Forest City developers are now seeking to get approval of the new building’s design and site plan surrounding the new construction and the parking lot, now that they have the amendments approved. (September 2017, Planning Board).The red circle is pointing out some changes to landscape. BUT – The important thing to obsess on, is the road and sidewalks that will be created and new boundaries of the parking lot and how cars will enter and leave the parking lot from Fourth St./Washington Blvd. entrance and the Sixth Street to the north. Is it pedestrian friendly?
A bit of the back story earlier this summer – July/August 2017 – Forest City has asked for amendments to their first block currently under construction. They have already received approval from Planning Board in June, but immediately sought approval from City Council the next session. Forest City offered to share the design changes to the N.A.s in the area AFTER they presented to Planning Board, leaving no time to comment to Planning Board. City Council typically rubber stamps anything Planning Board approves. City Council un-tabled the ordinance during a Special City Council meeting at 10am. Not a typical situation and it was not on the agenda – so no one spoke during the Second Reading because we had no idea that it would be un-tabled that day!! Very disappointed in the city’s lack of communication with the public. 9-0 approved.
I question the timing of presenting to the downtown neighborhoods. The time to discuss should be much earlier in the process, not at the last moment. A block with two phases should be presented together, not years apart, especially if they design something that never met the current specs, hence the request for an amendments at the last minute. Latest design removes the setback and creates a sheer tower along the 4th Street (35+ stories), the main entrance to the development. Designs are presented without looking at the entire neighborhood – it would benefit to see how the other ten towers will line up with the amendment. 3D models help visualize the plans. After people asked, Forest City created some 3D renderings, but are showing the current buildings in the area only, not how it will look with the other tower and bases scheduled to be built over the next 15 years.
NOTE from Forest City: The intent of the “Yellow Blocks” (towers throughout RDP) was to allow some flexibility within that zone for the towers to move and shift around within those designated areas, but still adhering to the 60’ rule. The massing of the towers may not encompass the entire yellow area on any given plan to allow the two towers on either block to “breath” if you will and maintain the 60’ separation.
Forest City hasn’t started designing the individual towers yet for the future blocks, once they do so if there are any changes needed they’ll make sure to meet with the community to discuss much earlier in the process.
I’ve included the other renderings presented to us a couple weeks ago. Please take a look at – if you have any comments – please speak up. We’d love to hear the good and bad comments.
1B tower dimensions are approximately 122’ x 128’.
comparisons of altered design to setback currently in RDP.