This will not stand
No historic preservation is worth destroying an entire historic block in mass, scale and character. The trade-off is hardly appropriate. The public must bear too great a burden, especially when the developer will not guarantee, in perpetuity, any eatery in the Little Annie’s building, and especially when Little Annie’s was not even considered historic by the Historic Preservation Commission. Might Little Annie’s later become another free-market unit?
Through fuzzy math, staff came up with an employee-housing quota exemption, generated by this enormous development, which now must be borne by the public sector. How is it that the requirement went from 29 employees to only nine? It’s unexplainable math even by staff. The public must now bear the burden of all employees generated, must bear the burden of mountain views destroyed and must bear the burden for no public amenity open space mitigation. The developer wants the top two stories of penthouses with 9,000 square feet on both floors when code only allows 2,500 square feet. This is a blatant violation of the code in every way.
Preservation of the Benton Building and Little Annie’s will hardly be seen or noticed by this overwhelming development 51 feet high in the sky. Yet it passed through the commercial design review and council, violating all its codes and guidelines requiring a 40-foot setback on the third floor for every 25-foot-wide module. Now we are about to have a half-block development, more massive than the Elks Building, in the historic core, where the average height structure is two stories.
This is another disaster that rivals the Aspen Art Museum. How many more of these developments must the public endure, watching them destroy our historic core block by block before every neighborhood becomes a dead zone like the Motherlode and the Crystal Palace?
Council should never approve this “negotiated code change” at the developer’s insistence, especially when the scale and mass of the development defeats the purpose of historic preservation.
Everyone should contact their councilmen on this, and attend the public meeting on Monday in council chambers to voice their outrage.
Last month, the City Council adopted 49 amendments to the International Building Code that will go into effect April 1 — no joke.