Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Thu, Oct. 17

Office building would be an outstanding addition<BR>

I have followed the new office building planned for the intersection of Sheldon and Montezuma through all the hand-wringing of those who wish to preserve the status quo of our town's architecture.

Let's dispense with the term "high rise." You find high-rise buildings in downtown Dallas, New York or San Francisco. A five-story building, even in Prescott is not a "high rise." Opponents use the word as a pejorative term.

Prescott's town plaza is indeed a lovely place, and we should preserve it as part of our town's historic legacy. However, if one walks off the square for one block in any direction, the town's "diversity" of architecture immediately becomes apparent.

Consider, the north side of the 300 Block of Gurley Street and McCormick Street north. This, the epicenter of the Wooly Left in Prescott, is home to a natural food store, a Yoga Center, a coffee shop and several art galleries around the corner. It's representative of the sort of commerce we can expect from the Summit Building's nay-sayers. It is squalid and run down.

The same is true of nearly every other quadrant of the town outside the town plaza itself. Some buildings are nicely built. Some appear to be falling down very slowly. It's a ramshackle hodgepodge of conflicting styles. So, if one uses the term "diversity" to include both decent buildings and eyesores, one can say that Prescott possesses architectural "diversity" in abundance.

The corner of Sheldon and Montezuma streets is such a place. At this intersection one can see a machine shop, an outdoor café, a low-budget boarding house and what used to be York Motors. None of these edifices delights the eye. Nor do they represent much in the way of jobs, which Prescottonians badly need.

People have long complained that if you want to live in Prescott, you had better bring your job with you. The new office building would provide a great many jobs, both during its construction phase and later on as a financial center. Prescott needs white-collar jobs, and the professional people working in the Summit Building would in turn require the services and goods of the rest of the community. This is a good thing.

As for blocking sight lines, I challenge anyone standing on either side of Whiskey Row to tell me that they can see Thumb Butte. Nor can you do so from Cortez Street, especially on the block where Terry Hanley's antique store sits. Hanley's building is blocking my sight line of Thumb Butte from Cortez Street.

On the other hand, the people who work in the Summit building are going to have to look at the back of her building. It's part of the "diversity" I mentioned above.

The sight line issue is absurd. Anyone who wants to enjoy nature in Prescott needs only to drive 10 minutes in any direction.

Those who defend Prescott's historical architecture should realize that there's hardly anything to defend.

The size of the building is immaterial. It's only one story taller than the norm in a low part of town. The building will improve the surrounding neighborhood.

Prescott needs the jobs and Prescottonians need the work. This is a straight property rights issue.

(The author is a local small-businessman.)

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