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Willy St. article

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Willy St. article

Postby narcoleptish » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:11 pm

I'm sure John Martens didn't mean to come off as smug and selfish in this article but that's exactly how I saw him. It's apparently fine when HE is doing the gentrification, investing lots of money, commanding premium rents, raising property values and taxes, but god forbid others might try to do the same. New buildings "lack imagination" in his words. First of all, there has been some very interesting stuff built including Lindsey Lee's house and the Warren commercial buildings. Secondly, Martens is involved with the very neighborhood association that probably stifles a lot of architectural creativity because it wouldn't blend in with the character of the neighborhood. The decline of social diversity he decries is a typical by-product of gentrification. If he misses the days of greasy spoons and welding shops so much maybe he should kick out Eldorado, lower the rents and get those places back in there. A better plan would be to enjoy his success and keep his mouth shut.
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Re: Willy St. article

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:39 pm

"There comes a time for every man who becomes rich and deserts his friends, when he goes back how it was. For me, that time is now."


We're seeing a trend of this kind of backward-looking behavior in Madison. Soglin re-redux, "Not my Madison", the State Street re-envisioning discussed in another thread--and this. To say nothing of every John Roach column ever, and W's draft team of Fitzgeralds in the Capitol trying to rewind everything to 1890.

For my part, I'm not a fan of what I think it says about the people wishing for such a retreat.
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Re: Willy St. article

Postby jjoyce » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:28 pm

I reluctantly moved out of the Willy St. neighborhood about 7 years ago and the same kvetching about gentrification was going on then, with the big condos going up near Mother Fools and the Crystal. Ironically, some of the kvetchers are those whose own practices led to the pricing out of the neighborhood's traditional inhabitants. I always thought that if you trumpet how cool your neighborhood is, you shouldn't get pissed when people want to move there to live or open businesses.

What's hilarious is how often people deride the Weary Traveler for being ostentatious. Remember Coyote Capers, the restaurant it replaced? I never went in there... way out of my price range when I lived just a few blocks away.

What I think has been going on in Willy Street is straight-up improvement, and mostly to properties in dire need of it. Shabby is great, but it's not sustainable. At some point, you have to rebuild and that's naturally going to lead to something more expensive that people are going to judge.
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Re: Willy St. article

Postby narcoleptish » Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:20 pm

I grew up near Atwood but spent much of my time around Orton Park were my best friends lived and I too think the majority of what's happened there has been an improvement, except of course the fucking speed bumps. I was priced out of the area south of Atwood/Willy long ago but I stopped being resentful and now just enjoy it from a few blocks north.


jjoyce wrote: Shabby is great, but it's not sustainable. At some point, you have to rebuild and that's naturally going to lead to something more expensive that people are going to judge.


Exactly. What is it about buildings that people expect them to last forever? Especially when they're made of wood. The whole part of the story involving the house across from Orton is just ridiculous. Martens and others on the Marquette Neighborhood Association's planning and development subcommittee (betcha that's a fun group) shot down the demolition request because the new house was GOING to look historic....to fit in with the neighborhood. Are you telling me they would have OK'd it if it was going to be a minimalist cube? What do these people want? I mean besides control over everything that happens in THEIR neighborhood.

I'm as averse to change and some people's idea of "progress" as any middle-ager or more, but having lived here both then and now, I'll take now.
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