Friday, February 4, 2011

4th and Columbia Buildout

Keeping the county in the city: a closer look at Site #6

I've taken a closer look at a potential buildout at 4th and Columbia Streets (site #6 on my previous post) for county offices. The scheme might also be able to incorporate a new city police station and/or courthouse. My main goal was to see how much space could be created with buildings comparable in scale to the existing county office building at 410 State. In other words, I wasn't trying to make architecture or engage the nuances of a more proper urban design undertaking.

The exercise yielded three buildings of about 30,000 s.f. each (3 floors @ 10,000+/- s.f.) for a total of about 90,000 s.f. of new space. This is within spitting distance of the county's 100,000 s.f. target, and it exceeds it when the existing 30,000 s.f. building is included. With a more accurate site plan, it is conceivable that only two new buildings would be needed to meet county needs, with the third used for the police and/or court.

As noted in my previous post, the county also needs about 200 parking spaces. The garage I've drawn below is probably generous (although not so generous to TSL, whose parking lot I've commandeered), perhaps as much as three times that size. So if the TSL site were to become available to build on, the garage likely wouldn't be as offensive as what I've shown.

If compelled to live in separate buildings, the county would like them to be linked. Overhead connectors must be ruled out, however, as they improperly territorialize public streets. Instead, city infrastructure allowing, I'm suggesting underground connectors (right), which would be suited to use by employees on foul weather days. The rest of the time, it would be better if workers used the outdoors in moving between buildings to activate city streets. I would discourage any such connector between any of the buildings and the garage, however, as morning and evening commuters should likewise walk the streets.

Next time I will look at the buildout potential of the mid-300 Columbia site (Site #5 on my previous post; left side of above photos). 


  1. Your speaking about the Mayor's Plan B to include DSS. I'm sure he'd be happy to show you the plans and the costs associated. It does include a 200 car garage.

  2. I think that plan located the garage on the corner of 4th and Columbia. I would avoid a corner siting if at all possible, as it makes the garage--the ugliest building type there is--much too visible and dominant. There are other reasons to not site the garage there... more another time.

  3. I really like this idea, for whatever my opinion is worth. I walk by these sites a lot, and as I've learned what used to be there, I'm saddened at the gaping holes that are left behind. This plan seems sensible, integral to Hudson, and well, pleasant. A question, though: Is this proposed garage only for employees and citizens conducting business with the county? Could it be available during non-business hours for visitors to Warren Street, TSL, Helsinki, etc? (of course it would be up to the county...)

    I realize that not all of Columbia County resides in Hudson, and moving the County offices to the old WalMart building makes a lot of sense to some. But it's sad, a step backward for the city of Hudson. It would take a lot of life out of the city, when so many have for so long been working to put life back IN. This plan allows for a better quality county/city/community.

  4. Reuse, my presumption and I believe that of anyone suggesting a county garage, is that the garage would be available for general public use. I also envision the police using it to store their vehicles, as they can't be digging them out of the snow every time they have to go out on a call. (I live behind the police station now, and watch them wrestle daily with a bad parking situation.)

    If the garage were located where I've shown and the police were housed in the building next to it (on the east corner of 3rd and Columbia), they would have easy direct access to it from the station. A police presence in the garage would make it safer, as garages can feel, if not in fact sometimes be, unsafe.

    I'd like to see the garage incorporate even more uses, such as ground floor retail and perhaps a rooftop community garden. Maybe the facade could be covered with photovoltaic panels. The more uses, the safer and more interesting the building will be.

    The financial mechanics are a big question mark. The county would be the primary tenant, but would they want to foot the entire bill for construction? And if the county was willing to do this, what influence would the cityhave over its design? (Probably little to none.) All in all, the city needs to get out in front of the process; if we wait for the county to make its decision on whether it stays in or leaves the city, it will either leave Hudson because of no parking or it will build a garage that is bad for the city.