Thursday, June 17, 2010

5:30 left in the 4th: Appalachian State, 17 -- Michigan, 10

Shocking developments in today's Board of Adjustment meeting which I just got out of. I couldn't wait to post these before I got off work so here will be the short version:

There is no finality yet, but it looks like there may be a strong shot to save both the Kermac building and the India Temple, which to save typing, will be the IT building. David Wanzer is in support of saving both buildings. Jim Allen wants to save the IT but doesn't see the architectural or historical merit of the KM. Rod Baker wants to save the KM, recognizes that it is an architecturally attractive building and talked a lot about the streetwall and the urban experience, but doesn't believe the IT is as potentially conducive to SandRidge as the KM is so does not support saving it.

In order to get Jim Allen and Rod Baker to come together on both buildings instead of coming together on neither buildings as SandRidge will endeavor toward, we need to develop a strategy for both.

Rod Baker strategy:
I was pleasantly surprised to see Rod talking about the streetwall and the urban experience, but his concerns about the IT are that it is not as conducive as the Kermac to being used by SandRidge. I think that will be difficult to bring him to save the India Temple but it can be done by emphasizing that the ordinances talk about the good of the city and not one corporate tenant having free reign over two full blocks. Devon's tower doesn't even take up an entire block, and it will integrate very well with other uses such as the Colcord Hotel and the downtown library that will be adjacent. SandRidge is saying they don't want any other uses on the block. Wrong. The ordinances are written to guarantee the wellbeing and vibrancy of the city, not with the needs of a particular single corporate interest in mind. This is a community and we want SandRidge, but SandRidge has to be willing to accept mixed-uses in downtown.

Jim Allen strategy:
Jim truly seems to understand the intrinsic value of the India Temple and he wants to save that, and he asserted that it can be a valuable component of a campus redevelopment. I just think he doesn't like the Kermac building. Someone needs to assess the architectural and historical qualities of the Kermac with him, and it might not hurt to emphasis the point about the streetwall for his sake, but I really don't think there is a single planning buzzword that can convince Jim of anything. He just goes by his gut and he knows that the India Temple can be a good project if saved and wants to see that. He just needs to be convinced the same of the Kermac.

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