Thursday, July 30, 2009

Historic Preservation, Infill Construction and Architectural context

No that is not the Titanic bearing down on the elegantly restored angled Italianate corner building. It is however and example of how architecture, no matter how 'current or trendy' looks like crap when placed in the wrong context.

This new construction on this historic block in Indianapolis, is a luxury condominium project. It is also the cities first major "green roof" and its a shame that its also viewed by many as the "eyesore on Mass Ave'. The building totally overwhelms the circa 1880's historic architecture around it. Not surprisingly in this market, its almost totally empty! 23 units on the MLS right now with a 1800 sq ft "starter" unit at 499K up to a 4100 square ft unit at 1.6 million. Most experts agree that Indianapolis has between 1 1/2 to 2 years of unsold condo inventory and prices on many existing units sold in 2003-2005 have taken a major price hit of 30-40 percent due to foreclosed units sitting for sale at bargain prices in the same buildings. There is a 70 month supply of million dollar condos downtown.

The developer originally wanted to build an even bigger building but howls of protests from just about every preservationist in town resulted in the 'scaled back' project which still casts huge shadows over every building around it.

The reason I mention this is that I hope developers in a rush to "turn around OTR", do not make the same mistakes as developers in Indy. We need to really look at projects and we need to look at them in architectural context. It is interesting to note the most popular, and stable, condo buildings are not new construction but rather warehouse conversions and small townhouse projects, even they have taken a price hit because of overbuilding, On the other hand single family restored homes , sell at a premium. I think Cincinnati could learn from that, at least I hope they do. We need more restoration , less new construction. Restoring what we have will serve our interest, more so than building some 'neo structure'.

1 comment:

Bygningsentreprise said...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think that this preserve and historic building in Indianapolis is a beautiful building and an example that even the width of the lot area is not even you can build a building that really amazing.