Condo design meeting today

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

Natchez &8212; A two-day condominium design workshop sponsored by the Historic Natchez Foundation will begin at 9 a.m. today at the foundation headquarters, 108 S. Commerce St.

The workshop comes at the suggestion of the HNF board of directors, who have hired designers and architects to work with developers who plan to build condos on the bluff at the site of the former Natchez Pecan Shelling Co. on Broadway Street.

Natchez aldermen have approved the $19-million condominium proposal by Edward Worley and Larry L. Brown Jr., but the developers agreed to work with the foundation to find a way both to meet the developer&8217;s needs and to comply with the city&8217;s preservation ordinance and design guidelines.

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Preservationists have said the Worley-Brown design, which includes two buildings up to five stories tall with more than 53 units, is out of character for the surrounding area.

Ron Miller, executive director of the Historic Natchez Foundation, said he hopes the details can be worked out to satisfy both sides.

&8220;I hope first of all we&8217;ll be able to find the maximum number of condos that can be built on that site and still fit in the guidelines,&8221; Miller said.

He hopes the number arrived at by the outside consultants will &8220;be enough to satisfy the developers. I don&8217;t know what those numbers are.

&8220;And that&8217;s why we have the designers coming.&8221;

Designers, architects and planners who will attend include Chris Chadbourne, who has worked in previous years on Natchez riverfront design ideas; Jim Piatt, an artist and architect; and Clifton James, a city planning consultant.

Others participating include the developers and representatives from the Louisiana architectural firm Grace & Hebert, who designed the Worley-Brown condos.

Natchez city officials are invited participants as are members of the Natchez Preservation Commission, Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment.

&8220;We&8217;re expecting Leland Speed to come, also,&8221; said Mimi Miller, director of preservation for the Historic Natchez Foundation. Speed is director of the Mississippi Development Authority.

Todd Sanders and David Preziosi will attend as representatives of Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Mississippi Heritage Trust.

The meeting will begin with presentation of background information and a discussion of the scope of the work and the goals for the two days, Mimi Miller said.

Consultants will meet with Worley-Brown architects privately from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will work alone as a team from 2 to 8 p.m. today.

On Tuesday, the meeting will begin with a 9 a.m. report to invited participants and continue with further design work by the team from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The meeting will conclude with a report to invited participants from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday.