Take that, Inga Saffron — East Falls overwhelmingly supports Grasso’s mixed-use development on our riverfront, despite what you consider its “architectural wide load.” EFDC’s Gina Snyder sets the record straight on how this design provides improvements & amenities the neighborhood sorely desires.
A great new development is slated for the 4300 block of Ridge Avenue at the Falls Bridge. Grasso Holdings planned mix of retail, office, apartments, and corporate housing, will bring much needed life and activity to Ridge Avenue. The facade will six stories tall on Ridge Avenue, while on Kelly Drive it steps back with a thoughtful nod to the River.
East Falls set the design and use guidelines for this development. In a series of meetings that I guided, this neighborhood asked that the mass of the buildings be on Ridge Avenue while the Kelly Drive side be as green as possible to make an appropriate transfer from the River’s edge.
The neighborhood was also clear that it wanted uses that would benefit East Falls. Grasso is working on a food market tenant, with residents upstairs to enliven and activate Ridge Avenue. If he secures office tenants, that would also bring more daytime activity to the area.
At the same time, Grasso will be constructing public improvements, such as road widening, to lessen the pressures of commuting traffic through the area.
If you have not had the opportunity to review a critique in the inquirer of the project, you may want to. Inga Saffron, architecture critic, spent some ink on pointed observations about the proposed structure. While her comments reflect a general consensus about the appearance of the building on Ridge Ave, the Kelly Drive side is appropriate to the location. The EFDC has a Design Committee that reviewed the Grasso design.
Because nearby Ridge Avenue is lower in height, it would benefit the development as well as the street to be more in scale. We asked that he consider modifications to the Ridge Ave. façade to bring the building to a more pedestrian scale. This can be done with material changes, color, or a change in the setback for the upper stories. Similar comments were provided in the City’s Civic Design Review process.
David Grasso, the developer, has stated in public meetings that they are reviewing the design to see what changes they will be making, as the design is not finalized. We are looking forward to seeing the revisions.
The project is a couple years from completion. The developer still needs to secure curb cut approval from Streets Department, Zoning approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment in August, and financing. Still in the horizon is the 1% for art – they envision an installation that brings together landscaping and a green wall on the Kelly Drive side.
ED NOTE: More pics and info in our latest Grasso recap, and also on EFDC’s website.