Thursday, August 13, 2009

City Council Hotel Subsidy Vote

Last Tuesdays the 8th & K Street hotel subsidy vote was delayed by a request of the development team, the proposal is now scheduled to be heard on Aug. 25th. This delay will now will give the public more time to make their opinions heard as to why this proposal is a bad deal for the city from an urban planning stand point with the enormous parking garage as well as the complete give away of land and tax dollars.

In my previous post, I listed several reasons why the city council and Mayor should not rubber stamp the project without major changes in how parking is treated. This seems to be the proposals worst feature, six floors of open, visible parking that destroys a whole city corner in doing so. Back in 1990, Lankford and Cook’s built 1201 K Street building (Ban Roll On) as seen below. Above the first floor there are five floors of parking that are covered and disguised so that it doe’s not detract from the building outer visage by tucking it into the structure. In doing this, the design shows concern for its impact on the street level and truly helps that tower feel inviting when walking up to it on the street.

This current 8th & K St. proposal appears to thumb its nose at the cities design guidelines and I’m wondering if the City Councils even paying attention? If this is something that concerns you, please take a few minutes to email both the city council and Mayor before the August 25th meeting. Instead of just rolling over and leaving it alone hoping that the Mayor and council speak up for changes, maybe we need to remind them to exercise some quality control and insisting that developers try harder.

Here are email address to both the City Council and Mayor. If you also feel the same way about this project, please let our officials know. A hand full of voices on this matter might empower our city’s bully pulpit to have a back bone on this more often.

Mayor Kevin Johnson -

Council Members
Ray Tretheway -
Sandy Sheedy -
Steve Cohn -
Robert Fong -
Lauren Hammond -
Kevin McCarthy -
Robbie Waters -
BonniePannell -


wburg said...

If it seems like this project is thumbing its nose at the city's design guidelines, it is because this project hasn't even been submitted to city staff, nor has city planning staff or Design Commission been shown the plan to provide comment. They seem to be doing things backwards: first give away the land and agree to the deal, then see what they want to do. The term "buying a pig in a poke" was invented for situations like this.

Zwahlen Images said...

Yeah, your right wburg. In today's Bob Shallit article, it sounds like the city staff report "slammed" the financing deal for the project. I personally have not seen the report yet, but it doe's not sound like they are even concerned with how the project will actually look. It sucks that the city is even considering this deal, even worse that they aren’t demanding that the developer try harder to make this project impressive on the street level.

Citizens need to get involved and contact the city council or will be stuck with another dud of a project for a ton free subsidy money.

wburg said...

The staff report was written by Economic Development staff, not project review staff. Economic Development staff only deal with the money--the hotel could look like a giant poo for all they care, they're just trying to figure out if the project makes fiscal sense. Although from that staff report, it makes about as much fiscal sense as a giant poo.

In order to be reviewed by project review staff (the ones who deal with things like design) it needs to be formally submitted as a project--so far, it has not, and there is no project number. Preservation staff and the Preservation Commission have not been consulted about the issue of demolition of the Bel-Vue, either, because officially speaking there is no submitted project to comment on.

brian said...

The current city design guidelines are bogus, the parking requirements are bogus, and no merit should be given to the design staff or the comission at the city. The current design guidlines have created a city litered with podiums, tierd towers, and 3-6 story parking structures.
I agree that losing a major corner to parking is not great, but the city is at fault via its planning and design guidelines. Adopting the new guidlines will help somewhat, but changing parking requirements and getting "big picture" people in our commissions will lead us towards a more livable city.

wburg said...

brian: The current central city urban design guidelines were updated only a few months ago, so maybe you might take another look at them in their current state before deciding that they are bogus. Don't try to pin the design of this building on current planning guidelines, because the planning department hasn't even had the opportunity to weigh in on this building yet, let alone apply current planning guidelines to it.