Tuesday, July 31, 2007

That Whole Arena Thing

Where will I park? Won't it be too congested downtown? Is that really the best location for such a venue?

Before the city throws an approximately $300 million project on our ballots in the fall (or spring), the officials really need to begin to address the issues that the voting, and paying, public are going to have with the project.

Anytime a project is proposed anywhere in this city, the first question that arises is always, "Will there be enough parking?" It's like a knee jerk reaction - or a violent, unnecessary heave if you will. What people don't know is the cost associated with the ability to have a parking spot for each and every individuals pretty little automobile or big-ass, over sized, under-used, impeccable truck. A single space in a parking garage will run in the realm of $15,000 dollars per space. I won't defend my number but I will say this is a decent average number. That's a lot of money for space that will sit empty most of the time. Let's say the center had an event every night, the space would still sit empty for 20 hours a day. Add that price tag to the potential revenue lost by not developing that parking garage into inhabited space, whether that be office, residential or retail, and you're talking major dollars to subsidize something that could be making money for the entire city.

Between the Convention Center, Civic Plaza, the new garage on 2nd and the Acropolis on 3rd and Copper, you've got over 2,000 spaces and each within two blocks of the arena. Add in the street parking in the vicinity and the lot on the east side of the tracks, we're probably near 4,000 spaces. 4,000 cars with 4 people per car gives you a full arena, 16,000 people. Take some of those people and put them on trains and busses or even, (hold your breath for this one), walking and biking, and you can see that there is hardly a need for a whole lot of parking.

"But what about the congestion?" Seeing as downtown already handles 25,000 employees daily with ease, events at the center should be a walk in the park. Don't get me wrong, it's like as "convenient" as walking two acres of parking spaces like at your local Wal-Mart, but it's still hardly an issue.

Regarding the arenas exterior design, I've found my favorite rendering; this one for a new arena in Seattle as they scratch and claw to keep their Sonics.

On the interior, I'm fairly sure we'll see the U-shape configuration that allows for future expansion without a need for extra land. As you can see in the photo of Omaha's Quest Center, one end of the arena has only a lower bowl seating area.

I've got my fingers crossed that we'll see some renderings come out of Garfield Traub in the near future. I don't have solid information regarding the architect involved with the selected team but I'm assuming HOK is involved. I've also heard rumors that Bart Prince might be involved as well. I'll always take Tony Predock, too.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer 2007

Alright. I know. I went far too long without a post. I'm sorry. But in my defense, I've been traveling about a bit, applying for jobs and changing place of residence. Alas, I have pics to share that I'll use to make my not-so-creative post.

So, while we get to observe three residential projects being erected simultaneously (BelVedere, Anasazi and Silver Lofts), we got a peak into what the future may hold with the Blue Dot's rendering of Packard Place. We can only hope for this project's success so one day we may have views similar to this:

OK, maybe that's a bit extreme but the density and modern architecture would be a terrific addition.

Behind closed doors, deals are being ironed out to give us a project that will potentially prove to be a boon to downtown development and popularity...

Hopefully the architecture we (might) get is more inspired, but even this project is encouraging residential and office development in a historically depressed area.

So combine an already healthy residential construction market to the opportunity to capitalize on nearly 1 million annual visitors to the area via arena events. Then throw in an already positive press about declining vacancies...

...and we will likely see new plans for more of these:

And while developers and investors flock to our bustling city to design our latest skyline-changing architectural gems that scrape the clouds, we'll hope the developers and planners work together to leave public space for which we will pay artists vast sums of money to give us giant, shiny legumes such as this one:

In the meantime, we get to gaze upon this brilliantly simple project...

...while we await official renderings and press releases regarding our favorite gossip piece:
Thank you, "Roswell", for granting me permission to use your rendering :)