September 15, 2011 | Bob Dunn | Architects, Architecture, In the Media, Local / Regional

Update: Flying Saucer Saved

A handful of newspeople, students, and other interested parties braved the unpleasantly cold and windy evening to attend the unveiling of 2 new renderings for 212 South Grand Boulevard (formerly the Del Taco building) by developer Rick Yackey. The images (see below – my apologies for the poor cell phone images), produced by Klitzing Welsch Associates, show the building restored quite faithfully to its original form. The renovation would expand the building’s rentable area to about 4,800 SF, which Yackey would split between 2 tenants. Without naming names, Yackey revealed he has been in negotiations with 2 national outfits, most likely a restaurant and coffee shop. The public should know within 60 days.

Developer Rick Yackey, left, and Alderwoman Marlene Davis
Developer Rick Yackey, left, and Alderwoman Marlene Davis

What is unclear is how the site will be developed. Given the improvements to Grand Blvd. currently being made by the city, one would hope the new site design would be more accommodating to the modes of transportation more frequently taken by the students who will likely constitute the majority of the establishments’ patronage, i.e. walking, cycling, and public transportation.

Yackey with Richard Henmi, AIA, the building's original architect
Yackey with Richard Henmi, AIA, the building's original architect

Also in attendance were Richard Henmi, who originally designed the building while with Schwarz & Van Hoefen Architects in the mid-60s, and Ward 19 Alderwoman, Marlene Davis. When asked for his opinion on the proposed redesign, Mr. Henmi was succinct: “I like it.”

Worth noting is a comment by Ms. Davis, who said that one of the major factors in the building’s reuse was all the public attention generated over the building. It’s good to know the good fights are still worth fighting.

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