Posts tagged with "historic district":

34-story tower coming to L.A.’s historic theater district

American subsidiary of Shanghai Construction Group, SCG America (SCGA) is working to erect a 34-story high-rise along Downtown Los Angeles’s up-and-coming Broadway Theatre District. The project, among the first works of new construction along the stately, urban corridor that's home to L.A.’s mostly-vacant historic theaters and playhouses, will contain 450 condominium units and 7,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. Preliminary renderings for the project, dubbed Broadway@4th by the developer, show a mid-rise, twelve-story podium topped by a 22-story tower that is stepped back from the building’s primary facades. The twelve-story podium features a rounded corner, large, punched openings, vertically-oriented pilasters, and is built up to the property line, with storefronts clad in large expanses of plate glass. The structure is notable because it's among one of the first new structures to be designed and constructed in the so-called “Broadway Design Overlay District,” a special zoning designation applied to the eight-block stretch of Broadway between 2nd Street and Olympic Boulevard. The “Broadway Theater District” as the neighborhood is known, is made up of richly decorated, mixed use, early skyscraper structures from the Adler & Sullivan era. The structures, generally rising no more than ten or twelve stories in height, constitute one of the most intact collections of buildings remaining from Los Angeles’s original downtown fabric. Since the post-World War II era, the neighborhood lived through a prolonged nadir, being used primarily as the city’s jewelry district, with storefronts occupied by the sounds and smells of diamond cutting and gold plating, while office and residential floors above lay mostly unused. In recent years, that has existence has begun to change course as the L.A. downtown’s gentrification builds momentum. In 2013, Millennial-focused clothing and home accessories juggernaut Urban Outfitters renovated and occupied the district’s Rialto Theatre, setting off a sea change in real estate values along the corridor. It was announced earlier this year that Apple would be opening a storefront in the Tower Theatre next door to Urban Outfitters on a street now crowded with highbrow retail destinations. The tower is scheduled to break ground in October of this year and is expected to finish construction by 2020.

A new study from the Historic Districts Council shows that historic districts are not the enemy of affordable housing

Timed to the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law, The New York Landmarks Conservancy, NYU's Furman Center, and Historic Districts Council (HDC) issued independent studies that analyzed the impact of historic preservation on the economy, environment, and housing affordability in New York City. The idea that historic districts drive up housing prices—and drive out poorer residents—is baked into conventional narratives of urban development. This month, the HDC, one of the city's oldest grassroots preservation advocacy organizations, released an analytic report that shows a different side of the story. "The Intersection of Affordable Housing and Historic Districts" uses regression analyses to compare New York City census tracts that overlap with historic districts with census that don't overlap with historic districts. Controlling for borough location and the time a historic district was designated, along with the density of residential units, the study found that, between 1970 and 2010, historic district designation had very little effect on rental prices and the number of rent-burdened families in each district. (There was, however, a correlation in some areas between an increase in average income in some historic districts.) Historic district designation, crucially, didn't prevent the development of government-subsidized housing, nor did designation reduce the number of subsidized units at a rate greater than non-designated areas. A broad survey of the results showed that there may be a negative relationship between rent burden and historic district designation. Significantly, though, a fine-grained regression showed "no statistically significant relationship of rent and income to the concentration (high or low) of residential units in historic district census tracts, or the timing of historic designation." In historic districts, moreover, there was less of a rental housing burden compared to non-historic district census tracts: In historic districts, rental housing burden increased by 8.8 percent, compared to 18.1 percent citywide. In Manhattan and Brooklyn, for the census tracts that didn't overlap with historic districts, the rent burden increase was 9.9 percent (Manhattan) and 20.1 percent (Brooklyn), compared to census tracts that overlap with historic districts (a 4.3 and 10.0 percentage point increase, respectively). The full report can be found here.

Following lawsuit, Clemson University backs down on plans for a new architecture center in Charleston

For the second time in a decade, Clemson University has scrapped plans for a modern architecture center in Charleston’s historic district. Confronted with a lawsuit by neighborhoods and preservation groups, who objected to the addition of the glitzy, $10 million metal-and-glass building on George and Meeting streets, the university is seeking to lease temporary space in downtown Charleston. The approval process for the architecture center has seesawed since 2012, when residents decried the building as aesthetically unfit to rub shoulders with the stately George Street headquarters of Spoleto Festival USA. Arguably, the historic district is already a hodgepodge of stylistic eras—from Georgian to Federal to Greek Revival to Victorian The architecture center's leased location has yet to be determined, but it will house the university’s locally-based architecture and historic preservation programs. Clemson’s Board of Trustees recently approved the plans for a temporary home to “better meet existing needs, anticipate planned growth and ensure that students in Charleston work in labs, studios and workshops that reflect contemporary standards of professional practice, a larger, more functional facility is required,” Clemson said. Currently, the historic preservation master’s degree program, which Clemson administers with the College of Charleston, and the Clemson Architecture Center are spread over three locations. According to the university, the interim leased space will be large enough to accommodate growth from a proposed new master’s degree program and the expansion of the specialized healthcare design track. The initially proposed architecture center (to be named the Spaulding Paolozzi Center) by nationally known architect Brad Cloepfil of Oregon-based Allied Works Architecture garnered some supporters at the 2012 Board of Architectural Review Meeting–including the director of preservation and museums at the Historic Charleston Foundation. But local residents showed the most antipathy during the public comments section of the meeting. Sculptor John Michel, offered perhaps the most outspoken take: “Why in the world do a bunch of Martians want to invade this city and put up a trap that looks like something that Walmart would build?”