... A Sour Apple Tree

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Location: Huntington, WV, United States

I'm a 37 year-old guy from Huntington, WV.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Emmons buildings gettin' knocked over (finally)...what is next?

Now that all of the legal teams have gathered all of the evidence from the buildings, Emmon's Jr & Sr apartments, the scene of Huntington's worst blaze in recent memory, are finally facing Demolition.

With the structures gone, there will soon be a quarter block of prime real estate in downtown open for some sort of development/project/memorial. Any future use of the site will be determined by a mix of property owners, planners, politicians, bureaucrats, etc. and many options will be available to these folk. Here are a few that I can imagine:

  • Build new apartments.
    Pros: There might still be a need for a large building of apartments in downtown to serve college students and young professionals and the absence of the Emmons apartments may strain the area apartment market. This might also be the most profitable option for the owners.
    Cons: Well, um, who want to live in "the new death apartments" or whatever morbid nickname they might receive. Also, building more apartments on shadowed ground could prove insensitive to the families of the victims.
  • Build a retail development.
    Pros: Leaders have been pushing the bejesus out of building a sustainable retail sector in the CBD. As Pullman Square inches towards full occupancy, there may be an eventual need for more new storefront space along 3rd Ave. Even if such a development cannot take off, the spot might serve as an excellent location for a bank, gas station, or chain restaurant.
    Cons: Pullman Square might not reach 100% occupancy any time soon, especially in terms of retail stores. Any such plans might result in another Superblock situation with that chunk of land sitting vacant for years and years. Plus, without some sort of memorial marker, there could still be charges of insensitivity or white washery.
  • Build office space.
    Pros: Between telemarketers, doctors, accountants, and lawyers, there is likely a demand for more office space located in modern buildings that can handle new technology in a "plug 'n play" environment. Most of Moneyton's downtown office building are refurbished at best, friggin' ancient at worst and are difficult to adapt to new computer and diagnostic equipment. This might be the best way to get more people into downtown and spending money.
    Cons: Again, sensitivity may be a factor. Also, without a surefire plan to bring in new companies to downtown, much of the new office space might be occupied by firms that were already in the city. This would then simply have the effect of shifting in-town business from one landlord to another.
  • Build a park.
    Pros: This may be the best of the options in terms of the touched-upon sensitivity issue. They would not have to build anything on the footprint of the Sr. building and there would be ample memorial space for a marker, fountain, or monument. A park would also give downtown some much needed green space that isn't behind a floodwall and doesn't reek of river water and piss.
    Cons: As ideal as this may sound, the city and the property owners might not be in a position to behave in such an altruistic manner. We and they might prove wise to capitalize on the opportunity to bring jobs, destination shopping, or modern apartments to downtown.

Right now, my heart is saying "park" and my head is leaning towards office space, but it is still early and I'm sure I can be swayed if a strong enough case is made for these or any other options.

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Blogger All Click said...

This is a tough one. I'd love to see a park there. Some greenery, a pond, nice benches etc. But I doubt that will happen.

Thursday, October 04, 2007  

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