Savannah City manager discusses the future of aging City Corridor, building “funkification,” distaste for red bricks – Savannah Morning News
A contemporary trying area could possibly be in play, however a proposed Ferris wheel on River Avenue is out of bounds.
City Manager Rob Hernandez lately shared his ideas on structure, historic preservation and growth in Savannah, as the visitor speaker at the Historic District Board of Overview’s current retreat.
Throughout the hour-lengthy dialogue earlier this month, Hernandez additionally took time to explain one of his architectural “pet peeves.”
“I hate red brick,” Hernandez stated. “We appear to have this great love affair with red brick.”
He stated he would really like the new area the metropolis plans to construct west of the Historic District to have a extra trendy look, maybe with chrome steel and glass, whereas nonetheless paying homage to historical past.
“Nevertheless it doesn’t need to be rooted in red brick,” he stated.
The sector website is exterior the board’s jurisdiction, however Chairman Stephen Merriman Jr. later stated he's not essentially against a extra trendy trying building being constructed at the website.
“I'd be extra opposed to construct an area that seems prefer it was inbuilt the 1850s,” Merriman stated. “It provides a false sense of historical past.”
Hernandez additionally made it clear that he believes City Corridor is not an environment friendly place for himself and different metropolis staffers to work or for the Savannah City Council to carry their conferences. He talked about his plan to construct a contemporary municipal complicated to be able to consolidate the metropolis’s workforce, whereas presumably changing City Corridor right into a “working museum” the place the mayor and aldermen might have workplaces.
“We’re going to protect City Corridor,” Hernandez stated. “We have now to protect it, however the day-to-day stuff can go elsewhere.”
The 111-year-outdated building is in severe want of repairs, and funds for the construction’s restoration will have to be raised, presumably by together with the venture in the 2019 particular objective native possibility gross sales tax referendum, he stated.
Hernandez obtained some pushback from board members when he stated he was contemplating changing City Corridor’s deteriorating picket home windows with trendy fake-wooden frames to make them extra environment friendly and hurricane-resistant.
Board members have been involved the transfer would smash the building’s historic integrity and result in non-public builders additionally desirous to bypass ordinance necessities. They urged the metropolis set up exterior wooden home windows with inside storm home windows to attain the outcomes he's in search of.
In any other case, the historic protections in place would crumble, Merriman stated.
“That’s one of the largest issues Savannah has going for it, is our ordinance,” he stated.
There are some buildings that appear ripe for “funkification,” similar to the outdated East Facet Theater on the nook of East Broad and East Gwinnett streets, Hernandez stated.
The historic theater with the phrases “Hungry World” throughout the outdated marquee has sat vacant for a long time.
“To not be disrespectful of its character, however you are able to do cool issues with it,” Hernandez stated. “That building has quite a bit of potential.”
In an analogous vein, he want to “funkify” Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard round the Interstate 16 flyover, which he considers an eyesore. There have been plans proposed to demolish the ramp into downtown, however Hernandez stated he doesn't see the construction going anyplace anytime quickly.
However the metropolis is just too busy making an attempt to place out day by day fires and has little time to be artistic, Hernandez stated.
“You’re the of us that have to provide you with these concepts and we’ll assist it after we can,” he stated.
Hernandez additionally made it clear that some proposals is not going to fly as the metropolis tries to steadiness the calls for of tourism with preservation efforts and residential wants. Board members thanked him after Hernandez stated he and the metropolis council lately rejected a request to put in a Ferris wheel on River Avenue.
The 137-foot-tall remark wheel would have been put in on a metropolis car parking zone alongside the water between the Abercorn and Lincoln avenue ramps at an preliminary price of $17,000 a month, underneath the lease settlement proposed by Missouri-based mostly SkyStar Wheel.
“Once I checked out that request, I stated no manner,” Hernandez stated.
Hernandez, who beforehand labored as the deputy county administrator of Broward County, Fla., turned Savannah’s metropolis manager in October 2016.