We are fans of Ed Slipek's architectural criticism, so we are elated whenever our views coincide, because his is actually an informed opinion. We refer to his column asking why the 6th Street Marketplace needs to be demolished ("Do Over," Nov. 20).
We support converting the Miller & Rhoads building into a hotel to serve Richmond Center's guests. And we are excited about the Virginia Performing Arts Center. Finally, we recognize that the Marketplace has not been a retail success.
What we don't understand is why the first public funds from the city related to the hotel need to be used to dismantle the Marketplace, precisely when it has a chance of succeeding.
The Marketplace is a point of reference, a landmark, if you will. It provides a sense of place, of arrival. But it does need a function. It could serve as a pedestrian link from the Coliseum to the Marriott and Richmond Center, and on to the new hotel, as function space for the two hotels and as a restaurant for a thriving performing-arts scene.
Removing the Marketplace will give us two more blocks of city streets to savor just like the other 40 or so blocks on either side of Broad Street at downtown intersections between MCV and Belvidere. Swell.
There's a better way. The city ought to encourage its hotel developer to tie the Marketplace to both hotels and the Virginia Performing Arts Center as an amenity, not destroy it.
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