Thursday, October 25, 2007

Banks competing against downtown?

The Banks Working group has finished it's assigned task and approved a "development agreement" this week. The next step is to have this document approved by city and county officials, which should happen very quickly.
On particular quote jumped out at me when I read the Business Courier's article on the completion of the deal (emphasis mine):

"The 24-story maximum building height is a compromise by developers, who previously sought approval for buildings of up to 30 stories. The latest agreement shrinks the height of the Banks, but not the density. Developers still want to build up to 2.8 million square feet of real estate on the 18-acre site.

Downtown property owners have criticized the higher-density version of the Banks project, saying it would directly compete against downtown."

I have two issues with this:

1) How exactly is the Banks not a part of downtown? I mean, this makes it sound like they're going to build a new city somewhere else. The Banks is downtown. What is good for the Banks is good for downtown. Which leads me to #2:

2) What basis do these businesses have for complaining about competition? How is this any different from a Wendy's trying to prevent a McDonald's from being built across the street? I don't know why we should prevent competition between office space on opposite sides of Fort Washington Way. It comes across as big business interests having undue influence over the planning. What if it turns out to be a really good idea to have a 25 story building? Do we have to ask permission from all the businesses in the neighborhood?

I guess my complaining is too late now. I'm happy that this step is finished. I can't wait to see some shovels hitting the dirt down there.