Lazy Link Of The Day

Over at SLOG Dominic’s got a rundown of the new Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District.  In the photo above is the building at the corner of Union and Broadway that has been exempted from the overlay district, effectively giving the green light for the Polyclinic to demolish the existing building and redevelop the site.  This is a good move.  There is much worth preserving in Pike/Pine.  But the need for preservation must be sanely balanced with the need to accomodate growth.   

The key to a vibrant neighborhood is a broad mix of uses, types, ages, and conditions.  That car dealership adds almost  zero value to street life.  The building is nice but not that nice, and it is way underutilizing the land that it sits on.  A new medical buildng will bring jobs and people to the neighborhood. 

Pike/Pine is being transformed by classic American free market forces, combined with the inevitable rise in property values that comes as desirable cities grow.  Placing limits on redevelopment is unlikely to have much of an effect on preserving economic diversity, because if supply is limited, demand will drive up the prices all that much more.  A transfer of development rights program has some promise.  But in the end, as always, effectively preserving affordable real estate in a high-demand neighborhood requires market intervention, that is, government subsidy.

P.S.  Great City is sponsoring a brown bag lunch discussion of the Cultural Overlay District this Thursday, July 9, 12-1:00 pm at the offices of GGLO off Harbor Steps at 1st and University, more info here.

P.P.S.  The original post had an error.  The Polyclinic site was not upzoned.  If had not been exempted from the overlay zone, it would have been downzoned.