It was a beautiful day yesterday and after work I decided to go on a long bike ride. On that ride, I decided to go take a look at how some of the known construction projects downtown are developing. For the first time in what seems like my whole entire life, Kokomo has many different projects going on downtown at the same time. Here are three of the projects that have visible changes as of 3/6/12. As the construction season begins, this list will grow to include some of the other downtown development news.
Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Outreach Building
My first stop was the Outreach Building for the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library. To my surprise, the building is coming along quite quickly. You can see that as of yesterday the building’s supports are in place and the shear mass of a building is starting to take shape. From the elevation images and the articles that I’ve come across, the building won’t be a design icon in the downtown district. Although it won’t be the most beautiful building, it does provide density to a block where a parking lot previously sat. It does provide a good street wall to both Market and Mulberry Streets, which helps enclose the street and promotes walkability. One of the MAJOR design flaws is how close the building is to the neighboring structures and doesn’t fit in well with the previously existing urban fabric in that area. The building’s orientation is exactly how I would have designed it, but I would have had more visible facade changes to mimic the existing look and feel of the surrounding structures. This is just a cookie cutter building that doesn’t provide much value and similar if not exact replicas of this structure could be found in an infinite number of communities in the world.
More on the Library Outreach Building is here in a Kokomo Tribune article.
Senior Housing Development
The Senior Housing development that I’ve previously highlighted on this blog, got some great news recently that will help get this project rolling. According to the most recent Kokomo Perspective and Kokomo Tribune newspapers, the St. Mary Development Corp. received a federal rental housing tax credit of $900,429 in addition to a $250,000 loan both from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Within the past couple weeks, the site has been cleared and the old Hoosier Wholesale building was demolished. Site prep is ongoing and construction should begin on the $9 million project this July with a completion date in 2013.
PNC Bank Facade Improvement
Another urban design improvement downtown is the facade improvement of the PNC bank at the corner of Mulberry and Buckeye Streets. This one has a bit of mystery behind it as I have no idea how the end result will turn out. If a certain development firm is in control of it, I’m sure it will end badly, disastrous, ugly or tasteless. I’ll get more into that in a blog entry at a later date… As for right now all we have is the facade with orange fencing near the base awaiting for construction.
Not exactly a “downtown” project but I am most certainly excited for the extension of the Industrial Heritage Trail: The current southern terminus (Boulevard) pictured below facing south to the potential future IHT extension.