Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Aura and Epic Dead

Little late is posting this..(Traveling right..and man do I love NY. Gets better every time I come here...I'm running the NYC Marathon so wish me luck!!)

I think we all knew after all the "We will break ground in 2 months" we kept hearing from Nassi, we had to know Aura unofficially was dead, and now Epic seems to be following suit as well now that.

This line cracked me up...maybe I'm wrong but this doesn't see too routine to me.

In an e-mail Thursday, Nassi characterized the letter as a "routine" part of shutting down the city approval process for Epic for lack of funding.

While the big ones are falling, I just hope we can continue to see the smaller scale housing projects, restaurants, nightclubs, entrainment and retail continue to come and hopefully soon we can see a more achievable project like Cathedral Square, the 10th and K Building, or Metropolitan.

The smaller projects like L Street Lofts, Globe Mills, Newton Booth, Crystal Ice, Capitol Lofts, East End Gateway, and Cooper Union Buildings are still important in creating density and synergy. Being in NY right now, its amazing how dense this city is, even in areas that are dominated by buildings in the 3-8 range with a couple in 20-range mixed in. If Downtown or The Railyards (More likely than DT in my mind) looked and felt like The Village (easily my favorite neighborhood in NY), I would be very happy.

Remember to keep that in mind when we see projects actual built like Fremont Mews, 18th and L, L Street Lofts and Cooper Union. We can create the density that downtown and midtown need even with smaller projects that don't push 50+ story.

I do disagree greatly with people who posted in the comments section. To say nothing has happen is ridiculous. The amount of dinning, entertainment, shopping, and even housing options in the central city has blossomed a great deal in last 5 years, with more still on the way...we just didn't see any super large projects happen, yet.

Also, as "Blogging The Grid" mentioned, I think Mary Lynne Vellinga has been doing a good job covering these projects.

Condo project loses its star
Architect Libeskind cuts ties to developer, citing nonpayment
By Mary Lynne Vellinga - mlvellinga@sacbee.com
Last Updated 12:01 am PDT Friday, October 26, 2007

Billboards featuring the bemused face of star architect Daniel Libeskind have disappeared from downtown street corners, and so have plans by Denver developer Craig Nassi to build two Libeskind buildings here.

First, Nassi's Aura condominium project on the Capitol Mall ran into trouble. Now the head of BCN Development says he can't find financing for the 50-story Epic condo and hotel tower he planned for 12th and I streets, either.

Last week, a lawyer representing Libeskind and the local office of architecture firm Stantec Inc. sent a letter to Nassi terminating their relationship for nonpayment.

"Design professionals do not have the ability to continue working for free," said the letter from lawyer John Condrey, a copy of which was provided to the city.

In an e-mail Thursday, Nassi characterized the letter as a "routine" part of shutting down the city approval process for Epic for lack of funding.

"We still have a great relationship and are in talks about other projects in the country and the world," he said of Libeskind.

"Sacramento's economy is so depressed at the moment, we can't get lenders to consider any projects at this time," he said.

"It's frustrating, but we have to hold off on burning the fire until we know lenders will participate in the projects. We are still working daily to try to find lenders who have the same vision as us."

The break comes less than two weeks after Nassi appeared at the Sacramento City Planning Commission to get input on the Epic project. At the meeting, he showed off a new three-dimensional model of the Libeskind design for Epic that he trundled around the room in a case.

He told the commissioners that he was "off and running" with his sales team, and that Epic had a design and price range that were "achievable to build."

Yet his relationship with Libeskind in Sacramento was nearing an end.

Lawyer Condrey wrote the city Sept. 17, saying Libeskind and Stantec had "terminated" their relationship with Nassi, and were "asserting their right to halt work utilizing their copyrighted intellectual property."

The letter asks that "all plans and renderings" for the Epic project be returned or destroyed.

After that letter was sent, Stantec told the city to disregard the correspondence while it tried to work things out with Nassi, said Planning Manager David Kwong.

But then, on Oct. 19, their lawyer fired off a new letter confirming that Libeskind and Stantec were no longer working for Nassi, and that the application for Epic should be withdrawn.

"Architects of record regret that events have led to this necessary action," the Oct. 19 letter stated.

Aura and Epic were designed by Libeskind, who vaulted to fame after he was chosen to do the master plan for the World Trade Center reconstruction.

On both local buildings, the soaring glass facades were cut by sweeping lines created by balconies and other elements.

Kwong said the application for Epic has been withdrawn, though the city plans to keep Libeskind's drawings on file as part of its public records.

As for the Aura project, Planning Department spokeswoman Jill Scofield said it remains approved and ready to go if and when Nassi decides to build it. The city had agreed to lend Nassi $10 million, but pulled back the offer in August after he failed to meet a deadline to secure his financing.

"We're ready to issue building permits on Aura," Scofield said. "It's up to the developer to come pull them. But we haven't heard about any movement on that, either."

The scrapheap of high-rises planned for Sacramento before the real estate market collapsed is starting to pile up. Libeskind's creations join the twin 53-story hotel and condominium towers formerly planned for the Capitol Mall by local developer John Saca.


Zwahlen Images said...

How sad to see both these projects end like this. Oh well, I love this city weather we get residential towers or not.

Good luck my friend in the Marathon. As you know, I was just in NYC last week and Boston before that. Both cities are fantastic and it's always such a treat for me when I get out that way.

uneasy rhetoric said...

Hey, good luck in the marathon! I kinda figured Aura was dead when I realized they were building a parking lot next to the US Bank Tower.

You're absolutely right about density -- there is a lot of good stuff happening.

Anonymous said...

This city is a disaster...we will continue to be talked about as the armpit of California by people who live elsewhere if we can get are sh*t together...

Erik said...

I don't care what other people in California think of this city, I'm proud to call this place home. If anything, this city's inferiority complex in relation to the coast is what bugs me the most about Sacramento, not a couple failed condo projects. In due time it will happen, but closer to the ground wonderful things are still happening.

Anonymous said...

Its not just California bud, and its all cool to be down with your residence. Sacramento should be ashamed of itself with 60 years of development failures. If we don't accept that and take action now, we will be having this same conversation again in 10 years.