Posted by Kevin Kastner in Historical Posts
on Aug 21st, 2007
Back in June I posted about the Chatham Center project. The developer of the Project, Larry Jones has been gracious enough to share updated renderings and information with me for posting on this site. Here’s the main excerpt from the e-mail:
He included 3 pdf files with the e-mail. Click on the pictures for a larger image:
A friend sent me the link to your blog and your article on the Chatham Center. I’ve added it to my list of sites I check on a regular basis. Good information is just as important as developable land, financing and a functioning government when it comes to redeveloping urban areas. It is unfortunate that the “functioning government” is the loose nut in the package. Keep up the good work on the info part on the equation.
I’ve owned a dozen different properties in Chatham Arch over the last 24 years (which just makes me old). I am also a former resident who no longer lives downtown but I still own several of these downtown properties. In 2000 I purchased the former VAMACO Building (919 N East) and the former Riley Nursing Home (901 N East).
My primary goal was to move out of the smaller 2 & 3 unit residential rental apartments and into larger commercial properties. The VAMACO Building was remodeled and the brick facade was added to create the new BABECA Bldg. The Nursing home was cleaned up and renamed the Chatham Center. A variance was obtained to allow for the property to be leased as a series of small offices for artist and business use.
The next project is to renovate the Chatham Center into a mixed-use project.
A very long story made very short is that your summary of the issues is pretty much on target. The Historic Districts as they become more developed / gentrified / desirable also become more conservative. A lot of the comments I receive against the project reflect the suburban upbringing of the newer residents. “Commercial uses are bad, they attract people & traffic, which must be bad for property values”. As you are aware a study of the facts shows this assumption to be incorrect but often the newer residents have no idea what the difference between a “suburban” and “urban” environment is. The discussion of the issues often falls on many a deaf ear.
I’ve attached the Elevations, Floor Plans and Renderings of what I hope will be approved at the Sept 5th IHPC Hearing. We have had multiple meetings with the CANA Neighborhood Members and did a directed mailing to the 60 neighbors who are in the line of sight of the project. The discussions and suggestions at all levels have actually made for a better project.