Dec. 19, 2008 at 4:23pm
A reoccurring fantasy we can all share
Since I've been snowed in at home these last few days I decided to consider myself on vacation. I think I deserve it and I probably won't get another shot at it for quite some time. I've just about wrapped up my last project and my next project hasn't started yet. My daughter is staying over at her Grandma's house so I've got the cave all to myself. I think they call it a staycation - all the amenities of home without the hundred-and-something dollar nightly charge.
My house is better than a hotel room in a lot of ways except for the lack of maid and room service.
I think it was this line of thinking that led me to one of my favorite fantasies. No, not that kind of fantasy. Get your mind out of the gutter!
When I stop directing my imagination it tends to go free-range and come up with some wacky and usually impractical ideas. I have this one idea that stubbornly keeps resurfacing. It's actually very practical except for the fact that I have no means to make it happen. For some reason I have a lot of fantasies that involve entire buildings. (Remember my college/apartment building for single moms and domestic violence survivors?)
I think big and it's both a blessing and a curse. Maybe in a previous life I was a millionaire. Maybe I'm in training to become one. Who knows. Anyway, here's the idea:
Picture a multi-story building downtown. On the ground floor there are several restaurants, kind of like a food court with local restaurants and cozy furniture in one common seating area in the center. There's also a grocery store, a laundromat, a co-op resident gallery, a 21+ lounge, a conference room and an entrance to an underground parking garage.
Then one or two floors of hotel rooms, two or three floors of apartments and the top floor would be luxury condos we'll call the penthouses.
The best thing about this building is that the apartments, the hotel rooms and the condos all have maid service and room service (from any of the restaurants and the grocery store on the first floor). The laundry service also delivers. The building has free wi-fi and cable TV throughout.
The parking garage also has a fleet of electric cars that you can rent for short trips around the city. They are NEV's (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles - google it! They are awesome) so they have less than a 60 mile radius and are easy to retrieve. We make a deal with all the parking lots in downtown so that these NEV's can park free in any parking lot.
Also in the garage are heated storage units that can be used as art studios. The artists who live in the building and/or rent these storage spaces can sell their art in the gallery on the first floor.
In my vision this would be a modification of an existing office building. The apartments would be much larger than the current downtown condos. For security and privacy anyone can go into the 1st floor but you have to buzz to get access to the other floors. Once on the elevator, it takes you to the floor of the person who buzzed you in. Residents have key cards that take them to their own floor.
Of course these apartments would be super affordable ($1000 a month or less). The penthouses would be more expensive and the hotel rooms would be comparable to market rate. The building would make its money from the leases on the business space, percentage of sales on first floor businesses, NEV rentals, storage space rentals, conference room reservations, room service fees and the hotel rooms. Maybe people who live there can barter for a portion of their rent by working part-time for the building (front desk, room service, maid service, etc.). We could also make a deal with the downtown Y so gym memberships are cheaper for building residents and guests (similar to the deal several large companies have with them).
Is this the living arrangement of the future? Could the whole thing be solar powered so no one has an electric bill? Could there be rain barrels on the roof so the water bill would be gone too?
If anyone out there wants to build this, I'll be sure and move right in with all my savvy creative friends.