Levitan: Making the debate 'more real.'
Lots of people have criticized the proposal by Jerome Frautschi and Pleasant Rowland for the 100 block of State Street. But the controversial plan has also stirred people's imaginations about what could happen with the historic block adjacent to the Overture Center.
One of the critics, the chairman of the Landmarks Commission, Stu Levitan, has his own ideas for what to do, and he's enlisted an architect and illustrator to help him present an alternative.
Unlike a proposal by the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation, Levitan's proposal doesn't preserve all of the buildings on the block. He sacrifices the Buell building at 121-123 State St. (currently Eye Contact) and the Haswell building at 117-119 State St. (formerly Frida restaurant).
However, like the Madison Trust, Levitan would save the landmark Schubert building, 120 W. Mifflin St., and the Fairchild/Stark building at the corner of Mifflin and Fairchild streets.
Why go to the trouble of pitching an alternative vision on property you don't own for developers who don't appear interested in other ideas?
"There's a difference between explaining in words what your concept is and showing someone a picture," Levitan says. "I believe there's an aphorism about that."
He adds that he wants both the Plan Commission and Common Council to see another possibility when it votes on the Frautschi-Rowland project.
"If you put this vision up against their vision... one saves the Fairchild building, one doesn't. It makes the debate more real," Levitan says. "We could accomplish the things the developers want without demolishing the Fairchild building."