Historic Conservation Board Rejects Mercer Commons Design

Lisa Bernard-Kuhn reports for the Enquirer that the city’s Historic Conservation Board voted 6-0 to “deny a recommendation for new designs for a four-story condominium and retail building in the 1300 block of Vine Street. The board also voted 4-2 to reject a recommendation for designs for new townhomes proposed along Mercer Street.”

Regardless of the Historic Conservation Board’s vote, the development may continued as planned if the Planning Commission approves. 3CDC will almost assuredly continue to work with the HCB to ameliorate any fears or concerns. Mercer Commons would be the largest residential development in OTR by 3CDC to date. Mercer Commons means a lot to many people and its success depends on a deliberative process that has been ongoing for years. Hopefully, the project can be completed expeditiously with the the utmost concern for the neighborhood’s preservation and ongoing development. This story continues to evolve.

Now for some renderings of Mercer Commons as currently proposed:

Mercer and Vine

Mercer and Walnut

Mercer Street

7 Responses to “Historic Conservation Board Rejects Mercer Commons Design”
  1. Rachel says:

    I can’t entirely blame them for rejecting it… it looks way to modern to fit in down there. Now if all of it looked more like the Mercer Street portion, I could see it going over better. I love that view. The others just look way too harsh

  2. Zeke says:

    Just a thought: Doesn’t the new look condos increase the value (visual and $$$) of the original structures that have been rehabbed?

    The Maisonette / Nada experience is a good example. Two distinctly different architectures co-existing and serving the same purpose. And no one is upset about either.

  3. I agree with Zeke. I feel that the Mercer Street part is actually the worst looking of the designs, as well as the Walnut and Mercer addition. The Vine and Mercer building would look the best, as its not attempting to replicate historic architecture in a baloney pseudo modern way. There is lots of glass and exposed metal, which is clean and modern and will look good over time. The other two designs will look like shitty impersonations but without any character or flair. Where is the decor around the windows and doors, or along the roof line? The Mercer street and Walnut street designs are fake, souless, and are down right just insulting when compared to the historic character of the neighborhood they’re occupying.

  4. Seriously, who the hell thought that was a good design? What designates those odd transitions from metal to brick (Walnut and Mercer)? What are those angles on the roofline and where are they reflected anywhere else in the buildings design? Where did these people go to school? I hate to think I live in an era where mediocrity is acceptable, and I am more than glad that the preservation society has put their foot down. Sorry for the rant, but these additions are crucial, and they shouldn’t undermine the city by looking cheap and silly.

  5. Justin says:

    The only part I really have a problem with is Mercer St. The same building repeating over and over again? What is this, the suburbs? It completely clashes with the historic structures down the street.

  6. Nathan Strieter says:

    Aaron- Love the outrage… “where did these people go to school?” I was thinking the same thing. The Mercer @ Walnut is particularly atrocious. There are many, many, great examples of extremely modern buildings in historic neighborhoods which increase value and do not distract. Up until now I had only seen the Vine Street perspective and could not understand why the building was rejected.

    Some small changes could make this project great:
    A continuous brick veneer on Walnut, with visible metal lintels, and casement windows below would be in keeping with the street rhythm but distinctly modern. Just choose a browner brick and it would look outstandingly classy. IMO Mercer Street concept -and retail value- would jump massively if the “row-houses” attempted had entryway variations. In this way the street would read: transom, extra long canopy, 8’6″ door, transom & short canopy. The only thing that bothers me about Vine is the low retail corners… it seems to me that the bottom of the building wants one horizontal expression in elevation. The architects seem confused by HCB’s desire for varied verticallity and have sadly thrown the hierarchy in their base expression under the bus for no reason.

  7. Joe says:

    Actually I like the building on the corner of Mercer and Vine, it adds visual diversity to the area. The part that I cannot stand is the townhomes, they look terrible and should be at least three floors. This neighborhood should have a blend of styles and it definately should not look like an open air museum.

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