transit that would eliminate the need for the parking that seems to be the guiding issue in a lot of the development, I would. And so would most others I’m sure. But we can only review whats in front of us, and if they numbers don’t work then it probably won’t happen.

    #1101773
    lazyfish
    lazyfish
    Participant

    Okay, but here is something that gets lost- there is finite space to build in the Short North. At some point, every single vacant lot will be filled, or at least every reasonably buildable one. What happens then? Does the neighborhood become a time capsule where change essentially ceases and the neighborhood potentially stagnates, or does the demand for housing there remain so high that it threatens the very older structures you’re trying to protect? That’s why limiting density on these surface lots especially is so backwards. When they’re gone, something smaller will inevitably be sacrificed. So why wouldn’t the push be the best use of space? There’s also the consideration that intentionally limiting these projects will only serve to inflate prices in the area. Good for homeowners, I guess, but terrible for everyone else.

    yes, its time to speculate in a new neighborhood, look at who is buying property in the bottoms/Franklinton. How about creating buzz and tall buildings in another area of town that might appreciate the interest.The northside from Downtown to Worthington is very hot and no longer affordable for many 1st time buyers. I suspect we will see Franklinton or the east side of Parson be the new rising neighborhoods, where we will have these tall building arguments in 20 years.

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