The Trammell Crow Co. isn’t winning any friends with their proposed Sam’s Club development across from Cityplace. Now, news breaks that the development company has purchased another important piece of in-town real estate: the Chase Bank site adjacent to Klyde Warren Park.
As it exists today, the area north of Klyde Warren is pretty inhospitable to the stated goal of the deck park, namely, to stitch together Uptown and downtown. There’s no sense of an organic pedestrian connection, few visual cues to draw people from the park to the McKinney and the rest of Uptown, and too many building back-ends, faceless facades, and parking lot entryways to give them a reason to do anything but stay packed on the park deck. The Chase Bank site offers the last, best chance to redevelop the area in a way that will really connect the area. That the responsibility of this vital development project now falls to Trammell Crow, the company that wants to stick a Sam’s Club on a site that should be used to help the West Village jump Central Expressway, gives me pause. They have to get this development right, and getting it right in this case means building something that is nearly perfectly designed. Anything less will be a squandered opportunity we’ll be forced to live with for at least a generation.