New plans for Jacks Urban Meeting Place are more refined and address concerns that committee members raised, Design Review manager Sarah Schafer said.
In addition to a toned-down color scheme, Schafer said, the designs incorporate different building materials. Concrete construction takes the place of steel supports in an above-ground parking garage that committee members worried would be vulnerable to fire. Gone, too, is a suite of copper panels originally slated to adorn the parking structure.
Three yellow, red and amber slides included in early drawings have been replaced by two shorter, subtler versions city officials found more palatable.
It becomes a much more cohesive look, Schafer said. Now its much better. Its much more simple.
Thomas Zabala, an architect who serves on the committee but didnt when the original JUMP plans were submitted, said his immediate impression of the old design was that it wasnt appropriate for the Downtown setting. It appeared to be almost a theme park, Zabala said.
I had my concerns about the project in terms of whether it was a fitting piece of urban architecture, he said.
Zabala will have a chance to fully examine the new plans, which Design Review staff has recommended that committee members approve.
The Simplot family, which wants to build JUMP as a memorial to patriarch J.R. Simplot, could then present the plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission, whose approval would pave the way for application for a building license.
Simplot spokesman David Cuoio said theres no firm date for a groundbreaking, but he expects the project located between 9th, 11th, Myrtle and Front streets, to be complete by the summer of 2014.
A TORTURED PATH
The back-and-forth over JUMP has occupied the city and the Simplot family for nearly two years.
After the Design Review Committee denied the Simplots application in 2010, the family appealed the decision to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The commission approved the application but attached conditions, requiring the Simplots to rework several design aspects that city officals deemed objectionable. In March 2011, the City Council directed the Simplots to put together new, more detailed plans of what the complex would look like.
Former Councilman Alan Shealy said the process was painful but necessary.
Im glad that we went through the flaming hoops that we did, because I think its a better project for it, Shealy said.
Construction of an underground parking garage at the six-acre site started this spring. It will be designated primarily for use by J.R. Simplot Co. employees, Cuoio said, but could double as public parking space for special events on nights and weekends.
UNLIKE ANYTHING THAT EXISTS
Cuoio said the Simplot family envisions JUMP as a museum, event venue and general space for the public to enjoy and learn new skills and crafts. The landscape around the building will feature a park atmosphere.
Just imagine a combination park and creativity-learning center, Cuoio said. Its going to be unlike anything that exists. Were encouraging the public to consider this their living room.
Sven Berg: 377-6275