Friday, June 6, 2008

New Infill In Historic: Save the Facades!!

Why is it that in other Historic cities in other Historic Districs developers are not required to keep the historic facades of buildings and build new construction behind it? The technology has been around for years and in many cities a developer wouldn't think of not developing without saving the facades.

For those not familiar with the concept. Often the interior of a building, either by condition or just the type of building that needs to be built on the site the interior configuration of a building wont work. Often underground parking is needed. Essentially the street facade of the building is maintained and new construction is placed behind it. This is routinely done across the United States. Indianapolis, for example, saved several historic facades as part of the circle city mall project along Washington Street and Illinois. It is routine in just about any city with historic architecture to "require" a developer to save the street facade of buildings. There are advantages to this as well. Details on historic buildings are almost impossible to duplicate. The new structure blends seemlessly with the neighboring buildings and if taller buildings are desired part of the taller construction is "stepped back" allowing for rooftop balconies. A very desirable feature in Urban mixed use residential development.
So why not Cincinnati, why not "raise the bar, raise the expectation", and require developers to save the history?

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