plan for redevelopment of the Donovan Building has been blessed by the Planning Board. Benderson is putting a 96-room Courtyard by Marriott on the building's second through fourth floors. Law firm Phillips Lytle has signed on for the building's top four floors, leaving behind space in One HSBC Center. The ground floor is expected to house restaurant and/or retail uses. Construction has already begun on the project to be known as One Canalside.
The new exterior is consistent with the need to achieve a LEED Silver designation and also comply with the Canal Side Design Guidelines.
Due to the uncertainty of the timing of returning vehicular traffic to lower Main Street- two site plans were submitted to the City for approval. The "Phase I" plan provides access all from Washington Street and temporary access along the west side of the building along Main Street. The "Phase II" plan provides access from Main Street and Washington Street and closes access around the building from Washington Street. According to a cover letter submitted to the Planning Board, "Benderson will fully pursue vehicular access from Main Street and believes access to Main Street is critical for the long-term success of the project."
The Phase II site plan shows two curb-cuts on Main Street and a "U" shaped access from Washington Street. A two-story parking garage is being added along the northern and eastern portions of the building.
From the project submittal to the City:
"In order to bring the development towards both the southern and western property lines, a number of features are proposed. These features include the addition of porte-cochere to the south side of the building, the construction of a large focal point gazebo to the southwest corner of the site, the addition of complimentary structures along Main Street and the addition of a decorative wall along the southern property line which will be improved with Canal Side appropriate materials and artistic lighting elements. The porte-cochere will utilize a Sky Scape green roof system."
"Moreover, a series of pedestrian-scale elements, including terraces, steps, lighting and green spaces have been added to the southern side of the site to enhance the connection between the canal and the site. Further, along the Washington Street side of the parking garage, a planting trellis has been added to the structure to soften the view of the garage from Washington Street. In addition, a drop-off area has been added to the building from Washington Street which will allow patrons of the building to be dropped-off on Washington Street and provide the opportunity for them to walk through the parking structure to gain access to the building."
Benderson's proposal does stray from the Canal Side General Project Plan that anticipated additions to the building to eliminate the street setbacks:
"The Donovan Block will be bounded by the Thruway, Washington Street, Main Street, and Scott Street. To the east and north of the existing Donovan Building, surface parking will be maintained, along with a one-story parking structure built above it by a private developer(s). This parking area will provide approximately off-street parking for on-site use. This block will feature the Donovan Building, renovated by a private developer, which will be augmented and clad in a style consistent with the Design Guidelines and will be reused to house retail, office, and/or hotel space. The remodeled Donovan Building will have the ground story extended to eliminate most of the setbacks that currently surround the building."
General Project Plan, Land Use Improvement Project. Adopted December 18, 2009
The Project Plan and Generic Environmental Impact Statement were meant to be flexible however. Canal Side is expected to involve up to 480,800 square feet of retail and restaurant space; up to 120,000 square feet of hotel/lodging space; up to 190,400 square feet of residential space and up to 20,000 of cultural space. Development is anticipated to be market-driven. Specific types of uses on each development parcel are designed to be flexible as planning proceeds.
Benderson's submittal is showing a preliminary concept for a four-story building that would occupy the southern portion of the Donovan Block along Scott Street. The Canal Side Project Plan calls for 14,600 sq.ft. of retail space and 65 residential units on the upper floors of what is called the "South Block" parcel.
The building would be located south of what at least initially may be a "dry" canal bed to be constructed between Main and Washington Streets. This "canal" is not included in the canal construction work just getting underway
on the Aud block.
From the Generic Environmental Impact Statement:
"South of the remodeled Donovan Building would be a "dry" canal bed, interpreting the former Hamburg Canal serving as the focal point of the Entertainment District, where waterfront restaurants and nightlife would be located. This canal ("East Canal") would evoke the feeling of an old canal where the water was drained out and barges settled to the bottom. The dry canal would be designed as a sustainable garden (comprised of local materials and requiring limited maintenance) and beach environment. Barge structures settled within the garden could be occupied by restaurants and cafes."
Canal Side Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement, 2010. Section 2-5