A quick hit inspired by yesterday’s review of post war development in the South End. Let’s say you’ve got a retail outlet of some kind, perhaps a fast food chain, and you’re lucky enough, lucky enough(!) to have a parcel that runs from a traditional Main Street to a stroad; how do you orient your building?
It’s pretty obvious, right? You place your building in line with the other traditional Main Street façades in order to easily capture its pedestrians, and place a giant back lit highway sign at the curb cut to the stroad knowing that the mostly empty block long surface parking lot creates no impediment to the motorist who is able to traverse the length of it in seconds without any effort.
Nope. Apparently you orient your building to the the stroad, forcing motorists to drive past the entrance to the building, as they must first rid themselves of their metallic shells, and then walk back toward the building, and when they’ve completed their meal even the exit to the roadway is obscured by the edifice. This sets the building back so far for pedestrians on Main Street that even as they pass by this property on the sidewalk, they feel closer to the one other fast food franchise offering competition in the neighborhood!
Now comes a second chance to take double advantage, and hedge your bets as a developer, with a property that stretches from car-oriented to pedestrian oriented in a neighborhood which could get an investment in walkability of $800,000,000. What do you do? You orient your building in such away that it feeds into the street life of one end of your block, and presents acres of parking and a curb cut to drivers, right? I walked around the property yesterday and, best I could tell, the new hotel being built between Main Street and East Columbus Avenue in the South End will be set back from both.
The site to be developed, with the neighborhood to be ignored in the background: