It is a sign of a healthy downtown when surface parking lots, even when parking is increasingly scarce, become targets for development. Such is the case for the southwest corner of Sheridan and Dewey Avenues, where the Hunsucker Law Firm is wanting to build. We have two different bodies looking at this proposal next week. The plans will be looked at Thursday morning by the Downtown Design Review Committee and that afternoon by the Board of Adjustment.
The variance being requested involves the design ordinance requirement that new buildings built in the central business district be at least three stories tall.
The following pitch is made by the Hunsucker Law Firm’s building designer:
Looking at Sheridan from Dewey to Fred Jones, there are 15 one story buildings and four two story buildings. There are not any buildings taller than two stories. If you expand the area to include California and Main Street from Dewey to Fred Jones, there are no buildings larger than two stories on California and only one three story building at 816 W Main. There is one three story building at 11 N Lee.
The buildings immediately adjacent to the property are all one story buildings. Although the new elementary school will be three stories, it is predominately situated toward the Walker side of the block and is a modern design so that it will stand out different from the film exchange buildings. As what I consider the first building coming into the film exchange, we are attempting to look similar historically with other buildings and have taken steps to blend in with the other buildings by adding black granite and similar color bricks as our neighbors.
So we’ve got that. And indeed, the city staff report recommends the variance be granted. But what, exactly, is the design of the building? What follows are some renderings that don’t exactly match up with what we usually see submitted to the design committees: