Sunday, March 18, 2007

Questions about the "Zipper Zone"

Here are some questions I have about the zipper zone idea of Frank Ricks, profiled in Sunday's Commercial Appeal:
  • How were the outlines of the zipper zone determined? Most notably, why was the major part of Union Avenue (it appears from Watkins to Cooper) in Midtown left out? Why develop smart on Poplar but develop stupid 2 blocks away on Union (by perhaps knocking down more character-rich buildings)?
  • If "special design and zoning guidelines -- possibly similar to the Medical Center zoning overlay -- should be established to promote smarter, more sustainable growth", then why shouldn't they be applied city-wide? If this is indeed smarter growth (and I believe it is), it stands to reason we would have stupider growth everywhere else. I believe Memphis should be smart everywhere.
  • Why would the "new guidelines spook some developers"? Are there extra development costs associated with the special design and zoning guidelines proposed? And anyway, should we really care about a developer spooked by smarter growth? Considering our present pockmarked commercial landscape, with vacancies and random ugliness easy to find, it looks like someone more important -- the retail entrepeneur and customer -- is already spooked. Stupid growth doesn't seem to be working.
These are not rhetorical questions.

Well, maybe one or two rhetorical questions.

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Anonymous MATAlac said...

I'm not sure about how this could be classified as genius at all. If it was a redevelopment of Raleigh into a nationally unrecognized eco-community than I would think about it, but this is too obvious. I think its a trick question

12:05 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...


Someone referred to the zipper as a great idea, but has someone else referred to it as genius?

1:07 PM  
Blogger MATAlac said...

Ok, nobody actually said it, but we are talking about the mind behind the nationally recognized Harbor Town development. Ricks and LRK are like a band that had a really good debut and can't follow up with something even better or a second stroke of genius.

Get what I'm saying?

5:27 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

I figured the way folks swarm around here, it may have already gotten to the "genius" phase.

Other than its confinement around the zipper, I think it's a good idea. But why the confinement?

11:30 PM  

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