Tuesday, May 12, 2015

City's least successfully made place requests proposals for placemaking

By most measures the Piazza D'Italia was never very successful. The odd "postmodern" edifice has attracted faint praise (and faint criticism) from architecture buffs over the years. But the space itself has failed to take on any sort of cultural or civic significance. Here is a photo of it from Tchoupitoulas Street I ripped off of Google Maps.

Piazza D'Italia via Google Maps

Can you even see it back there? If you didn't know it was supposed to be an interesting thing, you probably wouldn't be interested. Tucked away between a hotel, an alley, and a large nondescript city-owned parking lot, it mostly sits empty. Is it a public space? Is it a hotel courtyard? Nobody seems to notice or care. It is a piazza in name only.

I'm not sure how you go about changing that.  Maybe nothing can be done.  The city is going to try redeveloping the parking lot into something to see if that makes a difference.
The Piazza d'Italia sits in the midst of a burgeoning downtown New Orleans real estate market that is experiencing rapid growth and development from the Mississippi River to South Claiborne Avenue.

But the 37-year old architectural landmark sometimes seems a world apart, lost amid large swaths of surface parking that surround it on nearly every side.

To better take advantage of the public space, the city Tuesday (May 12) issued a request for qualifications, asking for ideas to redevelop the two parking lots at 542 Tchoupitoulas St. and 545 S. Peters St.

According to a statement from the city, the proposed concepts must be "first-class commercial and/or mixed-use projects" that include "luxury residential, retail or other professional office use, with entertainment components and other related amenities. The proposed plan should also include a plan to address the parking needs for the proposed use."
Eh. Someone will build condos there and make some money.  Figuring out who gets to do that and why is really the only reason to watch this.  The Piazza, itself,  is likely to stay as bland as it always was.

1 comment:

Kirsten Corby said...

The only thing I've ever seen the Piazza used for is to dump a body in some crime thriller filmed in New Orleans.