Home > Crank, Design the Details, Editorial, Engineering Design > Where’s The Hotel And Tunnel Project?

Where’s The Hotel And Tunnel Project?

A Mini Crank

According to the Record Eagle, the hotel tied to the Garland St. Tunnel, which was set to begin this spring, is on hold due to financing process. The snag rests on a USDA loan guarantee that, according to developer Jeff Schmitz, has “complicated it to the hilt” (Record Eagle).

Despite having serious concerns over the Garland Street Tunnel, I’m in support of the Hotel Indigo project and it’s unfortunate that they are stuck in the financial mud. I hope they can get it done. However, this latest news, combined with extra costs already revealed, raises more questions about the likelihood that the money, and opportunity, is available for the City to build anything other than a long, dark, narrow tunnel.

It’s my opinion that the City remains deluded that $1.3 million is enough to build something that people will gravitate towards. And that includes, the true costs of the complete project which are more than simply the hole in the ground with a fresh paint job and lights. For pedestrian tunnels to live up to potential, they require either favorable topography or extensive, innovative design at both entry points. It’s unclear where the $1.1 M, $1.3 M  $1.4 M threshold begins and ends, and thus, if we are being honest,  it’s unclear how much the tunnel will actually cost in the end.

The hotel developers had hinted that they were willing to chip in more resources to make the tunnel something designed to acceptable standards. If it comes to it, I trust their latest finance solutions include that flexibility.

Again, moving on and willing to proven wrong.

  1. May 24, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing the Hotel Indigo constructed and I can understand the argument for building a pedestrian tunnel in that general location, even if I would prefer to see something else.

    I see the general decision-making process so far as a failure, for an inability to consider the wider implications of building a tunnel for pedestrians. In addition to the points that are made in the post regarding cost and design, there are many more issues to consider outside of the immediate vicinity of the tunnel if this is to be constructed for the benefit of anyone besides clients of the Hotel Indigo.

    How will pedestrians access the tunnel to go to the beaches? Coming from the neighborhoods and downtown, there is no direct path. From Union Street, one can cut through a bank parking lot or gaps in their fence; walk down an access drive for the visitors center; or risk walking down the narrow, crumbling sidewalk on the south side of M31. From the south, conditions are slightly better: Hall Street has better access, but pedestrian access and crosswalks at Front Street are minimal and are also a further distance from the major attraction of downtown TC. From the west, sidewalks are spotty and unconnected.

    Hotel Indigo would be a major beneficiary of a well designed and pedestrian friendly tunnel. To me, the ideal scenario would be for Hotel Indigo to provide much of the funding for tunnel construction and the City to use the money they would have spent on the tunnel to create a pedestrian infrastructure that would provide better access — not only for downtown and the neighborhoods to visit the warehouse district and the new tunnel — but also provide Hotel Indigo guests better access to downtown. I think would be a major improvement for everyone in the City.

  2. May 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    All you see is fresh paint and lights? It’s time for everyone to finally see an actual INNOVATIVE design for this city to connect to an amazing water and bayfront property that we have to offer. Can we finally get into the 21st century like most progressive cities in the US of A and start connecting our great, unique natural resources with our interests.

    You don’t like the cost based on other needs (like restrooms for example) Why did we spend the HUGE amount of money to tear down the structures on the Open Space? (i.e- the renovated financial building & the magnificent art deco brick building that could have housed a multitude of fantastic & creative sites like a year round farmers market, foodie kiosks, public restrooms, Etc,) Why?

    Why,does this community continue to get all wet & giddy over shit like Chicos opening? A bank on every corner? Acres of asphalt parking. (Can’t have people walking a 1/2 block.)
    Pedestrian tunnels save time & lives. My daughter & her baby, my friend in her wheelchair & my grandmother on her bicycle should NEVER play Frogger across Grandview Parkway on their way to enjoying life. This is a no Brainer for our town. If we truly want to be champions of safe accessibility, we need to be the largest PRO-ponents of accessibility for EVERYONE!! I’m tired of seeing this community tear down great buildings that could have worked very well on the waterfront, and then bitch that there is no where to pee. We should spend our money on moving people safely, effectively & accessibly throughout our city. It’s time to finally understand that ice cream cones, tee-shirts & fudge are no longer the economic drivers in this region. Don’t like a tunnel for accessibility for everyone? We could rent jet packs to cross the road! The money could go to more bike lanes.

    Thanks for the opportunity to rant on your fantastic blog. I really mean that! I love MWAT. I generally agree with most everything you bring to the table as the voice of reason for our area and continue to educate the masses to the virtues of smart commuting. Thanks for always taking the time & energy that no one else seems to have the time or the big balls to shout it out for us!!!!!

  3. May 25, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Thanks, Mike. Like the energy.

    I’m not opposed to tunnels, bridges or jet packs. I just don’t think any of them are a panacea for accessibility and done wrong are not efficient use of the money when there are at grade features that haven’t even been tried.

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