yes...Steve Lovett's park drawings are in this week's Business Journal....and while it is a far better idea than the one floated by Ted Pappas, I still think the best use for most of the site is as a new convention facility....as for a park, why not put a green roof on top of the building, yielding acres of passive and/or active rec space too!
A convention center on this site will: 1.) Require major structural upgrades to support it on piles over the river, probably to the tune of $15-20MM, plus expensive ongoing maintenance given the exposure to dynamic river action and the depth of the river along that portion of the northbank (65'+); 2.) Yield a convention center that is on an extremely small site and not adaptable or expandable to meet potential future markets; 3.) Be located immediately adjacent to a jail (I don't think convention attendees and police headquarters/jail are ideal immediate neighbors); and 4.) Create a massive barrier between the Bay Street public edge and the river, permanently sacrificing an opportunity to connect the Bay Street redevelopment area from the waterfront.
1. A $20million cost for shoring up the pilings is a drop ion the bucket when it comes to the long-term viability of our downtown
2. It is not that small of a site...it can easily accomodate a 200,000 square foot exhibit hall (not including what could fit on the annex)
3. Condos aren't ideal next to a jail either...but guess what, they got built...as did a 950+ room hotel 2 blocks away....fact is, putting the convention center right nexty to the Hyatt is ideal...and if it needed to be expanded in the future, the police buidling and jail would be optimal locations...and then you just build a diagonal connecting bridge (like orlando just did).
4. Bay Street is mainly an entertainment district....so having conventioneers in town spending money at restaurants and bars will be fine...as for connecting to the river, that can be done as part of streetscape enhancements to Market and/or Liberty Streets
$20mm is taxpayer money that should be invested carefully. It will require constant maintenance in such a dynamic river environment, and eventual replacement - at a much higher figure sometime in the future. Once you spend it today you aren't done.
Maybe you can fit 200k sf on the site. What have you done to the quality of the environment a block or two from the river with a high-capacity multi-story facility that caters to guests/tourists rather than the residents? I suggest that a convention center on the river creates a massive wall that diminishes the value and potential redevelopment of the Bay Street corridor and the blocks to the north.
The condos and hotel are struggling in their current locations - and one half-bombed out Berkman Tower sits unfinished. An inviting waterfront park/square is a strong connection between a potential convention center and host hotel.
Bay Street may be thought of as an entertainment district now, but it can be much more, with the blocks north an organically grown, highly dynamic mixed use district that supports residential, restaurants, more hotels, bars, office, and whatever else. An "entertainment center" is a contrived model that rarely works. Convention guests and visitors want places that have integrity to the city's they are visiting - they want to see where "real life" in a city happens. Savannah, Charleston, Portland, San Antonio, Seattle, and Greenville are good examples of this.