I have a background in urban planning so there's possibility that my views may differ from others. I've been giving a lot of thought to this proposed project and am beginning to think that the best use for these two very small parcels is to follow a somewhat similar pattern to the low-rise development of Millenium Plaza. My concept suggests a mixed-use development with street level retail and upper level(s) residential.
One of the criticisms about the Wizer development is that it doesn't provide enough retail space. I agree. If the North Anchor had a retail component it would not only address that criticism but as the anchor to the north end of downtown, generate additional shopper traffic for the shops between Millenium and the North Anchor.
As for the residential component, I would suggest that consideration be given to include condominiums, not apartments. My thinking is that as more shops and small scale entertainment opportunities are injected into the downtown mix, the added vitality they bring will generate an increased desire for some to make their homes downtown. It's a well-documented pattern seen in both large and medium size cities.
I would like to offer my views on using either of these parcels for a park as some suggest. I'm quite familiar with this area and my thought is that even with a new development the current and future pedestrian patterns suggest that users of the park may end up being limited primarily to neighborhood residents. While there's nothing wrong with that, unlike Millenium Plaza which generates multiple opportunities for the public to interact, a park at the North Anchor may not be able to mirror the vitality Millenium creates.
Finally, from previous comments on this thread I see that some believe the North Anchor site might alleviate some of the downtown parking problems that have been emerging.
Because of the small footprint of either parcel, I would caution that an effcient, cost effective below or above ground multi-level parking facility may be very diffcult to achieve and while problem will contine to grow, a more amibitious effort to solve it may need to be considered.
I look forward to following the conversation on this exciting opportunity for LO and if a citizen's steering committee were to be established I'd be honored to be considered.