02 July 2007

Peeling back the layers

If you haven't had a chance to download the ballpark village plan at the Merc's website, you really should. It's a good snapshot of what the developer's vision is now, prior to an inevitable series of changes - hopefully all for the good.

While studying the plan further over the weekend, I noticed that some graphical elements would quickly flash on the screen and then disappear as I scrolled through the drawing. I had seen this with my own mock-ups, which got me thinking there was more to this document than met the eye. I proceeded to open the file in a graphics program. Lo and behold - there was more under the surface!

I thought it was odd that the condos (yellow-gold) would be arranged in large, monolithic buildings. Upon further inspection, there was a good deal of extra space set aside for parking. Since there are 560 residential units in the core village area, there would have to be at least that many spaces for residents, plus a set number of visitor spots. The rest of the parking could be split between the retail part of the village and the ballpark. I'm assuming there'd be one level of garage parking, but it's possible there could be two levels. The layout of the residential-only buildings allows for large plazas above the parking, which will be needed as all of the elements are set rather tightly with limited amounts of open space at street level.

When looking at the plan it's easy to ignore the legend at the right. The legend's explanations pull everything together - sort of. The numbers deserve to be explained further - and once that's done it starts to really take shape.
  • Building B1 - Ballpark
  • B2 - Left field building, mixed use, 11 residences
  • B3 - Right field building, mixed use, 13 residences
  • V1 - Residential, 89 units
  • V2 - Commercial, 140,000 s.f.
  • V3 - Residential, 87 units
  • V4 - Mixed use, 44 units, 48,000 s.f.
  • V5 - Residential, 57 units
  • V6 - Mixed use, 24 units, 56,000 s.f.
  • V7 - Mixed use, 28 units, 71,000 s.f.
  • V8 - Commercial, 30,000 s.f.
  • V9 - Mixed use, 100 units, 77,000 s.f.
  • V10 - Mixed use, 23 units, 34,000 s.f.
  • V11 - Mixed use, 52 units, 29,000 s.f.
  • V12 - Commercial, 3,000 s.f.
  • V13 - Mixed use, 54 units, 30,000 s.f.
V11, V12, and V13 are not labeled in the drawing, but I'm certain that V11 and V13 are the J-shaped buildings attached to B2 and B3, while V12 is effectively a glorified kiosk in the middle of the park. BTW, it looks like B2 and B3 will have residences overlooking the field.

V9 has to be the busiest piece outside of the ballpark because it contains the hotel, a relatively large amount of parking, and 100 housing units to boot. V2 and V7 are potential homes for larger retailers.

The core village is over 20% smaller than Santana Row in terms of acreage and retail/commercial space. There are fewer than half the residences as well. While the buildings will vary in height and cladding, they probably won't be as tall as their Santana Row counterparts.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the ballpark's footprint. The artist placed a bitmap over the top of the footprint, but I removed it and what's left is a most unusual outfield design. There's no indication that the Polo Grounds-like outfield will carry over to the final project. Nonetheless it is a change of pace from the all too commonplace bandbox design we've seen elsewhere. This is one element I'd take with a grain of salt.