I think it’s not that obtrusive. Church Hill makes another mountain out of a molehill and misses an opportunity.
That’s nowhere near as high as I expected it to look. I still think its going to be a monumental flop at the price points they are looking for, don’t love the way the developer has interacted with the community and think its setting a horrible precedent. But truthfully, it could be much worse looking.
I completely agree! Plus, it seems to me this building doesn’t obstruct the view of the bend in the river since it’s located so much further to the west.
This molehill does not belong where this developer (former convicted felon for bribing city officials Louis Salomonsky) wants to put it.
The piece of property in question is a patchwork of four parcels of land, two of which were a give away by Virginia Housing Development Authority, These two parcels have the Rocketts view apartments which was formerly a furniture manufacturer. The usual tax credits and tax assesments were put in motion on this development which added up to $millions. This was shortly before Mr. Salomonsky was caught in his bribery scam and while he was serving in various City of Richmond positions which afforded him inside information. The other two parcels were purchased by Salomonsky and his partner, Mr. White. In December of 2011, a “boundary line adjustment ” was done dividing the four parcels into two parcels which is the proposed home of this “luxury high rise condo”
The parcel of land is too small for any kind of appropriate development. The only way to make money is to go vertical and that is exactly what Sal and his Pal want to do. The so called proposal means nothing!!!. Once approved, the developer requests changes such as ‘ I need to add five more floors, or six’
Sal and Pal are the developers of the construction site at 18th and Cary St. When making their proposal to the city, they got tax abatements and exemptions for “a pump house” After construction began, it was ‘realized that the pump house needed to be moved’! So three sides of this pump house were torn down , moved 262 feet, and built into the foundation thus affording these multi millionairs a tax free apartment complex for the next 10 years. That is $2.44 million dollars a year for ten years.
This Pear Street development should be opposed !!
Just what opportunity Is being missed by Church Hill?? I will pay for your corrective eye glasses which you clearly need.
I think it sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s just too tall. Lower it by about 6 stories and then it would blend in better.
Everyone should come to Libby Hill Park and walk around. The view will be obstructed from almost anywhere – the Park House, the Memorial, the outer and lower pathways; sit in a park bench and look at the view. Unless you look directly at the bend in the river, you will see this proposed monolith. Funny, isn’t it, that the architect and Mr White only tell you to look at the bend and say nothing about the rest of the Park.
They are also big on pointing out that trees will obstruct the view of this thing. Indeed, that again is like saying just look at the bend. There are many views that are never blocked by trees.
So, walk around, snap pictures, show them to your friends and support the effort to maintain this part of the river front.
Think about it, 30 families blocking the view of residents, other Richmonders and Virginians, and the tourists that come to marvel.
@5 – those top six floors are how they plan to make the profit 🙂
If they don’t block the public/ existing views that nearby apartments have of the skyline, they can’t charge a premium for city and river view penthouses.
The “opportunity” is to get this investor as a willing partner to the greater view preservation effort. This guy wants to preserve the views of his buyers, so most interests allign.
I am not a member of the CHA. How can I voice my opposition? What is the most effective channel?
“How can I voice my opposition? What is the most effective channel?”
Most effective? I’d say a hunger strike on the street in front of the proposed condos would probably do the job.
If you’re looking for a more feasible, yet still effective option, calls and letters to local representatives are probably as good as it gets. I’m not sure how much weight CHA’s opinion will get here either.
The more our officials hear from us about how this sucks, the better the chances they feel the need to step in. You’re likely up against some well-connected / big donors though so the bar will be high.
Richmond pols love folks with money to donate to their slush funds. Unless you can potentially mobilize enough people to represent a threat to their reelection they generally don’t care but we got to start somewhere.
John – any chance you’d open to putting polls on the site on proposed developments like this? I know there’s a lot of lurkers on the site that don’t post and think it would be useful for two reasons to have a poll:
a. give a better idea of the community consensus outside of those loudmouths like myself who want to weigh in on everything.
b. in cases where there’s a pretty heavy opposition, it would provide a datapoint to show our officials how many people they are pissing off (assuming said polls have a vote counter on them).
There’s a number of easy to set up online poll tools available that make this pretty easy to do.
I kind of like Alex’s idea of a poll but I think it should block any attempt by the same IP address to vote more than once.
And I agree with Jean on her points.
I tried to raise questions about the way the city approved the store going into LAVA LOFTS and people shouted me down. But the real issue is whether or not the city is functioning at a truly above board level or are they giving approval to large political donors and denying others. That same issue holds true here. Would this building get built by someone on the outside who didnt know who to donate to at city hall?
Chimbo #13, the answer obviously is no, it would not get bult. The issues Jean pointed out were in a recent issue of Style weekly. It is clear that these players/developers are part of the existing political landscape in our town. We can try to fight it, but another point might be that if it goes all the way to city council, that would mean getting our 7th district council person to vote against it, and in the past she has voted with developers, not against.
If you try to follow the money … the money to be followed in this case would extend from Sen. Marsh to the seventh council seat that he has kept filled with his choice since he vacated it many years ago. And I’m fairly certain that the money he gets comes in part from a whole bunch of developers most likely including these current ones on this project.
Alex, great idea about the poll!!
As for the CHA’s opinions having any weight, I think civic associations and individual activism carry an enormous amount of weight. You only have to look at the cobblestones in Schocko Slip or on Monument Ave, to see what activism can accomplish, “Urban Renewal” was the hot thing in the 1960’s. The area of Williamsburg Rd. where all the modern houses and apartments are used to have the same Architecural ambiance as Church Hill around Libby Hill Park , Grace St. and Broad. These areas were headed for the bull dozer as well before some crazy ‘old’ people said no, got organized and got to work saving these houses. Some people thought they were nuts. All I can say is thank you for the crazy nuts that can see past self enrichment, peeling paint, rotted wood and filth.
If anyone thinks these developers or this high rise will “preserve” the view, I would advise you to stay out of the way of those bulldozers in the future!!
@15 – sorry if I oversimplified. There’s a lot that CHA has a say in. I was simply saying that when it comes to stopping developers with connections at City Hall, I think they may be outmatched. In Richmond developers trump all from what I’ve seen (as long as they are deep pocketed enough).
#9 Write to City Council and not just District 7:as we are all affected by the arrogance of the 30.
Just as the idea of the highrises down by the cement depot was a bad one, this one absolutely stinks. The design and height of the building don’t flow with the surrounding architecture and obviously mar an incredible view from Libby Hill. I don’t mind the Rocketts View apartments or Tobacco row because they stay low and are part of the historical viewshed. This proposed bulding looks like someone dropped it straight out of a bad scifi movie. Look at it in the pictures on the flyer; lurking back there like some creepy entity waiting to swallow up passersbys. It’s hideous.
I’m also going to write to Ms. Newbille, for what it’s worth. In case anybody needs her info and doesn’t want to look for it:
7th District Richmond City Council Member
@#1 & 3 and Alex, (who sometimes I think makes sense and sometimes I think is batshit crazy) Here’s an idea: why not put the new stadium at the location where this building is proposed? That way we could all watch fireworks from Libby Hill every week ;-(
@#9 Tiny, ever read the Monkey Wrench Gang?
@19 – it’s likely the times you find me “batshit crazy” are when I’m being tongue in cheek or having fun poking the bears. Or maybe those are the times you agree and you disagree with my straight posts?
Either way, I think the stadium is way too big for the site (as is the condo proposal for that matter), though Mayo Island would make a nice site if we’re going to talk non-Boulevard, non-Bottom options.
I was going to suggest something along the lines of your linked reference too but didn’t want to get blamed if anything like this does happen.
Alex, I have misunderstood your sense of humor in the past but I would not go so far as to think you “batshit crazy”.
There are those who use this site as a forum to mount nasty personal attacks which have nothing to do with reality or what is being discussed, I have learned not to take it personally, especially since those doing it are so out of touch with the concept of factual accuracy. I think it is called cyber bullying. After a time, those people become evident and can just be ignored. You are not one of them!
Have you had a response from John Murden about the poll idea? If not, why not—- John????
I am really bothered by the thought that someone HONESTLY believes that these developers would “be a willing partner to preserving the greater view effort”. Once these condos are sold. they have made their money on this project and could care less about preserving ANYTHING!!! It will be time to move on to the next development…probably next door because they have already set a president with this development.
LOOK at their history! The only thing Sal and Pal are interested in “preserving” and expanding is their bank account.
LOOK at their history! These two specialize in under the table, behind closed door deals that an honest developer would never be allowed to inflict on the citizens of Richmond.
LOOK at their history! Does anyone really think that Sal and Pal only bribed/paid off the one person they got caught for? I know Sal did the prison time, but these two were partners before and are partners now and at NO TIME has their partnership been interrupted.
LOOK at their history with open eyes and how they have conducted themselves on other development projects.
Write letters to everyone in City Government, the Attorney General, the Governer. This is not just a local issue.
I do know that Delores McQuinn ran unopposed for her current position and yet recieved over $10,000 in campaign donations. This is a form of bribery in a way, since she can keep this in her warchest for future campaigns, or even convert it to personal use after she retires by using it to form a political action committee and then having the committe pay her a stipend. This really does happen.
I dont know Delores personally, but I do know that she still pulls strings in our district and pulls the ones that seem to agree with her donors and buddies.
This is inappropriate building and inconsistent with height and design of warehouses and deveopment that is respectful of the river and community.
@20. To put it in perspective, I thought your comments on #7 were sharp witted and funny (as are many of your other comments). Also, your own comparison of yourself to Buddy in another post re: the stadium gave me a chuckle. #21s comment is accurate. You certainly are not actually ‘batsh** crazy’.
I’m kind of with you about the Mayo Island suggestion. The Mayo-Manchester area could also use a boost in urban renewal (if a stadium had to be built, which I’m still not convinced of) and there are better possible connections in that area to 95 with less congestion in the Shockoe area. Also ties in more with a river front theme and extends the Belle and Browns Island ideas as venues for entertainment and outdoor experiences. Also keeps the noise further from residential zones.
Back to this thread, in DC there are laws limiting the height of buildings in part for the reasons which we are discussing.
While downtown RVA has tall buildings, I think legislation limiting how high they can be in regard to Church Hill is important. A terraced approach to the viewshed (this is a link to a view of Georgetown in DC, to illustrate http://www.flickriver.com/photos/flaneur/271991230/), with Church Hill and its parks and their views as the highest point, and nothing tall enough to really impede the views is how it needs to be looked at, both for residents, tourism and the historical perspective of those views. My concern is that once developers get their foot in the door, and as the riverfront develops, they’ll want to put more high rises in front of the river at points like Echo Harbour and the areas between there and Rocketts Landing. There are also substantial areas beyond Rocketts and on the other side of the river in that same stretch that are currently relatively undeveloped. Creating an ‘urban canyon’ in the decades to come, with high rises lining the river would be terrible. Think Virginia Beach, with those monstrosities lined up against the beach…
I prefer the view with the building.
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