Letter: Lacks Sense Of Place

Letter: Lacks Sense Of Place

To the Editor:

Recently we were made aware of the proposed development at the Northern Robinson Terminal site which most of the community has found to be totally unacceptable. It is just not appropriate for Old Town's waterfront.

However, as bad as that development plan is, it is not quite as bad as what EYA has proposed for Robinson's Southern Terminal. In addition to the 26 town houses, there are three humongous condo buildings, two of them 190 feet long and 50 feet high that will dominate and set the tone for this constrained area. Viewing these huge buildings from the river or from the Wilson Bridge will definitely highlight the fact that this development has no connection whatsoever to the Old and Historic District. We could end up looking at a 1960 European design or even worse yet three buildings resembling a fleet of cargo ships.

EYA has so far refused to address the mass, scale and architecture of three condo buildings. They have deftly changed the subject and only intend to address all the peripheral issues surrounding the development without discussing what's really important …. mass, scale and architecture. All this in spite of the fact that at the July 2 meeting of the Board of Architectural Review six of the seven members in one form or another said that the buildings are too massive, way too tall and do not provide any continuity to the historic designs on the waterfront especially in the southeast quadrant.

Just look at the townhouse development right next door at Harborside, a 63 town house development, which was very artfully developed by the Abramson brothers and are a distinct asset to the Old and Historic District. EYA needs to take this proposal back to the drawing board, as we just can't afford to have two lousy developments as our "bookends" for the historic waterfront. It’s just not appropriate and does not even create a sense of place.

Townsend A. "Van" Van Fleet, Alexandria