SOM proposal submitted

A visualization of Lord Norman Foster’s ARC ’62 sleek plans for the new School of Management campus.
A visualization of Lord Norman Foster’s ARC ’62 sleek plans for the new School of Management campus. Photo by Taylor Lasley.

Yale is one step closer to starting construction on the new School of Management campus.

Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93, University associate vice president for New Haven and state affairs, submitted to the Board of Aldermen last Tuesday a proposal to start the construction. At its biweekly meeting tonight, the Board of Aldermen will begin to discuss the SOM development, as well as a license agreement to install utility lines underneath the site, which is located on Whitney Avenue and Sachem Street.

A visualization of Lord Norman Foster’s ARC ’62 sleek plans for the new School of Management campus.
A visualization of Lord Norman Foster’s ARC ’62 sleek plans for the new School of Management campus.

“We’ve been working on the plans, facilities and University planning,” Morand said in an interview Friday. “And for more than a year, we’ve had conversations with the neighbors … as well as the [SOM] staff.”

The proposal, a routine process for creating large-scale developments in the city, is officially called a “planned development district,” or PDD. According to zoning law, developers create PDDs to ensure that the aesthetics of construction projects are fully integrated into the adjacent neighborhoods.

The City Plan Commission, which advises New Haven’s governing bodies, including the Board of Aldermen, on zoning matters, will hear Morand’s proposal Nov. 3. The PDD will likely have a Board of Aldermen hearing in December, Morand said, adding that there has already been a permit filed to remove the existing buildings from the site.

But some local preservationists said University officials should keep intact the two existing onsite buildings, at 155 and 175 Whitney Ave. Chris Wigren, a member of the New Haven Preservation Trust who wrote an article about the demolition of Whitney Avenue buildings, said he was concerned that the design, created by the firm led by Lord Norman Foster ARC ’62, does not respect the architectural character of the neighborhood.

“One of the things that kind of bugs me about the very few renderings of Foster’s buildings I’ve seen [is that they] do not show the other buildings or other surroundings,” Wigren said Sunday.

In response, Morand said Yale officials and the SOM students will receive more benefits from a new facility than the two old buildings.

Morand added that University officials considered the neighborhood when planning the campus. They once discussed designs for a tall structure but scrapped the idea to make the new campus fit with the nearby buildings, he said.

Still, some community leaders said the proposed SOM campus — a modern structure with a glass facade — has been a subject of controversy. Jane Jervis, president of the Lincoln-Bradley Association, a coalition of neighborhood residents, said a proposed loading dock for the SOM campus could bring unwanted noise and traffic to the adjacent homes on Bradley Street. She said the community group was at one time concerned about the light pollution that would be reflected from the SOM campus as well as the proximity of a proposed loading dock to nearby houses. But she said Yale officials worked with local leaders to address these problems.

“[But Yale officials] have been very responsive to our concerns, to the extent possible in a project of this magnitude,” Jervis wrote in a Sunday e-mail.

The SOM campus is slated to be completed in 2013, Morand said.

Correction: October 20, 2009

An earlier version of this misrepresented the concerns of the Lincoln-Bradley Association over the new School of Management campus. Jane Jervis, president of the association, said the group is concerned about the demolition and construction process because it could bring unwanted noise, dirt and truck traffic to the neighborhood. She said the community group was at one time concerned about the light pollution that would be reflected from the SOM campus as well as the proximity of a proposed loading dock to nearby houses. But she said Yale officials worked with local leaders to address these problems.

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