Jimi Allen: Hello, I'm Jimi Allen. And we are sitting here in our booth at Bureau Gravity. And I'm going to be talking with Minkyu Whang who is a design architect that designed our facility on Lasalle Street. He's a world-class designer. There's a particular project we're going to discuss. There's a proposal before City Council to renovate 187,000 square foot space that is ideal for a lot of opportunities. But our City Council, our community right now is seeing it as a last ditch option to put in a storage facility in this area that is an entry to our city. Minkyu Whang: When I see that location, it seems it should be a landmark location. It's a landmark site that should be a gateway to the City of Aurora. Right after getting off a highway, going into it, that's what I felt. And I think we're downplaying or dumbing down the part of the city that could be much greater. I've designed property of that size and more. But it's not in here, in United States, it's more overseas. And these are 11-story huge department stores. And these department stores, they always look into not just commercial. But in every department store, they would always create at their top floor, they would create event space, there would be a children's learning center. And they always put that on top of their shopping center on top. Jimi Allen: Today, you talk to a project in Indiana. Tell me about that project. Minkyu Whang: Yes. Right. Okay. So this NexusPark is that it's a large mall that they're turning into a mixed use. And they will have a sports facility. And they'll have a hospital. And also, there is commercial. And there'll be about more than a mile of internal space where people can walk. Jimi Allen: Wow. Minkyu Whang: Because during the wintertime, there's no place to walk. So they actually created that. And it is one of the biggest projects. It's just going up. Jimi Allen: Yeah. So there's potential here. And what we want to do is basically just let people know that this is a great project to really spur our community on to say, "Look at our landmark." Minkyu Whang: Landmark. Landmark. Jimi Allen: We have the landmark buildings. Minkyu Whang: Gateway. Jimi Allen: And again, the proof is in the pudding. If you were looking at the Carson's property and somebody contracted you to design that, where would your thinking start? Minkyu Whang: I always do is looking into the site contacts. And it could be aesthetic, how everything is aesthetically. And also, it could be a demographic study, the community, their income level, all could be... That's part of it. But for me, it's more of aesthetics and what kind of people that's there. And literally, I would usually just feel the site many, many times, walking and doing all kind... Just feeling it. But for me, I've been there. This particular site, I've been there. I'm there every day. We ride bicycles. I walk there. Go to one of those gyms there. After that, technically, what you're doing is you're understanding a site condition. And normally, whenever you're trying to do something like this at any city development, you want to do, what's it called? Maybe in my term, it would be mapping the city. So you would want to map the city, knowing exactly what all the commercial structures or any of residents to everything, knowing what everything is, and try to find out what could be good thing in our thought or my thought. But after that, you would definitely input from community. Whenever you want to have this size of structure that you wanted to use, usually since you don't know, you do want to understand the community. And that's only way you can do it is by mapping. I keep saying mapping, understanding the place. And that will somehow, I think... We don't know where we're going exactly sometimes. But that will somehow... If you study well with a good intention, I think it always sprawls to be something greater than we can even ever expect.
Design Architect Envisions Indoor Park & Family Events Center for Former Carson Store
World-renowned design architect Minkyu Whang recommends Aurora aldermen get to know the neighbors and area better before approving a storage facility to replace the old Carson store on Lake Street. The proposal is supported by the zoning committee, opposed by residents and facing a discussion and possible vote at the City Council meeting June 28.
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