Earlier this week, someone mailed me a package with no name on the envelope, no return address–nothing. I like those! Inside were architectural drawings and a note saying these were the plans that the developers currently ripping up Fourth Street in SanTana to de-Mexify it have in store for the future of the strip.
The first picture we'll examine is looking north on the intersection of Spurgeon and Third streets. The building at the right is the historic Yost Theater,
the structure infamously stolen by the city from the Olivos family back in the mid-1980s. And look at that Mexican in Stetson on the bike cycling down Third! Let's call him the Ghost of Calle Cuatro because his ilk are disappearing from the scene. Now, the proposed renaissance:
The view is directly under the marquee of the Yost. Where there were once gazebos, shade and a carousel will now be sterile park benches like in the Artists Village and an ornate fountain–just like the one in the Artists Village. Wonder if that'll cost taxpayers half a million dollars as well?
Right now, that spot is occupied by a tiled mosaic of the Virgin of Guadalupe that has watched over Calle Cuatro for years, the very Empress of the Americas at the top of this post. Is it going to get disappeared, or was its exclusion from the plans an honest Brave New Urbanist oversight? Enquiring minds want to know!
Next up is the view looking north on Bush Street from Fourth Street. This is how it roughly looks now:
Now, the renaissance:
Look, I'm all for removing fraudulent Mission Revival-style architecture from the county, and I think we can all agree stucco should disappear from the Earth, but the above design replaces that cliché with a loft look–indeed, my first reaction was that they look like the cousins of the Santiago Lofts, and those look like the lofts I saw in the gentrifying parts of Denver. And those lofts look like some I've seen in Los Angeles. And those . . . you get the picture. And that two-story window thing (sorry, I'm not an architecture geek) that replaced the mock bell tower looks like part of the design scheme at Chapman University–and I don't mean that in a kind way.
Finally, a look south on Spurgeon and Fourth. This is an older shot because the carousel is still in it.
What happened to Mariscos Tampico? Does it know it's at the very least going to lose its sign? Can I get the phone number of the chick in the daisy dukes and chaps in the center? And why do I get the nagging feeling I've seen this building before–did I see this design at a Walgreen's? A Shoe City? Wait . . . that looks like Chapman!
Sorry, Brave New Urbanists, but what ustedes are proposing is as sterile as a scalpel before open-heart surgery. This is the “renaissance” for downtown? I might as well venture to Aliso Viejo.