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Project doesn’t belong in the Elmwood Village

Charles Gordon used his recent Another Voice on “placemaking” in the Elmwood Village to express his support for Chason Affinity’s proposed six-story, 200,000-square-foot, mixed-use building at the corner of Elmwood and Forest avenues. He omitted mentioning that he is the project’s architect. We would like to give our perspective as the owners of homes adjacent to the site of the proposed hotel/condo/retail development.

Gordon fails to mention the six-story building would dwarf everything in the surrounding neighborhood. The nearby residences are two- and two-and-a-half stories high, and the commercial buildings across the street on Elmwood are only two stories in height.

His project would also demolish 10 century-old structures – including apartments, two-family homes and small, local businesses – and replace them with one monolithic building. While the existing structures reflect the history and scale of the Elmwood Village, the developer’s proposal suits the downtown business district.

The project also would eliminate the green space that makes the Elmwood Strip such a distinctive area, replacing the quaint greenery with the dark shadows and concrete of a monstrous structure stretching half a city block.

There are plenty of examples of restoration and reuse on the Elmwood Strip that help maintain its unique charm and popularity. While developers and architects may consider demolition and oversized projects “progress,” not everyone wants to live in a densely packed neighborhood.

We were once able to count on the Elmwood Village Association to protect our community’s ambience and diversity. But its current leadership now supports these six-story projects, pretending they belong here. Residents who wish to preserve the uniqueness of the Elmwood Village will have to fight their own battles.

James Runfola

Sandra Girage

Susan M. Davis