Monday, September 10, 2007

More BK Opposition

It seems that the Windsor Symphony Orchestra has publicly voiced its opposition to the Burger King relocation to the Top Hat Supper Club's mothballed building. According to the CKLW website:

"The Windsor Symphony Orchestra is asking Windsor to change its tune. The Planning Advisory Committee has approved the relocation of a downtown Burger King drive-thru to the site of the old Top Hat restaurant, right next door to the Armouries. The Symphony is hoping the building will be redeveloped into a concert hall, making the Top Hat property necessary for parking. The WSO is asking the City to delay the issue until the future of the Armouries is decided."

They are stating that if the Burger King is allowed to redevelop the property with a drive-thru, it will severely hamper the WSO's plans for the redevelopment of the old Armories building. A WSO spokesperson was on the radio stating that Windsor shouldn't allow this development as this is one of the first properties that Tunnel travellers see when entering Canada and, apparently, the parking lot being espoused by the WSO would be better than a BK with a drive-thru.


So, the WSO would rather bulldoze this building to add a few more acres of asphalt to the downtown than a drive-thru and are pitching it as a lesson in aesthetics? I think both organizations need to rethink their plans and how they would negatively alter the pedestrian scale of our downtown. Lets hope that city council listens to the mounting opposition and defers this matter until a sane conversation about the future of this important piece of real estate can be made - which apparently will not be made by either the WSO or BK.

Will someone please start speaking on behalf of our downtown and its rejuvenation instead of these business' bottom line, please?


Shawn Micallef said...

A parking lot doesn't help any business long term -- there is less and less for people to go down there for. Exciting downtowns that people want to visit tend to have little surface parking.

I tried to email the WSO to get more info as it might make a nice post up here of a similar battle we had on St. Clair (toronto) but most of their site doesn't seem to work and no email can be found.

You would never expect this from an arts organization.

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

The WSO had 5 years to make a proposal ,so why now !
This has been orchestrated by city hall, again stopping any business locating on the Top Hat property.
Lying filthy communist thieves!!!!!!!

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

What is wrong with the old bus terminal as a parking lot !

Anonymous said...

there is a half empty, city owned parking garage just steps away on Chatham St. There is absolutely NO NEED for a surface parking lot.

Anonymous said...

I question if they want it as a parking lot or a more compatible use?

How often at a night out to the symphony do you see the that crowd heading out for a Whopper before or after the concert?

A more compatible use next to the Armories can make or break the Armories (and the area around it) into a decent attraction for Windsor. Adding a BK next door will just break it.

I suspect ...knowing the way this City
looks at urban planning there will be a BK on the site.

Anonymous said...

The goal should be to create foot traffic in our downtown. Do not try and encourage people parking right next door to their destination. As "anonymous" stated, we have half empty parking garages littering our downtown (literally!) and those should be used before any other piece of primo real estate is offered to the auto-gods. The foot traffic created by the WSO patrons walking to and from the WSO concert hall would make it a worthy endeavor for the entire downtown.

And PLEASE don't put a BK there!

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Folks there were other businesses that wanted to purchase the Top Hat but city hall chased them away.
Burger King held their position and wouldn't run. ,especially after BK was lied to.
This is not about BK but the rights of the property owner.
This city has plans but has acted in bad faith! Surprise,surprise,surprise!!!!
Words of advice "DO NOT INVEST IN WINDSOR ! "

Shawn Micallef said...

What businesses were chased away? And why?

Preventing a drive through is not communism, it's good urban design meaning good for people and business.

If the chased businesses were appropriate uses, city hall should not have chased them away -- so please explain.

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Shawn you sit in Toronto and dare to lecture us in Windsor what is proper.
Look in your backyard before you become the almighty and point your finger at us.

Topher Holt said...

Sam - let's not lose focus on what we're trying to accomplish here. I understand that the city has treated you pretty unfairly with your families life-long investment (both economic and emotional) in your downtown business. I want nothing more than to work with you in finding out what we can do to A/ make something good come of your experience, and B/ try and prevent what happened to you from happening to others.

Shawn is an insightful observer who genuinely cares about good urban and architectural design. Whether he honed his cutting-edge criticisms in Toronto or Windsor doesn't matter to me in the least. He has proven he cares what happens in this city (I am guessing he has some ties here, but I don't know for certain) and is will to spend some time in fighting our collective fight with us. I welcome any and all help he is willing to give us.

The last thing I want to do is spend any of our energy consuming ourselves and our goals. This happens in most organizations/communities that I've been a part of and I do not want to see it happen here. Shawn was hoping to learn from your vast experience in operating a business in our downtown and I don't think he was being judgemental or lecturing at all.

You have a lot to teach us, Sam and we really want to learn from what you've gone through. Let's work together and try and make something good rise from the rubble that is our downtown.

Topher Holt said...

The Burger King plans were approved by City council at last nights meeting.

...SD,W dropped the ball on this file in allowing it to progress to the 11th hour before launching a (meagre) campaign against it.

We promise to do our best in notifying our readers of regressive plans our city administration and council have in store for our community.

If our readers have any insight to something we haven't addressed in this blog, please bring it to our attention so our researchers can delve into the details and try an put up roadblocks of our own.

Shawn Micallef said...

Sam> I just asked you to explain a bit more, because right now you're just ranting and not selling anybody on your position. I genuinely asked, what businesses did the city scare away? I don't understand your provincial "sit up there in toronto" reaction.

What does my living in Toronto have to do with anything? I look in my backyard everyday, all day, it's what I do. And i've been paying attention to Windsor for a long time too.

Come on, this may be the internet, but you started a discussion, so debate like an intelligent man, not a 16 kid on some indie-rock forum or guy on the street with a sign yelling at everybody.

If you don't give some context, examples, you won't convince anybody.

Anonymous said...

How convenient. The City chased away others only to let a BK pass. And it just so happens that the old BK sits on land they need for the expansion of the tunnel.
I know during the next election that we will be getting a new Mayor. I hope we will consider electing new councilors that have more vision.
Also its time to make our planning department more accountable for these kind of mistakes that continue to happen in our City.

Topher Holt said...

For the record, only Halberstadt and Marra voted against this proposal.

My question - where were the other three urban councilors (Postma, Jones and Valentinis)? I can understand why the suburban councilors don't "get it" (and also why we must educate them more than the others) but I expected to see our other downtown councilors vote in favour of progressive urban planning.

Folks - we have our work cut out for us!

Anonymous said...

The most important question is will we be proud of this decision in 20 years.

The city should have bought the Top Hat Property from Mr. Drakich which is what other cities do when they want to restrict use

This property is important because if we ever want to lure people out of the convention center into downtown we need to give them an attractive path to follow, a drive thru would not meet this which is why they are banned on Ouellette.

It is known that people will avoid areas that have no storefronts or activity (dead zones) Thats why all new parking garages in almost all North American cities must have commercial on the first floor.

Whats sad is that this is at the tunnel entrance and it will first thing visitors will see. As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression