David McNair

History lessons: Mall buildings preserved, but who to thank?

In Architecture, Development on November 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm
In 2006, A2RCI Architect Greg Brezinski's presented this rendering of the proposed First & Main project, as seen from the Mall

In 2006, A2RCI Architect Greg Brezinski’s presented this rendering of the proposed First & Main project, as seen from the Mall

For years, the facades of 101-111 East Main Street looked decrepit, but property owner and developer Keith Woodard has finally rehabilitated them and added 11 new apartments, as recently reported by the Newsplex. But then this comment by Woodard stuck out:

“About 10 or 15 years ago another developer purchased the building and proposed to demolish it and put up something else,” Woodard said. “We purchased the building in 2003 and saw an opportunity to preserve what was here.”

Hmm…not exactly, not the way we remember it. Now we get to see the benefit of the news archives of the Hook, particularly a cover story I did in 2006 called #9 dreams: Invasion of the Super towers, that reported on Woodard’s plans to demolish the old buildings and put up a 9-story tower and an underground parking lot, a plan the city planners and city council nixed, in large part, because they felt it was too dramatic a transformation.

Read:

“At a work session Friday, May 23 for the First & Main project, developer Keith Woodard and architect Greg Brezinski had a chance to present their nine-story project to members of the Board of Architectural Review, the Planning Commission, and the public.

Taking advantage of the City’s revised zoning ordinance, passed in 2003 to encourage denser development, Woodard and Brezinski proposed a behemoth mixed-use building that will suck up nearly all the air space the ordinance allows. (Note to City: be careful what you wish for!)

The two want to demolish everything but the facades of the buildings that Woodard currently owns between 100 and 111 East Main on the Downtown Mall and erect a nine-story retail, office, and residential structure extending to Market Street over the existing parking lot.”

Continue reading…

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