Living: He Digs Downtown

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Profits, of course, are essential to the success of all Rouse enterprises: profits not only for the developer but for the city as well. "Architects," says Rouse, "are interested in using design and material to make statements. They are not always interested in people. We're interested in designing places for people." Critics of what has been called Faneuilization denigrate

Harborplace on aesthetic grounds. Nory Miller, an associate editor of Progressive Architecture, maintains that "the buildings of Harborplace are a mash of cliches —high tech, antique store, postwar modern, 19th century band shell and pavilion-by-the-sea—not well reconciled to each other nor resolved in themselves." Miller likens Harborplace to "Atlantic City's boardwalk with a touch of Disneyland."

But this opinion is not shared by city planners and urbanologists, who see in the Rouse Co. philosophy of pleasure and profitability a talisman for urban revitalization. The most important of its current ventures:

South Street Seaport, Manhattan. A pet project of Mayor Edward Koch's since he first saw Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the $250 million venture as now envisioned will encompass eleven blocks of New York's oldest neighborhood. It will include expansion of the sprightly but small South Street Seaport Museum, renovation and expansion of the venerable Fulton Fish Market and construction of a pavilion for restaurants and shops that Ben Thompson has designed. To be completed, in its first phase, by the end of 1983, the development, which is a short walk from Wall Street, may bring a little Baltimore pizazz to a moribund area of Manhattan.

The Grand Avenue, Milwaukee. A $60 million, three-level shopping mall in the heart of downtown, the development will link two existing department stores three blocks apart. With financing from private and public sources (the Rouse Co. plans to invest about $15 million), the 245,000-sq.-ft. project is constructed around a 1915 landmark, the Plankinton Arcade, which is being brilliantly restored. Estimated completion date: spring, 1982.

St. Louis Station. The most challenging venture now on the company's boards, this will entail redevelopment of an abandoned railroad passenger terminal and 56 acres of rail yard six blocks from the fringes of downtown St. Louis; it will include a hotel and offices as well as stores and restaurants.

Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco. A $350 million effort, in conjunction with Toronto-based real estate giant Olympia & York, to turn a 21-acre former Skid Row into a complex of festival-marketplace facilities, cafes, an amusement park inspired by Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens, and an underground convention center, which is nearing completion.

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