Midtown changes character

Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 11:06 p.m.
Your article "What is Gainesville's look?" and the pictures that accompanied it, puzzled me. I don't know of any city in which there is a consistent style, outside of Disney World - and we all know that as a great place to visit but not to live.
Why on earth would anyone expect to find that kind of constancy here? Besides, many things other than building facades establish the "look" of a place - the parks, trees, homes, the relationship between commercial and residential neighborhoods, and yes, even the scale of things.
All of these factors contribute to Gainesville's look and its character, not just the selection of buildings that you happened to show.
But what an interesting collection of pictures that you did choose. I noticed that all of the photographs of existing buildings were taken at street level, looking up. It made even modest three story buildings look enormous.
The perspective of the Midtown rendering, on the other hand, was from some point far off the ground - a view that someone would have from the top floor of the Seagle Building, for example. From that angle the 26-story rendering looked almost diminuitive.
John Barrow, quoted in the article, may be right about New York - that a pedestrian is only aware of the appearance of the first few floors and the rest really doesn't matter.
In New York, of course, a person can't see from one street to the next anyway, which you can in Gainesville. The skyline will virtually disappear to all those people now working to restore homes in surrounding neighborhoods.
I have been dismayed how easily those neighborhoods have been discounted in recent discussions.
I am not against this development. I see many good things in it, but I think that the scale of the current proposal - 26 stories - is outrageous.
I am appalled that the first opportunity for the public to express its views on the isssue came after midnight at the meeting of the Development Review Board that approved the project.
Midtown will not just increase our "diversity" of architectural styles, as you article implies, it will change the whole character of the area.

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