A big congratulations must go out to the We Care About the Square crowd. The Kirchoff project is dead. Kirchoff blames the City.
"Kirchhoff said the problems go back to Troy's original request for proposals that failed to reveal the site's true conditions.
"The RFP was materially inadequate and misleading in terms of providing mapping and information regarding the presence of significant utilities through the site," said Giovanni Palladino, the developer's director of architecture and construction.
The developer said it was delayed by having to conduct an intensive review of the site. Compounding the problem was the city Planning Commission's five-month delay in reviewing the plans."
Meanwhile, WCATS is doing a well-earned victory lap:
We Care About the Square spokesman Russ Brooks issued a statement saying the group "is pleased that the proposed substandard development of 1 Monument Square no longer threatens to compromise the city's most important urban site."
The group said it is pro-development and "wants to see the gap in River Street and our city's river facade completed in a manner that connects the downtown to the riverfront, meets the highest standards of excellence in architectural design, and is of the construction quality the city deserves."
We hate to splash cold water on the celebration but the sincere members of WCATS have set expectations far too high. Nothing realistic will meet such Platonic standards. Troy is not the prettiest girl at the dance. That location is a $25,000,000 site. Troy is not going to do that much better than the Kirchoff project. One suspects what detractors want (in addition to having the project awarded to a developer friend) will be closer to the Judge project. The Judge project looked great, would have been great and also had a $50,000,000 price tag. Judge could not find the investors because the investors know its not a $50,000,000 site. Lost in all the fuss is that this is ultimately a business deal, not an art show. We can wait forever for Mr. Right.
Nonetheless, to the extent that WCATS did help stop the Kirchoff projects, hats off to them. After all, it is an example of citizen activism that worked. We will see, in about five-to-ten years, whether it was worth it all.