An interesting transformation is taking place at the old J.C. Penny's building downtown. Never really an impressive building, it always seemed like some kind of a placeholder in downtown's urban fabric; a big brick box pretty much describes it to this day. Part of the challenge with the building as it relates to the street is it's mass. Blame it on the 70's. The original parcels in downtown ran at 25' to 50' intervals giving pedestrians an ever changing experience as they passed from building to building. Contrary to this pattern, the Penney's building ran the full length. Looking north across Main to the Riverpark Square you can see how they've tried to recreate this older massing of smaller parcels and storefronts that are more human in scale.
Still, we're excited to see the Penny's building finally opening up to the street. We took some photos today of the new Penney's. The blank walls are being carved up, and the second and third floors are finally seeing some light. Though the massing is unchanged, the building is finally giving back to the street it occupies.