A year ago, the nine-story Waterhouse project consisted of twin towers rising above Water Street. But because of financing issues and some “green” thinking, architect and developer Bill Atwood has put together a new design that is much greener—and smaller.
“Our concept is to have a park-like element on the project now,” he says. “On top of the parking garage, there will be a water catchment element, and in that park setting, there will be some one-or-two-story cottages. It’s only a single tower now.”
Atwood’s previous Waterhouse
Atwood says he had to redesign the project to be more intune with a new green paradigm that has replaced a “build it big” mentality. “It’s just the way things are from this point forward,” he says. “We think that the concept is green, the green you can experience, not just ‘the green roof,’ but the green to walk around and through.”
Instead of a second tower, the project will have a cluster of cottages, an estimated 12 units, dispersed throughout the ‘park,’ a public space that Atwood says will be open to the community. The remaining tower features a rainwater collection system that will create a series of irrigation outlets, much like Atwood’s other project at the former Under the Roof building on West Main Street. Phase I, the sole tower, will feature 10 residential units, which Atwood calls “very boutique.” The parking garage will rest under the public park.
The current financial crisis strained the project. A $345,743 lien was put on the property by a general contractor, J.E. Jamerson and Sons, but Atwood says it has been settled.
“I don’t really see this recession as a financial thing, I think it’s a cultural earthquake,” he says.
Although a construction delay was due, in part, to an oil tank found under the building, securing financing has been a problem. “We had a loan commitment with Lehman Brothers, and they went bankrupt. So we were struggling,” says Atwood. Referencing the recent
The latest design scraps a second tower for 12 cottages and a park Atwood says will be open to the public.
public spat between Landmark Hotel owner Halsey Minor and his financial partners, Atwood says the banking industry has been turned upside down.
“We are in an environment right now where, for the first time in my 35 years [in the business], there are people actually questioning whether banks can keep their commitments,” Atwood says. “It’s gotten that bad.”
The new and revamped Waterhouse design will be presented to the BAR in the immediate future, though a date has not been set. Atwood, however, says construction will start up again this week.
“We look to get right into the next year and a half, and be done with it,” he says. “But it’s not the same project. It’s not as big, it’s not as difficult to do, and not as expensive to develop.”
The design will feature 14,000 square feet of commercial space, which will include Atwood’s office.