Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tale of Two Developments

One in downtown New Orleans and one in downtown Athens. Once city developing, the other redeveloping.

One might look at the two articles and see that Athens covers initial development rather critically. This looks anti-development and such critiques may slow the process of getting stuff done. There is a lot of ink given to the amount of sidewalk space and parking lot use. This despite the fact that hotels in Athens will always fill up year-round (the industry is underrepresented in downtown Athens), so the business is going to give the owners a return on investment and create a few needed jobs in Athens. It will also increase vital foot traffic down a portion of College Avenue and Washington street that aren't well traveled - affecting several businesses on the north side of Athens' downtown. Even still, the Athens media is pointing out flaws in design in an attempt to drive all important (and, in Athens, powerful) public input and voice.

On the other hand, New Orleans and the state of the Louisiana are trying to figure out whether to buy an existing skyline-scale building and renovate it or just to build a new building from the gound up. The purchase is a building that apparently doesn't have business going on inside it, and it is right across the street from the Superdome. This leads to some questions concerning why a building across the street from a stadium would still remain empty after renovation. It also begs the question that this building will be considered for government office usage, and that condos, retail, restaurants and watering holes will be a secondary consideration.

Concerns only grow after learning this information. For instance, what is taking so long? I can only assume that the building's owners have been waiting to see if the government will scoop up this building for some time. Then again, could it be that no other businesses want to locate inside this building? I simply can't imagine that to be the case.

So I wonder which development will go in quicker: the one with criticism on the front end to ensure building in accordance with existing city plans, or the one waiting on more 'government studies' to determine a cost/benefit analysis that should have been conducted a year and a half ago.

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