Comment 22939

By highwater (registered) | Posted May 12, 2008 at 12:34:29

According to a comment made by Bratina on the Specblog, "The Lister Block is a fine old building and an ideal candidate for renovation. Its best use in my opinion would be residential, perhaps for students. It has a role in Downtown revitalization, but is not the critical piece...The proposal for the Lister Block would simply shuffle employees from one place to another at a cost far exceeding going rates for commercial space Downtown...The Lister redevelopment would provide no new taxes, and in fact would increase them.

The Lister Block is an old commercial building, privately owned, similar to the old post office building, the Alexandra Square office buildings and the old Eaton's Warehouse. These were all redeveloped at the owner's expense with some assistance from our Downtown Residential Loans Program which provide interest-free loans to assist in financing the projects...all successfully occupied and all paying significantly more in taxes than when they were derelict.

There are many examples of buildings like the Lister that have been successfully and economically renovated to residential use...If the Lister block were to become a City office building, those employees would be relocated from other space, and would leave for home after 5:00 p.m. If it became condominiums or apartments there would be more people living downtown, animating the streets and supporting the stores and restaurants....exactly what we're trying to achieve through our Downtown Renewal process.

The Lister is important to our Downtown, but so is the old Federal Building...Private money with some government funding is financing the new residential project beside Denningers..."

Clearly, Bratina is stating that using the Lister for municipal office space is "not the critical piece", however it's obvious that he believes privately funded residential projects are critical to downtown's revitalization, and that the Lister is an ideal candidate for this type of development. This is a far cry from saying it is not important.

I fear I'm wasting my breath, however. You could show Bada Bing the stack of reports showing that the Lister is architecturally and historically significant, structurally sound, and perfect for adaptive reuse, and you could show him/her the numerous examples of urban theorists such as Richard Florida showing the damaging effects of tearing down heritage buildings on a city's economy, and it wouldn't make a scrap of difference to him/her. He/she is immune to any facts that contradict his/her agenda. Actually, I think I'll go with 'he'. I'm beginning to think that Bada Bing is a sockpuppet for Mancinelli or Tony DePasquale.

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