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Cleveland: Bob Stark Warehouse District Project

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Also, KJP, great work on this series!  I haven't weighed in yet because I've been out of town and recently bogged down in catching up at work (and on Urban Ohio).  This is by far the most exciting thread in some time and that's because it has the potential to be the most exciting development in Cleveland in recent history...and I'm just talking about phase 1!  The rest of Pesht is going to take decades to see through and who knows what will happen over those years to alter it or make it more real or unreal.  We've seen great plans come and go in this town and I'm happy to see this one finally seeing the light of day!

 

I look forward to hearing more about how this project will become reality!

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How old is Stark?

 

The same thing occurred to me...Bert had his son Scott to take over the vision...who does Bob Stark have?  It would be a shame if a vision like this wasn't carried if its founder doesn't get to see it through. 

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Stark is 54 years old. That is noted in the first sentence of the last article, so I see where you're going with that! The article follows on that point.

 

He looks older than 54, but also looks better than many I've seen who who have just been treated for cancer. He is taking care of himself, sees the doctor four times a year and has the financial wherewithal to afford the best medical care.

 

Stark has four children, three boys and one girl, all born in the 1980s. I don't know if they're in "the business" or even interested in it.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Stark has four children, three boys and one girl, all born in the 1980s. I don't know if they're in "the business" or even interested in it.

 

Well, I happen to know of a few forumers working on their MUPDD degrees who might be interested in an apprenticeship!  ;)

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I am new to this board, I am usually on the forum section of Cleveland.com  I have to say I am excited to see, read about all of the potential projects that might finally propell Cleveland onto the scene as a great place to live or visit.  I am all for making downtown a livable place, and finally making our downtown...actually look like an actual big city downtown.  One thing I am a HUGELY in favor of (I have postings on downtown living and lakefront project on Cleveland.com forum) is a great public transportation system...and to narrow that down...light rail and trolley systems for downtown. the neighborhoods, and beyond to the burbs.  With talks of an influx of downtown residents and the Ohio commuter rail hub (which would be in Cleveland), have the planners of these projects been influential about improving public transportation?  I hope to have a watered down version of my thoughts printed in the PD editorial section soon, but I feel this is a very important component to make urban living work.  Many cities are updating and expanding their commuter rail lines, but for some reason not here.  You should see the things that Charlotte NC is doing with it's public transportation, and the funny thing is, the man in charge WAS in charge here in Cleveland.  Why is Cleveland RTA so anti rail/subway/Trolley?  In my opinion, these are things looked at by people relocating...not only residents, but businesses as well.  Rail mass transit is cleaner, eases traffic and parking burdens, faster, and most of all reliable compared to the typical buses we rely on here in Cleveland.  It would be nice to see a nice system in place through downtown, the more populated areas of the city, and eventually to outlying areas...a similar system to CTA in Chicago.  I have had a good response from Cleveland.com, it would be interesting to hear viewpoints on this site as well.

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JDD941,

 

Welcome to UrbanOhio! Leave cleveland.com behind!  There are som pretty knowledgeable people on this forum.  I think that you'll find many like-minded folks who have already expressed many of your transit ideas. 

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I just took a walk down to the site and realized that Pesht will have to be built on quite a slope if it is to be built like the plans show.  I think it would be really cool to see all the mixed use buildings stepping up a hill from the waterfront.  Kind of Seattle or San Francisco-y, but not quite as steep.

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JDD941, welcome to urbanohio.com!

 

I don't want to knock cleveland.com's forums because they do occasionally offer great advice (the food forum is hands down, one of the best resources in the city). The problem with their forums is that they aren't moderated by local people who are involved, so good threads often get hijacked by trolls. Here at urbanohio.com, we actively moderate the forums to ensure that things don't get out of hand and we ban repeat offenders if need be.

 

Also, the forums at cleveland.com don't allow you to directly post photos and that makes all the difference in the world.

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I just took a walk down to the site and realized that Pesht will have to be built on quite a slope if it is to be built like the plans show.  I think it would be really cool to see all the mixed use buildings stepping up a hill from the waterfront.  Kind of Seattle or San Francisco-y, but not quite as steep.

 

Yeah, the big step is between the land where the tracks are and then up to where the Shoreway is.  Over a span of about 200 yards the elevation rises about 60 feet in some places.

 

I may have screwed this up but here might be a series of cross section of the extended W. 3rd, 6th, and 9th streets, from the shore to St. Clair Avenue, with help from the USGS.

 

pesht_crosssections.jpg

 

I never found out the specifics on the conversion of the Shoreway to boulevard.  That's clearly a key component of this project according to the plan.  I'm trying to recall where the bridge portion of this stretch of high-speed roadway begins - essentially how does the Main Avenue Bridge come into effect in all this?  If I remember right the roadway is elevated pretty much starting at W. 3rd.  If the boulevard is to come down to street level, will it be an issue to raise it up again as it approaches the span of the river?

 

(edit)  I took a look at the Planning Commission's sketches they have online - the shoreway boulevard simply no longer is directly connected to the bridge.  It appears the bridge was planned to only provide access to and from Lakeside Ave. on the east side.  The plan shows the shoreway boulevard petering out at W. 3rd, where it becomes a "bluff promenade."  Lakeside then continues to ramp up to the bridge west of W. 6th street.  The map on pg 4 here implies that the boulevard itself will access the bridge.

 

Extending the grid over those tracks seems like...a really big deal.

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The Shoreway bridge begins midway between West 3rd and East 9th streets. The portion that would be torn down would be from there west to just east of West 9th Street -- though the Stark diagram shows the Shoreway intersecting with West 9th. I don't think that's physically possible owing to what the Shoreway gradient would have to be to come down off that bridge, it would require a major change of the main span of the bridge and it would block the old Main Avenue into the Flats.

 

But I think that if the Shoreway descended to intersect with West 6th, that would be fine. And, it's possible from a gradient issue since ramps already descend from the bridge to West 6th.

 

As for the grid over the tracks, you don't need to add fill dirt or anything like that to provide the slope. All that's probably needed are streets to bridge the tracks, with fill dirt under the streets only. Buildings can be built between the streets and extend below street level, where parking, retail, exercise rooms, utilities etc. can be offered.

 

The greatest descent from the old shoreline down to track level is between West 9th and West 3rd, where a large parking lot is located. This was the site of a railroad station (Union Station from 1864 to 1930, Pennsylvania RR Station from 1930-1964). This is the site which the port authority wants to build the parking deck for Cleveland Browns Stadium (relocating surface parking from north and west of the stadium), and offer a truck-staging area for the ferry (relocating from a proposed temporary location, also just west of the stadium). Atop this parking deck would be buildings and an extension of West 6th Street.

 

Filling in the gap directly above the lakefront tracks is a big issue, but if all the areas are filled with structures right up to the tracks on either side, then constructing a landscaped "platform" above the tracks becomes less of an complication. The "platform" would be long, but narrow, about 100 feet wide east of West 9th and only 50 feet wide west of West 9th.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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This project is really exciting...thanks for all of the info!

 

so i got dibs on those numbered tabs that hang across the current parking lot ocean around there. they are going to hang in my upcoming new lounge on west 3rd. it will be called "the parking lot" and the catchprases will be, "come on in and park it" and "no parking on the dancefloor" and "be good or get your asphalt outta here." lol -- how nice would it be to finally have that embarrassing black tar sea parted !!!

 

LOL, that's a great idea.  There is a club in Montreal called 'Parking' that is built inside of an old parking garage.  They kept the neon sign out front that said 'Parking' and pretty much walled it in and added a DJ booth....the structure still looks like a parking deck.

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matches thx so much for the elevation graphs. thats exactly what i was wondering about. a good reminder its nothing that cannot be worked both with and around.

 

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i was thinking that too about the elevation factor.  i think it could make for a very dramatic and interesting setup much like the few streets that go from the WHD to the river right now.  theres definately a SF or Seattle feel to them

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matches thx so much for the elevation graphs. thats exactly what i was wondering about. a good reminder its nothing that cannot be worked both with and around.

 

You're welcome, although the more I think about it the more I think I botched it.  The output graph by the USGS does not seem to account for length of segment - the axes are not on the same scale and therefore the cross-section is distorted; the result is likely a more pronounced grade in the graph than reality.  This should be more accurate, cross section at W. 6th, with distance from point 1 to point 2 is approximately 1360 feet.

 

pesht_w6_crosssection.jpg

 

 

 

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That could also be eased by the designed slope of the parking deck's "roof" on which West 6th would be extended northward. They could even start sloping West 6th just north of the shoreway/boulevard by cutting into the escarpment.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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audidave:

 

You mentioned that you wouldn't see any buildings butting up to the Navy Pier...well I would hope so as the highway (shoreway) pretty much stops residential buildings from making it that far east.  However, to see an indication of how in demand multi-story buildings near the lake are in Chicago all you have to do is drive east (of Michigan) on Wacker and North Water Street to see all the buildings that have been built in the last few years.  Take a look at the Google Earth picture of it and then go visit...you'll see at least five new buildings since that picture was taken...not to mention a very nice park south of Wacker (south of the Swissotel).

 

The other point you make is about the weather...of course, this is my personal opinion, but I have always thought that the Clevelander's gripe about the weather is just plain ol' dumb.  If you look at Chicago and Toronto (probably our closest weather equivalents) they just don't care that the weather is cold.  An example of that is that pretty much all their new residential  buildings include balconies on every unit.  Cleveland needs to embrace this attitude and we would all be much better off for it.

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I agree with the weather thing, regarcia. Especially since there has been snow accumulation only once in Parma since Dec. 22nd. You don't know what you got til it's gone. I finally realized how much i actually love winter. I'm pretty sure my body is going through withdrawl right now.

  As for Stark's plan; it really is genius, as someone in your first article, KJP, had said. But it's also plain common sense, and therefore a bit embarrassing that it took until 2006 for someone to be taken seriously enough about extending the existing streetgrid just a few blocks to the north. One thing I do notice is that the proposed site for the Cavs' practice facility is included in Stark's concept map. I think it's safe to assume that the project is going to Independence.

  Also, as an aside, I think you, KJP, should get Tom Breckenridge's(PD) job dude. He essentially reports on the same development-related issues that your series is covering, and I must say he absolutely sucks at it. Or maybe just hasn't any interest in what he's covering. He did the spread in Sunday's PD covering all the "megaprojects" and overall he just doesn't cover it effectively.

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Sunday's PD hinted at "continued negotiations" between Independence officials and Cavs. The Cleveland Clinic has hinted they want their new Sports Medicine center near the Cavs facility. The Director has stated it should be open by the end of '06. If it's gonna be some crappy suburban building, less than 12 months sounds right for a timetable. Plus Quicken Loans plans their call center to be open sometime this year as well. Once again, how would it be possible to build the practice center/callcenter in less than 12 months when the City still owns the lots and no announcement has been made. Cheap, virgin suburban land is probably how.

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One thing I do notice is that the proposed site for the Cavs' practice facility is included in Stark's concept map. I think it's safe to assume that the project is going to Independence.

 

HUH???  The cavs practice facility was proposed for the Gateway district not the warehouse district.  What happened????

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Look at the concept map on page 4. A few parcels are "oranged" in the Gateway district. One of them is the two acre parcel right next to the Q. That is where the whole thing was proposed. Keep in mind this was a plan Campbell pitched right before the election. I remember Frank Jackson being pissed because she had not approached council. It was the one project downtown i was most excited about. But i really don't think it's gonna happen, though i hope it will.

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Don't take building locations too seriously in Stark's concept map. Stark said the building locations are conceptual, just to show the spaces that could be filled in. The essential point he was trying to get across was the extension of the street grid.

 

And, where the city of Cleveland owns parking lots, those can be turned over to a developer more quickly than if a private parking interest already has them. The development of those city owned lots can also happen pretty quickly too. One thing Cleveland is doing right these days is streamlining the approvals process. The Cleveland Clinic's new $500 million heart center made it through the city's approvals process in just three months.

 

Thanks for the compliment, unbriacone!


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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The proposal for the lots between Prospect & Huron was dropped on the Planning Commission by Chris Ronayne and Richard Fleischman (architect) as a pre-emptive offer to the City and the Cavs so that the City could endorse the idea and no one could say that we weren't trying.  I believe that it was a sincere effort, but it didn't receive the support from Council that it could have received if it had gone through a more lengthy, communicative planning process.  I don't recall if the Cavs ever said that it was a serious possibility and I haven't heard anything about it since the week it was first proposed.  (there's a thread on here somewhere that covers it)

 

As far as Stark is concerned, when he was first cited in the PD for saying something about developing Downtown, he mentioned that site.  The way it appears now, though, is that Gateway is much too built out at present to hold the type of large scale project that he wants to execute in the WHD and north towards the lake.  I would assume that this part of the "Y" will probably be left to other developers...

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Do you think there's any use in writing letters to Dan Gilbert or Frank Jackson or Lebron (only 1/2 joking) about locating the practice facility downtown?  It seems like there are a lot of 'add-ons' that would make it even more of a loss to the city if it's out in Independence.  Thoughts?

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Count me in.  You draft the letter.  :-)

 

Add to the list of recipients

Ciperman

The new council president

the County Commissioners

Litt at the PD

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I think a lot of the add ons were added on by the city.  The Cavs are probably just looking for a nice and private practice facility.

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Nothing yet. I haven't had the chance to follow up yet. I will do a follow up article in about a month or so, but articles about "side issues" will appear earlier than that.

 

Funny story.... Stark didn't know the series had been running. Apparently he learned of it after meeting with someone I had coffee with this morning. Stark called me to ask if I could send him copies of the series. Um, sure!

 

Thanks for the compliment and thanks for the news tip!


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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“The (downtown) lakefront is probably going to have some very expensive housing on it,” Hauser said. “Who wants to pay that kind of money to look into the sunset and see an island with steel coils, piles of gravel and cranes on it?”

 

Ask the Tremont people that bought condos looking at just that, I think those were fairly pricey. So long as it's not stinky and belching lots of polutatnts, I would like to see that. Its something interesting to watch out on the lake, I personaly don't think looking at a lake with no activity to be worth living next to.

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Also, if we are building a port from scratch, I would imagine that their are ways of doing some visual mitigations that could be planned in from the start.

 

Congratulations on a great series, KJP.  We look forward to your future follow-ups and sidebars.

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Thanks KJP.  I see what you mean by fleshed it out some more.  I really like the ideas that they've come up with.  I remember some discussions on a forum about where the port should go.  It seemed like the PA had a serious hard-on for Whiskey Island.  I figured that the port should stay where its at rather than go there.  The island idea is pretty smart.  Still not a very quick solution but perhaps 10-20 years it could be completed.  That should be enough time to get phase I and II to be completed along with perhaps a phase III.  Overall, a very nice vision for the front door of Cleveland.

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Regarding the aesthetics of the port island, I don't think that will be a big problem, either. While Toronto's port isn't on an island, it's on a large area of new fill extending out into the lake, just east of downtown. I can't say I've ever read any complaints from Torontonians living along the lakefront about cranes and warehouses uglifying (<--new word) their view of the sunrise.

 

Perhaps Burke might be a better site for the port because it might be able to get done more quickly. But I'm with councilman Cimperman. Just as the street grid can be pushed northward to the lakefront between Browns stadium and the river, so might it from Davenport Bluffs north to the Burke's lakefront. What a terrific site for a new neighborhood, once "Pesht" gets rolling.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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KJP, yet again, great work!  I think this was the best part in the series yet, because it really brings in several elements of how this "dreamy" project can actually become a reality.  It's interesting, too, to think about how many years down the line we should be able to see consistent progress.  It's been a while since Cleveland has seen construction cranes working for many years in a row.  I think we're starting to see the beginning of a new growth era here and this is a major part of it.  We'll start with the block by block projects in the Flats, Avenue District and Phase 1 of Stark's plan and then, as things really get cooking, we'll see new neighborhoods growing up on the port's land and Burke's land and who knows what else? 

 

It's crazy for me to think this far down the line...it can't happen soon enough!  It just seems that with engineering innovations like the rubber soil and the fact that we have developers, a port authority and a city that are all on the same page, this is our chance to set it in motion!

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And further comments on the aesthetic question... I really don't think this is a valid argument from Hauser.  Think of Seattle, Boston, San Francisco...no one's complaining about the view in those places!  I think a "working waterfront" can be a very exciting piece of the scenery (as has been mentioned on here before) and that the real issue is where the Port can function most effectively, while at the same time, offering the highest and best use for each piece of property.

 

Any ideas on what we would dub this new neighborhood?  I can't say I'm a big fan of "Pesht."  "Starktown" doesn't work for me either.  "Brownsville" isn't bad.  How about "Portland?"  "The Docks?"  Anyone else?

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London calls their massive new waterfront neighborhood The Docklands, reclaimed from a decaying port area. I like the Docklands name. Let's look back into Cleveland's history to see what names were used on the waterfront (like Water Street, now West 9th) to make it uniquely ours.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Pesht...I don't think folks would get it, there would have to be a huge marketing Tie-In

Brownsville... to Brooklyn, but an apartment/condo complex named that could be cool

Starktown...too corny

Portland...even cornier! lol

The Docks...could be cool.

 

I like the "lower West Side"  :wink: which compliments the avenue district in the "lower east side"

The Marina or Bay

Lakeview

Millenium

Water Street

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Ohh please god not "Millenium" or Millenia or anything in reguard to that...  I don't think lakeview would feel right either despite seeming logical.

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London calls their massive new waterfront neighborhood The Docklands, reclaimed from a decaying port area. I like the Docklands name. Let's look back into Cleveland's history to see what names were used on the waterfront (like Water Street, now West 9th) to make it uniquely ours.

 

The only historic association that piece of land would have is the port.  Before that it was a landfill. 

 

I'm thinking,

The North Coast (probably the most likely name)

The Northside (wouldn't that get Clevelander's attention!)

Stadiaville (Wrigleyville wannabe)

The Quays (we can actually pronounce it kways, to be different)

Mouth-of-Cuyahoga (inspired by Over-the-Rhine)

NoSho (North of Shoreway)

SoLa (South of the Lake)

SoCa (South of Canada)

WeSta (West of the Stadium)

Rock'n'Roll-ville (I think Campbell would have gone for it)

 

 

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wow, there are some really crappy names out there!  Personally, I think all the abbrevs along the lines of SoHo, NoHo, DUMBO, SoLo, NoLita, etc. etc. are getting really f-ing annoying!  (Though, the South of Canada reference was pretty funny)  I think my favorites so far are the Docklands (i like the London reference), the Docks and Northside (much different from Cincy's Northside).  And you know what the Docklands have in London?  Their own light rail line!  It's a bit bigger...but there are some commonalities.

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I am still going with Brownsville (ala Wrigleyville, since there is no gum sponsor for Cleveland Browns Stadium)

 

maybe it will be called what it is the "old port" neighborhood

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How about Harborlight? And, just as there is a New York, a New Jersey, a New Philadelphia, why can't there be a New Pesht? Yeah, it will take a brief explanation to people, just as the word "brownfield" does. But once they know the reason, the word fits perfectly and will never have another meaning. After all, what the hell is a Kleenex? A Xerox? Just some made-up words that have only the meaning given to it by a marketing department. But today words like Kleenex and Xerox often replace the basic words of tissue and photocopy they were intended differentiate.

 

Another name that hasn't been institutionalized in Cleveland, via a placard on a building, bridge or park, is Alfred Kelley. He was the Village of Cleaveland's first attorney, "president" (er, mayor) and later became chairman of a strange new state entity called the Ohio Canals Commission. Since Kelley lived in Cleveland, he argued that the northern terminus of a lake-to-river canal should be at Cleveland. He is the reason why Cleveland grew into a major city. He later backed efforts to make the city a hub of railroad lines. And few people know his name. At least his name should be given to the Canal Park in the Flats, near Settlers Landing.

 

I like using the word "light" in the name of the new area, or as one of the buildings in the new area. Like the area is a beacon on the shore. I wonder what the Seneca or Erie Indian word is for "light"?

 

I found a couple of interesting Chippewa words, plus a French word that may be appropriate:

 

Manistee - This Native American name was first applied to the county's principal river. It means "river at whose mouth there are islands."

 

Newaygo - This was derived from then name of a Chippewa chief who signed the Saginaw Treaty of 1819 or from a Native American word meaning "much water."

 

L'Anse - One of the most common term found on the old French maps of the Great Lakes is "Anse" (often spelled "Ance"), the meaning of which is "cove", or "inlet." As is indicated by Hubbard’s rendition, Americans’ recording of what they heard the voyageurs say often varied from the correct French spelling.

 

Any others?


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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KJP, thank you for these fantastic articles.

I come away with the sense that Stark is truly committed to making this project happen -- at least Phase I. He talks just like a young planning student, which is unusual for someone his age.

As I said before, I can't shake a slight feeling of unease about his not yet having acquired the two parcels in the main WD lot. I know he says he will "partner" with those owners if they won't sell, but I see that as unlikely. The other two options I see are:

1. Build around the parcels. They represent only a small fraction of the total site. Of course, it would affect the overall design of the project, but only marginally.

2. Eminent domain. Despite the moratorium, we can still use the "old-school" eminent domain practice of declaring the properties blighted (as Wolstein has done in the Flats).

 

Anyway, like others I breathlessly await updates! Thanks again!

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hmm i think harborlight sounds really suburban or it also sounds like a name given to government housing to make it sound not so bad.  id say something a bit more direct like "the docks" or "old port" and whatnot sound better

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