Stephen Brent Spencer 
Member since Oct 30, 2011


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Re: “Architecture Review: The Shockoe Ballpark Plan

Leslie, I just spent last weekend in Old Town Alexandria. I stayed in a 15 floor hotel in the business area that funds Old Town. The area (about the same foot print as this plan) is dotted with 10-20 story office, hotel and condo towers. It doesn't at all effect the experience of the more quaint section of town just 3 blocks away. What it does do is provide an infusion of people (nearly as many people live in these few blocks as the entire downtown area of Alexandria) that frequent the businesses that line King Street.

The historic areas of the Bottom are along Grace, Franklin and Main Streets, not Broad. A small foot print/ high density development is exactly what is needed to preserve the rest of the Bottom.

I also feel the need to point out that, perhaps ironically, the buildings in Short Pump are brick, not steel and glass.

10 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Stephen Brent Spencer on 11/27/2013 at 11:17 AM

Re: “Architecture Review: The Shockoe Ballpark Plan

What a completely delusional piece!

Richmond has more than enough open space. It doesn't need open space along side: a massive interstate, adjacent to an under utilized canal park beside a huge park (James River park system), a proposed municilpe park on Chaple Island and Jefferson Park looming above.

What it needs is the population density to make any of the things that you fanaticise about possible. The city will never, ever, be able to achieve the numbers necessary for a fully revised Bottom with low slung buildings. Anyone who insist on such low density residentsil needs to get out more. The city needs a massive infusion of residents to fill the abundant retail and office space in the area. You know, like the population density of Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia (the cities used as examples). This plan works towards that goal.

The merits of a ballpark can be debated but an architectural review of renderings (which clearly state that they are just conceptual and subject to change) is one of the most futile endeavors I've whitenessed.

26 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by Stephen Brent Spencer on 11/26/2013 at 9:45 PM

Re: “Gambling With Gold

With museum attendance down and well established places like Colonial Williamsburg struggling, it is silly to believe that a slavery museum would be celebrated as a national treasure. Ask Doug Wilder about how much enthusiasm exists to build one.

I don't mean to be dismissive about the area's role in that horrible endeavor but there is only so much that one can do to acknowledge it. None of it exist any more. Historical markers are about all you can hope for and anything else will be uber cheesy (do you suggest that we should rebuild the jail and gallos?). The relics are gone. There is only one whipping post left in Virginia (at the historical society). It is the most significant item in the collection. It is real and the brutality can almost be felt just looking at it. You cannot recreate that and to do so would be in poor taste. Name the streets after historical figures, tell the story through signage and historical markers and move on. That is the only option.

I'm not a fan of building a stadium in Shockoe Bottom. If stadiums were economic engins, Boulevard would look very different. I'm less of a fan of misguided sentimentality. The Bottom isn't precious or all that interesting. It is merely an underdeveloped area adjacent to a downtown quickly running out of developable land.

12 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Stephen Brent Spencer on 10/30/2013 at 3:09 PM

Re: “Gambling With Gold

The fact that the Bottom has been under utilized for the past 60 years is proof enough that it isn't that special of a place. Worse than hungry developers are the sentimental locals having an unrequited love affair with the place.

15 likes, 26 dislikes
Posted by Stephen Brent Spencer on 10/30/2013 at 12:30 AM

Re: “Quicker Travel: GRTC Makes Case for New $70 Million Line

BRT is as cool as LTR (and in most cases is the precursor to light rail).

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Stephen Brent Spencer on 08/27/2013 at 10:25 PM

Re: “And Here You Are

The design is good. Looks like the Richmond city flag. If the haters had as much civic pride as they do negative feelings about everything they would have made the connection.

Posted by Stephen Brent Spencer on 03/06/2012 at 8:44 PM

Re: “This Week’s Lincoln Sightings

Walton Goggins (of Justified) was at Can Can Saturday afternoon.

Posted by Stephen Brent Spencer on 10/30/2011 at 10:01 PM

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