Letter: What the developer should have said about Columbia mall plans

January 23, 2012

Here is what the audience would have liked to hear from the developer about their plan for the mall. All we heard was about process, not about product. It would have been exciting to hear the developer say the following:

"As you know, the overall Downtown Plan calls for a pedestrian connection between the Mall-to-Lakefront, a multi-phase project that could take some time to realize. We are excited to propose the first phase of the Mall-to-Lakefront pedestrian connection. Our concept is to remove the L.L.Bean building to open up access to a promenade leading to a new Mall entrance. Along the promenade we envision a row of new and exciting retail shops and a new L.L.Bean.

The open-air promenade may have brick paving, pedestrian lighting, benches, café seating, shop awnings and neon and lighted signage. We hope to make the promenade available for art shows. Adding a new level on top could expand the parking garage.

Here are a few slides of other promenade retail projects that may give you an idea of what is possible. This is our concept today. We will soon present urban design concept drawings. The concept may change as we travel along the 16-step approval process, detailing the site plan and architecture, responding to technical and economic realities. Along the way we will welcome your feedback."

Robert Tennenbaum



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