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Plans for Santa Rosa's Museum on the Square revised again

  • A revised proposal for the Museum on the Square project, set to be presented to the Santa Rosa City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. (Credit: TLCD Architecture)

The Museum on the Square is getting yet another make-over, this time a scaling back of a glass facade that is proving too pricey.

Developer Hugh Futrell on Tuesday will ask the Santa Rosa City Council to sign off on a new design for the vacant former AT&T building, slated as the future home of Luther Burbank Savings.

The previous design called for the north side of the building to be covered in a curtain wall, a modern non-load-bearing wall of glass.

But the feverish pace of development in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area has put a high demand on the window glazing required for that feature, Futrell explained in a letter to the council.

This could delay the project further and jeopardize the ability of Luther Burbank Savings, which must move in by 2014, to occupy the building, he wrote.

If the project is delayed, the bank might decide to move its 200 administrative employees out of downtown and into a business park or to Southern California, where it has other operations, Futrell said.

In addition to the timing issues, there are other concerns. The numerous interior shear walls that would be needed to support the curtainwall design are estimated to cost $1.2 million. The shear walls also would interfere with the functioning of the California Wine Discovery Museum on the first floor, Futrell explained.

For these reason, Futrell submitted a revised set of plans by TLCD Architecture calling for less of the exterior concrete wall to be removed, reducing the amount of glazed windows needed.

He said the changes are the final hurdle before construction, planned for early 2014, can begin.

The effort to redevelop the AT&T building, a vacant windowless eyesore, has been the city's highest profile downtown development project for years. Though much anticipated, it has been plagued by setbacks including the demise of the city's redevelopment agency, which owned the building, the loss of the Sonoma County Museum as a tenant, and a challenging financing climate.

(You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @citybeater)


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