Friday, August 15, 2008

Three Cheers for Flannery

Tim Flannery, the developer responsible for the the rehabilitation and rejuvenation of Dana Warp Mill in 1997, has evidently done it again. Per this week's American Journal, Flannery's plans to construct 66 loft-style apartments on the fourth floor of the mill are receiving nearly unaminous praise from city officials.

And why not? Echoing City Councilor Michael Foley's affinity for an 18-hour downtown, and considering the late great urban planner Jane Jacobs's requirement of mixed uses (not only does this idea satisfy Jacobs's preference for a blend of residential and commercial development, it also incorporates her belief in the recycling of an old building for a new use) for thriving cities and neighborhoods, I think Flannery's idea is a great one.

The apartments--which will consist of studio apartments and 800-foot rentals--will probably attract childless tenants, so there shouldn't be a great uptick in education costs. And, of course, the beautiful (and quirky) mill alongside the Presumpscot is located close enough to Westbrook's downtown to enable the city's merchants to receive an economic spark from the mill's residents, without the usual trade-off of clogged streets and limited parking.

- John C.L. Morgan


Anonymous said...

Amen! We wholeheartedly agree. This is a win-win proposal.

by the way, what happened to the Westbrook Framing Company? they appear to have either gone out of business, or moved elsewhere....

Can our trusty blogger find out?

Anonymous said...

The idea of an 18 hour down town is foolish. If anyone is keeping tabs, they have tried this for fifty years in Westbrook, and it has yet to be successful. I believe it started with Urban Renewal, which demolished most of main street to make way for the businesses of tomorrow. Which never came by the way. This is just another antiquated idea that is being picked up by someone that thinks they know something. A blend of residential and commercial is an idea of the past, that has no real place for today. Portland is a great example of how corporate businesses constantly have to battle residents over where they can hang out. Skate boarders flying down exchange street, young bikers doing stunts in the middle of a busy road, no green space for people to enjoy. Boston at least zones appropriately, and ensures that there is places for people to go for activities. But, I guess, that is me thinking that Westbrook is only going to become more cramped as we fill in every space, and not think long term about the impacts of development.