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Langdon Local Historic District

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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby tdogg » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:47 pm

rabble wrote:I walked around the the Iota court area maybe a couple months ago. I remember it being sorta run down but far from blighted. Could use some fixin up. I guess I should go take another look but I don't remember seeing anything that couldn't be fixed.


The co-ops seem to be complaining about 145 Iota Court. I was in the place three years ago and it was a dump! Beyond rehab. The kitchens were on the exterior of the building and the showers were without a basin. Just a drain next to the toilet.

Madison Historic Trust agreed with demolition, just opposed the architecture building proposed. Height didn't sound like a problem. Probably should have returned to UDC to sort that out.

snoqueen wrote:People living there now (I liked the quoted messages) want the scale of the neighborhood to remain small. The older buildings that give the area its charm and atmosphere are around three stories.


The height limit on Langdon is five stories and that seems fair. Someday the behemoth tower on Langdon and the one on Gilman will be demoed and the neighborhood can return to a smaller scale. Although I fail to see how the new building on Iota doesn't fit that vision. There are five story buildings scattered throughout that neighborhood.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stebben84 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:15 pm

rabble wrote:How many stories in a high rise?


That depends on where it's being built. I would say in that area, anything over 10 stories could be considered a high rise because of the size of the surrounding building. A 10 story building in downtown Chicago is probably not considered a high rise.

rabble wrote:Are you saying you're okay with tearing down some buildings and building new ones because the new ones will be only five or six stories and that's not a high rise, but high rise would be bad?


Not necessarily. First off, I'm saying I don't consider what is being proposed a high rise. It's my opinion and others can differ. Also, I don't take issue with those buildings being town down because I personally don't see architectural significance in them. My opinion again. I am fine with them being torn down and replaced because I happen to like the look of the new buildings from the renderings. I do think putting something much taller in the area would be a mistake because of the surrounding building heights. Granted this development is taller, but not by much more than is already there.

rabble wrote:I guess I should go take another look but I don't remember seeing anything that couldn't be fixed.


I guess it depends on the integrity of those buildings on the inside. I also think the area is poorly laid out and I happen to like the layout of the new buildings. With that said, good luck cooltapes and we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Igor » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:47 pm

Infill is more of a Midvale Boulevard thing...
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby jjoyce » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:27 pm

I love the idea that the "charm" of Langdon Street should be maintained and carefully protected. It makes me giggle.

I lived at 10 Langdon Street from 1991-93. I enjoyed my time there, but was 21-23 (senior years I and II) and belonged to a fraternity which occupied the property for maybe five years, during which time any charm it had when we moved in was beaten out of it. I walked the length of the street each day and would not describe what I encountered as charming. It's a student ghetto.

We had pals who lived in the frat house at 14(?) Langdon, which had the distinction of being located on Langdon Street and the lakefront at the same time (also reputedly designed by, if not actually built by, Frank Lloyd Wright). These were some rich guys, so rich that they never really seemed to care about anything. That also made them sort of fun to hang out with and I remember once spending an afternoon on their back deck launching water balloons filled with some kind of noodle dish prepared by their house cook (rich, right?) over the adjacent houses and onto the intersection of Langdon and Carroll.

See? Charming!

That neighborhood, like Wisconsin Ave. and other areas of what most of us know to be "downtown," is capable of being more urban. Buildings can and should be larger, but definitely with more capacity for parking. The behemoth structures built farther down Langdon five years irreversibly changed the atmosphere of the street. The cows are out of the barn.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby you must be joking » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:52 pm

After consideration of the arguments put forth, it really doesn't make a bit of difference what anyone thinks except the City Council. Time and time again this community has watched while the council in its wisdom has decided to practice their brand of "urban renewal" on another area of the city. This has been done all the while ignoring the will of the people. The Midvale Plaza project comes to mind when thinking of this.

All this is based on of course the concept of Urban In-fill. This is why we now have the "canyon row" of apartment buildings that have sprung up on University Ave. (So much for the Council's disdain for "Big boxes".)

So when all is said and done it won't really make a darn bit of difference what the residents of Langdon Street think, or how big or how tall any new building on that or any other street in Madison are allowed. It only matters that eventually that all citizens of the land of Madison come to accept the all-knowing, all seeing powers of the Council.

After all, here in Madison and Dane County we the people are seen by many in the political class as "Subjects" not "Citizens".
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby lukpac » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:09 pm

you must be joking wrote:After all, here in Madison and Dane County we the people are seen by many in the political class as "Subjects" not "Citizens".


Umm, what?
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Ducatista » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:56 pm

snoqueen wrote:I agreed with the letter-writer (in cooltapes message above) who says true high-rises (like, really tall buildings) are just fine over by University Ave, and keeping the Langdon Area smaller is a way the city can have its cake (density, newer and more efficient housing) and eat it too (by preserving the best of the old). That's my wording not hers.

Right. Her wording was closer to "Put your density next to somebody else's house, and leave my lake view alone."
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby SlayerDave » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:40 pm

jjoyce wrote:I love the idea that the "charm" of Langdon Street should be maintained and carefully protected. It makes me giggle...



I came around about 15 years after you (non-frat though), and I am in near 100% agreement with this post.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Cooltapes » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:59 pm

SlayerDave wrote:
jjoyce wrote:I love the idea that the "charm" of Langdon Street should be maintained and carefully protected. It makes me giggle...



I came around about 15 years after you (non-frat though), and I am in near 100% agreement with this post.


Yeah well, it makes me giggle that there's this funky, alternative local weekly which claims to represent this part of the city, and I'm pretty sure it used to, but is now staffed by yuppies and snobs who look down their nose at those who try to do something positive for their neighborhood. I'm probably going to laugh out loud when both the isthmus and the Isthmus are gentrified to point of irony.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby talagaster » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:39 am

Cooltapes wrote:I'm probably going to laugh out loud when both the isthmus and the Isthmus are gentrified to point of irony.


You don't see the paychecks I get from Isthmus. Trust me, that place isn't gentrified quite yet.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby snoqueen » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:58 am

Yeah well, it makes me giggle that there's this funky, alternative local weekly which claims to represent this part of the city, and I'm pretty sure it used to, but is now staffed by yuppies and snobs who look down their nose at those who try to do something positive for their neighborhood. I'm probably going to laugh out loud when both the isthmus and the Isthmus are gentrified to point of irony.


I don't want to cause this topic to disintegrate into stupidness the way so many do, but there's a lot of truth in this paragraph. I've been reading Isthmus since Issue #1, and it's changed. Of course it has. The times changed and the people changed, or grew older. This is not wrong, it just is. (OK, the paychecks may be another matter...)

I wouldn't blame Madison's newer generation for starting a new newspaper. In a way they already have, on line, but it's in so many pieces we can't point to one site or two and say "there it is." While it's not exactly accurate to say Isthmus once represented the Langdon part of town, cooltapes's point stands. (The campus-centered part of town in the mid-20th century was more about the Daily Cardinal, Badger Herald, and Kaleidoscope/Take Over, for historical purposes but not relevant here.)

The Langdon area hasn't changed that much, not quite yet. Some might think it's decayed, but from my viewpoint it hasn't. It's always had messy spoiled rich-kid housing where they throw food, grubby and fun coops (those date to 1967 if I am correct -- I can make a few quick emails and get verification if we want to digress), a few really ugly tall structures like the one somebody mentioned earlier on Gilman, along with what might be called "good bones" (snob-sounding term that it is). It's still got a significant stock of substantial older housing, some in good shape and some not. By substantial I mean not what's on the 400 block of W. Mifflin, for comparison.

Now various forces are trying to catch Langdon up to what's happening over on Johnson with La Ciel et al. It's the change-over-time process Isthmus has undergone, just in residential not journalistic form. I think Langdon can go a different way if its residents work hard -- maybe. This takes a sustained effort that never lets up (you're constantly on defense) and requires building political connections along with neighborhood organization. The results could be retention of the small-scale character of several blocks in a lakefront neighborhood. This succeeded in the Wil-Mar neighborhood in the 70s so there is precedent, but you will likely see gentrification (think expensive) as has occurred in the lakefront parts of Wil-Mar. Fixing up older buildings is not cheap, but to provide more than one kind of student-centric neighborhood and housing seems seems worthwhile just because people and their housing preferences are so different.

Is there a third way? I think a few people here are saying there is, although I'm not real clear on the details. Maybe they're advocating a mixture of tall-new and old-short. I think this gets clumsy when you consider view, sunlight, scale, and a few other factors, so I'd like more detail. But repeating the past is definitely not the only way to guide change, and quite possibly it can't be done anyway.

However, absent any efforts to steer in another direction, cooltapes is right. Given the prevailing market forces, things either completely fall apart or get "gentrified to the point of irony," and the La Ciel-on-Langdon (or on the lake) model will prevail.

In my experience, the lively part of town is a moving feast and over time different areas receive attention, are settled by younger people, artists, and whoever's there, are stabilized, get boring (from the viewpoint of the next generation) and the cycle repeats. If you give up on Langdon there's always somewhere else, much as I'd hate to see Langdon-land disappear.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:20 am

snoqueen wrote:I don't want to cause this topic to disintegrate into stupidness


Too late.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby gargantua » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:49 am

I saw Cooltapes' post as sour grapes. The discussion isn't going the way he/she wants, someone from Isthmus disagrees with Cooltapes' and Snoqueen's position. Therefore Isthmus has changed, gotten older, snobbier.

Or: Maybe you're wrong. Ever think of that? It's really, really, hard, and perhaps not even desirable, to try to freeze significant parts of a growing, vital city in amber.

So I guess I'm just an old, gentrified snob for thinking that.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby jjoyce » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:25 pm

Gentrified?!?!

Langdon Street?!?!

The only way that part of town loses its character is if beer stops being produced.

Langdon Street is populated, to an overwhelming degree, by upper-middle-class students from other states whose parents are paying their rent. What's to gentrify? Are you really trying to say that there are blue-collar families living on Iota Court that will no longer be able to afford to live there when these six-story "high rises" go up?
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby MarcoPolo » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:47 pm

jjoyce wrote:Gentrified?!?!

Langdon Street?!?!

The only way that part of town loses its character is if beer stops being produced.

Langdon Street is populated, to an overwhelming degree, by upper-middle-class students from other states whose parents are paying their rent. What's to gentrify? Are you really trying to say that there are blue-collar families living on Iota Court that will no longer be able to afford to live there when these six-story "high rises" go up?


No what they are saying is two fold;

1) The few small apartments and houses on Langdon populated by middle class and low income students, a lot of them students of color or students from smaller rural communities will be further priced out and replaced by expensive apartments those students can't afford. Two of the newer buildings in that area are charging somewhere between 750$ to 900$ a bedroom. There are people living just up the road in Tenney whose mortgages aren't this expensive.

2) The type of density on University, the so-called apartment canyon, will be replicated on Langdon. I happen to think that density in high traffic areas is better than destabilizing residential neighborhoods, or even pseudo ones like Langdon, so the canyon works for me on University, but not on Langdon.

The coops and Greeks probably should continue their joint efforts together, as they seem pretty unified in opposing projects like these.
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