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October 23, 2007


Terrence Berres

"I'm not talking about literally using multiple sides of a commercial building as a facade."

When you're criticizing, you use "facing the neighborhood" literally. When you're praising, you use it to mean the sides of the building facing the street(s).

John Michlig

I apologize for not making myself more clear.

What I meant is that "back in the day," the neighborhood close to or surrounding a commercial building (like a grocery store) had ready access to the store. They could easily walk there, and there were provisions for public space. The front facade - - facing the street - - was all they needed to get the job done; it didn't have to literally face the neighborhood because access to it was not at all prohibitive.

Today we have a quite different situation in terms of busy collector streets (Rawson & 51st, for example), so innovative builders and planners have to make better use of the side of their building that faces the neighborhood in order to truly serve the people who live within eyesight and earshot of the store. To that end, more and more creative builders have done just that (as illustrated in the pictures I posted).

Early interaction with the neighborhood by the contractor/planner makes the residents aware of the advantages in making the store integral to the neighborhood and creates important support for the strategy.

What makes the Sendik's situation so sad is the fact that misunderstandings on both sides (there was no early interaction with the neighbors) have led to the "great wall of Sendik's" being erected - - access to Sendik's is virtually CUT OFF - - and another potential community asset and possible public space is quashed.

Why such disdain toward the idea of higher expectations for commercial developments in terms of creating positive public spaces and community assets? What's the advantage of "business as usual"?

Greg  Kowalski

I don't think there is disdain towards any higher expectations.

However, you seem to be solely blaming the developer(s) for this situation, without even addressing that the neighborhood behind it is fully opposed to any such idea of "integration."

They don't want sidewalks linking their homes to any part of the Fountains. They demanded some kind of fence, berm, tree-line, etc. They also asked for removal of parking spaces on the side of Sendik's because the headlights might shine in through their windows. Just imagine if the building was reversed and the full parking lot was in their view - all of the 200+ parking spaces with all the headlights.

It's a two-way street when it comes to this issue - the developer(s) and the homeowners. In the end, it looks like they both got what they wanted.

But hey, that's just my two cents.


Greg, I get the distinct feeling that you are more of a "skimmer" than a reader.

To wit:

I wrote: "Early interaction with the neighborhood by the contractor/planner makes the residents aware of the advantages in making the store integral to the neighborhood and creates important support for the strategy."

The developer dropped a fully-realized plan on the neighbors, far too late for any substantive changes or improvements. The neighbors had little choice but to react as most modern suburb dwellers do - - NOT IN MY BACKYARD.

Greg  Kowalski

So you're suggesting that the developer(s) organize a meeting with the neighboring subdivision and say,

"Well this is what we want to build. How would you like it?"

Hmm, nice concept. Hopefully the neighbors wouldn't say NOT IN MY BACKYARD at the meeting - that would ruin the conversation.


Greg, you've become nonsensical and vaguely sarcastic.

Greg  Kowalski

If you say so, John.

I'm simply disagreeing with your opinion. That's all.

And I wasn't being sarcastic.

Terrence Berres

In another posts comments, you say, "'As far as showing "evidence of a bygone era of such things being common,' aren't we more concerned with the fact that this can be accomplished even in TODAY'S strictly zoned environment?" Yet in this post you're illustrating your point with an antique postcard. As for the Middleton Heights photo, if it can illustrate your larger point, it doesn't from what's shown. The main entrance might be on another street, but what's pictured is still a street-side facade.

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