The Gleason reshapes the view

news-gleasondistancefirststreet The Gleason, a six-story residential tower, the biggest non-UVA building ever built in Charlottesville, changes the 5:19pm July 31 view down First Street from the Downtown Mall.

14 comments

The big dam people are trying to plan for a future population of around 300k+. That's more than twice the current population of Chalbemarle. If so, they will either go supposedly in the growth area of the county and the city. Currently there's not enough housing in the city to house a significant population, so as Music Love says, vertical.
@phonypony, I think you may be right about the square footage and about Lewis and Clark from the east.

Another visually arresting photo with a story to tell--new urbanism on the move in Charlottesville. Mauice Cox and others are thrilled to see these buildings going up and there will be more, and yes, as shown in this picture Charlottesville is changing right before our eyes. On an aesthetic level this is another beautiful shot, with exquisite lighting, by Mr. Spencer. Someday I hope to see these pictures collected in book form.

Is this six-story building taller than the old Jefferson National Bank building in the 100 block of E. Main or the old Monticellos Hotel condiminium building on Court Square?

It's one thing to alter Charlottesville's density via thoughtful infill development that matches and complements the scale and massing of its surroundings. It's quite another to block the sunlight available to existing structures by building behemoths that serve no other purpose than lining the pockets of developers while lowering the standard of living for those already living and working there. The vistas of surrounding mountains, green space, and open feeling we have in Charlottesville are a priceless commodity. When the developers are done with their "handiwork" the only folks able to enjoy that will be the wealthy on the top floors of these buildings.

The problem with density freaks is that they are so keen on achieving their goal, they forget that most of the people living here, remain here because of the green and open vistas, and being able to feel like you're not jammed into a Habitrail with a bunch of other hamsters. So, yes to smart infill and density that creates a village feel and keeps the views. But no to infill that aims to recreate Manhattan. I already lived there, thanks. I moved to Charlottesville many years ago precisely because it's NOT a metropolis.

Just because that hideous Lewis & Clark building exists, that's no justification to build any other like it. Architecturally, it's an already dated blight, and it looks incredibly stupid sitting in that particular location. Shame on everyone who had a part in it's being there.

It's a matter of balance. Too many tall buildings will create a very different feel downtown, less light and will dwarf the original Mall.
Think about the area of Northern Va. over the bridge from Georgetown, a quaint livable area of D.C. I prefer that we moderate the scale of our downtown.

We should just get ONE skyscraper. one. and that's it. what's wrong with just one???

I was being sarcastic....

And I was kidding....

Okay, you can't have it both ways. If you want Charlottesville to become an urban utopia walking village, you have to grow vertically. If you don't want to grow vertically, you have to grow horizontally.

Growing vertically, and increasing the population density, is the most efficient

It is a massive building. You know, the Pentagon is not that tall either. But it's hardly blocking the sunlight on the "original" Downtown Mall. (And you can see Carters Mtn. from plenty of places in town, without having to see a sliver of it up the street between two buildings on South St.)

More than any of the buildings mentioned, the ones that took away vista were the Federal Court Bldg, which blocks the Southwest Mtns., and the Omni, which blocks the Blue Ridge.

CE - also, isn't the condo building across from the Lewis & Clark Statue also over 6 stories and non-uva? Maybe Hawes meant by sf it's the largest. ?

Its good to see some downtown density - I don't understand the folks who would argue against it. People living downtown means less development pressure on outlying areas and less traffic since these people will walk to at least some of their needs. Suburbanites should love it. I think people like TJ commenting above are just in the crowd that don't want anything to change ever.

City Council and the Planning Commission are utterly destroying the skyline of Charlottesville. We need an ordinance holding developers to buildings the size of the surrounding buildings. If that means developers start re-using existing structures rather than tearing them down, so much the better. I do not suggest developers should be charged with aesthetic treason--that would be excessive--but if they don't care how they desecrate our city for the sake of profits I do think we should change the dog ordinance to allow all dogs to poop on their shoes.

Mike, did you see " Little Shop of Horrors" at Culbreth ? If not, go see it and you'll find out what happens to one skyscraper.