Letter to BRO from Mike:
As a frequent reader of Buffalo Rising and a resident of the city, I think the development that is happening downtown is excellent. It is the investment in our urban core that we have been lacking for 40-50 years. It’s essential to rebuilding the fabric of our city life to draw more people to downtown. The completed new build/retrofit projects: The Avant, the Pasquale, countless other smaller reuse projects are all steps in the right direction and helped to build momentum. The current renovation of the Donavan Building, the new structures in the HarborCenter, the Catholic Health System headquarters, and Ellicot Development’s proposed apartment complex on the Inner Harbor, again are all great investments in our city.
My problem with the current and proposed development is that all of the buildings look relatively the same with very little architectural character. We are a city that is proud of its architectural heritage and use this as a way to draw in tourists. Why then, are most of the new buildings essentially allowed to look the same: red brick, some beige exterior, and glass? The CHC headquarters, HarborCenter and Donavan building have no character. I’ll take new development in any way I can get it, but it seems shortsighted not to tap our heritage and push the envelope in terms of architectural design.
The Jacobs Vascular Institute (and others on the medical campus) and The Avant buck this trend, however, it would be nice to see those types of designs make there way farther downtown towards the waterfront.