Sep 022016

building 103

by Ben Volpian…….

Why is Building 103 on the Truman Waterfront Park Quay important? Well, 2 major reasons: 1) The city, hopefully with help from the Tourist Development Council, is prepared to spend $5 million on the design and renovation project with preparations to begin in October. 2) If designed and renovated correctly, this building can be a great addition to not only the park, but also for the entire city.

Why do I say designed and renovated correctly? The way I see it, the building can or should be designed to be versatile and serve for a number of interesting activities including: Wedding Receptions, Meetings, a sound proofed Dance Hall, Parties for adults and kids and also for various community events and activities – as well as to contain a small Conch Café in the rear of the property. Some of these functions will be counted on for a Revenue Center as well as a go-to focal point of the city. The design should be one that will beautifully blend in with the surroundings of a somewhat rural city park, complement the nearby State Park, be classy yet simple and depending on the activity, guests can be equally comfortable in a tuxedo or evening dress or shorts and sandals.

The building, being adjacent to the Interactive Water Feature and Playground area, has a pavilion design on both sides and front of the building which can be used to provide shade for parents to sit and relax while watching their kids enjoy the Water Feature and Playground. Okay, that’s the Playground side of the building, now on the other side or Ocean side, you will get a spectacular view from both inside and out and just like the Playground side, the main premises will be fitted with large windows while the enclosed pavilion offers protection from bad weather and allows spill-off from events for people to take a break and get some fresh air.

building 103 sketch

The simple sketch as shown does not reflect any ‘window dressing’ such as blocks around the arches, a tiled roof, etc., but rather just a basic design. I will leave those drawings to someone else, and as far as HARC goes, this design keeps in mind the present shape of the existing building and at the same time, for example, reflects architecture around the island such as the Casa Marina’s arches.

Your next Truman Waterfront Advisory Board meeting is September 19, so let’s hear it if anyone has a better idea that I can pass on – and not renovating Building 103 is not an option as it appears it will happen sooner or later.

Editor’s Note: Ben Volpian is a member of the Truman Waterfront Advisory Board

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 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:28 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #182  Add comments

  4 Responses to “Building 103”

  1. Sounds and looks good to me, Ben. Thanks for your service on the Board.

  2. I appreciate your positive response, Mr. Boettger. That’s quite a compliment coming from someone of your stature, and for others that might not share your view, constructive criticism is also welcome.

  3. I’ve been reading Facebook comments of the question: “Truman Waterfront Park… what to do with Building 103… what do you think?”

    So far, a couple of people said Building 103 should be demolished which was what I originally thought and suggested some time ago. However, funds have been set aside for an architect to draw up plans with further plans to gut the building and ‘white box’ it – which is to stabilize the structure and get it ready for final renovation. HARC also doesn’t want the building to be demolished, just like they are also against leveling all of the Keys Energy buildings, and although I don’t know this for fact, it appears that they might be okay with keeping only one of those buildings intact.

  4. Building 103 uses: Okay, a recap of reader’s and other’s suggestions in addition to my ideas for the use and Revenue producing of Building 103: Big Market; place to sell Crafts, etc.; Bowling Alley; Cocktail Lounge; Restaurant; Maritime Museum; Mariel Boatlift Museum (using just a portion of the building); Conference Center; Demolish it and plant trees there; Open space.

    When I presented my Truman Waterfront Park Plan some time ago, I incorporated an idea into it that was made by one of my fellow Advisory Board members, and that was to have a few small Conch style houses for commercial use on the property. I suggested having three of these outlets located between the Navy Tower and the Keys Energy buildings and they were to be: ‘Cuba Aqui’ which would offer for sale Cuban made goods and clothing with Made in Cuba tags on them; A ‘Bahama Goods’ store with Bahamian imports and possibly locally made goods from locals with Bahamian ancestry; and seeing as there were no food or drink outlets yet, a ‘Snack Shack’ with just local type food like Cuban Sandwiches, Key Lime Pie, Conch Salad, etc. Not only would those stores have offered something exotic, interesting and fun, they would have also provided for our guests to the island an example of Conch architecture – which was an object that this Board Member wanted to project, and at the same time would also give locals something to appreciate. However, this idea was turned down by (BVRAC), the Bahama Village Redevelopment Advisory Committee.

    So, to combine some ideas and considering the Revenue aspect as well as providing something unique – part of the building could be utilized for the Mariel Boatlift Museum which could operate somewhat in conjunction with the ‘Cuba Aqui’ and ‘Bahama Goods’ outlets. Combine them with a ‘Conch Cafe’ and you’d end up with something out-of-the-ordinary. Would it work? Well, if the outlets were leased out, at least there would be a steady Revenue stream to help out with overhead, and there would still be enough room for a Conference Center, etc.

    Seeing as how the building will stay, I at least would like to see something there that is different in a Key West-kind-of-way, and that is also a reason I am suggesting that the design of the building should have pavilion style arches – instead of it being just one, big rectangle.