Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Condo will exceed height of Tower Building

Planning Commissioners Bennie Sowers and Bob Siljestrom voiced concerns about having the proposed 16-story Water Street Place building stand about nine feet taller than the 15-story Tower Building.

Sowers was the lone no-vote against the more than $50 million project to create a residential, retail and dining hub where the Gail Borden Library once stood. The city council awarded the design of the project to Ryan Companies and RSC Associates last spring...

As for the argument about keeping the building shorter than the Tower Building, Elgin Mayor Ed Schock said it’s not a good enough argument to hold the project back.

“There is nothing magic about the height of the tower,” he said. (source: Elgin Daily Herald 8/8/06)

I have to agree with the mayor in this case, because the new building will be a distance from the Tower Building. If it were next to it and exceeded its height then I think that would be a problem.

That doesn't mean I'm enthusiastic about tearing down the old GBL and eviscerating the Civic Center, an International Style gem of the suburbs, an AIA award winner, and Elgin's major accomplishment of the 1960's.

The rule of thumb in urban renewal and development is to build on the worst land not the best. Yet it appears we may be doing exactly the opposite.


Blogger EFT Studios said...

I agree with the last comment here. We may be building on the best land not developing the worst. Squeezing that monstrosity onto that postage stamp size lot...that should remain visually open...not blocked by more condos...just shows how far Elgin is going in the wrong direction to try and increase revenue. I don't care too much about the height...but why is the city trying to erase the working class element and replace it with a hoity toity attitude????

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see this development get underway! Elgin needs more upscale downtown living to bring in more "hoity toity people" as the previous post says. I live downtown and can honestly say we need more townhome/condo developments downtown to bring in people with a slightly higher income. We have numerous poor people walking around the streets downtown which doesn't help the image of the city (which is another problem on it's own). More townhome developments will bring more restaurants, bars and shops to downtown Elgin which will help get the city on track to the ultimate goal of being a "24 hour city". Bring on the townhomes!

7:44 AM  
Blogger The Elginite said...

Thank you both for your comments. I think new residential development in the downtown is a good idea, but it should be built on land that is genuinely blighted. I think tearing down landmarks like the Crocker Theater or the Civic Center deprives the city of its identity. If the pattern continues Elgin will become just another anonymous place with condos being the only landmarks we have.

3:47 PM  

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