Union Presbyterian Seminary 
Member since Nov 9, 2015

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Re: “Architecture Review: Union Presbyterian Seminary Needs to Go Back to the Drawing Board

Compromises and adjustments the seminary has made during what has now been a two-year conversation have been significant. Union has responded to concerns on everything from the size and density of the tract to be developed to architectural details to building heights, which were very costly for the seminary. The initial master plan included housing on the entire 34-acre tract. When the neighborhood asked that the density be reduced, we did so. After producing a new plan with fewer buildings, we were asked to change the orientation and type of buildings on the 15 acres. We did so, moving buildings slated for construction on Westwood and making the “big houses” smaller. When we were asked to change the layout in the interior of the development, we did so, producing the planned arrangement that we now have. When we were asked to change the look of the buildings so that there was some connecting architectural style to the seminary quad, we did that, ending up with the style that we presented to the city. When we were asked about closeness of buildings to Brook Road, we responded, moving the buildings back much further than originally anticipated or required by code. When we were asked about preserving trees, we responded, making plans to preserve almost all of the trees along Brook Road. And when we were again pressed about density, even though we had already dramatically reduced the density, we reduced the height of the buildings from four stories to three resulting in 50 fewer apartments. The significant revenue produced by those apartments -- first-year net cash flows of nearly $280,000 -- would have been helpful to the seminary in subsidizing student housing. The total number of units were reduced from 349 to 301, representing only 25% of the total number of units (1,179) legally allowed on the tract.

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Posted by Union Presbyterian Seminary on 11/09/2015 at 11:22 AM

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