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where development can’t happen

First, a definition: my active business plan continues to assume that development yields work. By definition, development is opportunity, cause and effect for architecture. And yet, most of my current work is interiors; with few exceptions, my clients are business owners, not developers. “Development” as a profession doesn’t appear to exist in this market. That’s not a bad thing for architecture, it’s not a bad thing for my clients, it’s not a bad thing for the city or for the environment or for communities or for other things we care about. However, it serves as a caveat to my next paragraph.

One of my closest advisors these days is a proponent of development. He makes it happen, and he advises his clients on how to get it done. I bring him ideas and he tells me why I’m wrong, or, on the good days, he introduces me to new connections.

In the whiplash of the recent Raleigh tornados, conversation has started about redeveloping damaged areas. Beyond repair, there’s some call from opportunists and idealists (like me) to promote something better than simple fixes, to look at the path of destruction as an express road to progress. We want S Saunders and Capital Blvd to be better, and we have good reasons. However, I was starkly reminded that you can’t tell [googlemaps’s+seafood&fb=1&gl=us&hq=earp’s+seafood&hnear=Raleigh,+NC&cid=8571674418567982632&output=embed&s=AARTsJp56EajYksz3JXgNCwT3LJnGsqqAQ]

to wait around for Raleigh to develop a New Urbanist vision and for the investment-driven economy to improve before they fix their roof, when they just want to get back to work selling fish. It’s a good idea, it’s a district for vision, but I’m reminded that in many ways, this industrial district is already successful.

The warehouse district in Raleigh has been actively stalled against new development while we wait for resolution on the epic question of the train. High Speed Rail? Light Rail to RTP? Amtrak Expanded? Who knows. We’re waiting for the Federal Government to hand us a check, and now assuming that the GOP will accept the check when it’s delivered. Meanwhile, these warehouses remain monuments to a tragically short industrial age and home to birds. I recently posted about an area that I thought should be redeveloped. I had good reasons. My friend and colleague said, “You can’t develop there. It’s in the city’s Transit Study Area.” That’s disgusting and stupid, or at least very sad. This is an area that we want to be developed, we believe it will be successful when developed, it’s currently dangerously underdeveloped, and development is actively stopped.

Feels good to hold these protest signs up once in a while. Meanwhile, please continue to support development where it does happen, keep the ideas coming and we’ll keep working where we can.

Andy Osterlund AIA | LEED AP
Andrew Osterlund, Architect, PLLC
19 W Hargett Street, Suite 700-A | Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 889 6823 | | TWITTER: aoarch

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Osterlund Architects is a full-service architecture and interior design firm, committed to our clients and their work from concept through construction, and through to their next opportunity. Our firm has expertise in all project phases, including programming, pre-design and planning through construction administration and closeout, as well as interior design, including furniture, fixtures and equipment (FFE) services.

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