Friday, March 4, 2011

Seattle: The Stranger Finds the Loophole, But Proposes the Wrong Way of Closing It

Today on The Stranger’s blog SLOG, Dominic Holden proposed a course of action to resolve something that’s been afflicting Seattle in the past decade.  There, developers and real estate investors will buy old buildings downtown prior to those buildings being listed as historic.  The developer or investor at that point will order some changes to the building – usually to the building’s historic facade.  After these changes, the building will have no chance of being listed as historic, and the developer or investor can then build a skyscraper full of condos for the affluent urbanite.  Holden is ready to throw down the gauntlet and say, “Enough!”
My love for The Stranger, Seattle’s Only Newspaper(tm), is well known to the one or two people who actually read this blog regularly.  The reason I like The Stranger so much is that not only do they aggressively cover events, but they also advocate for their own opinion.  More people should be out there advocating for their opinions.  But, sometimes The Stranger is wrong.  This is one of those times.
I can’t fault Holden.  What developers have been doing is a pretty lousy trick to pull on people who want to see history preserved.  Which makes this case – this particular instance – seem absolutely absurd to use as a gauntlet case.  Let’s get into the details of the case:

Seattle skyscrapers, by TGIGreeny

some architecture:

The Human Benefits of Green Building

A Very San Franciscan Transit Center

Resilience meets architecture and urban planning

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