I am a resident of the Lincoln-Bradley neighborhood and am opposed to the current proposal for the new Yale School of Management.
Over the past few years, the University has met with many Lincoln-Bradley Association members to discuss the project and address our concerns. The design has been modified several times since the building was first proposed — originally we were presented with “Plan A,” a stone-clad design; later we were shown “Plan B,” the current plan; and last week the University unveiled the most recent revisions.
Still, I feel that the current design could be improved to respect the scale of its neighbors and the character of our residential neighborhood.
The biggest concern with the proposed campus has been the proximity of the new, massive building to the southern property line. This line represents the border with properties on Bradley Street including the church at the corner of Whitney Avenue, two houses and two office buildings that used to be houses. Though not all of the buildings on Bradley are residential, the character and feel of the street certainly is.
Revised plans submitted last week were an improvement over the original design, but the proposed campus still does not respect the properties along its southern border. The recent modifications move the building back 9 feet further from Bradley Street properties and 16 feet from the drive of the New Haven Lawn Club. For a building of the proposed size, these changes are not significant, especially for the residential neighbors on Bradley.
Equally problematic is the access drive proposed along the south border of the property and its neighbors on Bradley Street. The drive will serve the new building’s garage, which will hold approximately 186 cars, as well as loading docks and areas for trash collection. Though we asked for this drive to be moved, the revised plans show no significant change.
We are glad the University has been willing to engage in conversation with neighbors and pleased with some of the changes made. For instance, it was a step in the right direction to widen the buffer of trees that will separate the planned building and driveway from the properties to the south.
But many of us think the design team can go further. There are issues with the southern border that still need to be addressed, and we may be able to find solutions that will work for everyone. For instance, moving the interior courtyard to the south side of the property and opening it to neighbors could help alleviate some concerns about an encroaching building with a massive wall of glass. The access drive location remains an unsolved problem.
Neighbors and I who remain opposed to the current proposal are hoping to find a way to resolve our concerns and have SOM go forward with little delay. The existing buildings are still standing: There is time for further conversation and modifications.
Andrew Drabkin is a 2001 graduate of Yale College and a resident of Bradley Street.