The City of McKinney took another step towards ridding itself of the concrete eyesore that rests at the city’s entrance when the city council approved the design and site plan for the Gateway Hotel project on Tuesday night.
The city-financed project is set to turn the concrete skeleton located at the northeast corner of the intersection of the Sam Rayburn Tollway and U.S. 75 into a 186-room hotel and 20,000-square-foot event center. The total cost of the project is expected to be at least $35 million with the city set to contribute between $18 and $20 million.
On Tuesday, the council approved the proposed design (shown above) and site plan by a 5-2 margin. Ray Ricchi and Randy Pogue were the dissenting votes. Ricchi told TownSquareBuzz.com that he voted against the proposed design because “the design looks like an old hospital.”
Ricchi told TSB that he didn’t think the current design of the project is fitting for the “gateway to the city.” He compared the look of the building to a “50’s hospital.”
“For $35 million, I believe you can develop something a lot better looking than that,” Ricchi said. “For that much money, I want something that says ‘Welcome to McKinney.’ I know what I like when I see it and I just didn’t see it.”
Pogue shared Ricchi’s displeasure with the design aspects of the project. “What was presented tonight was a bare minimum submission with regards to the aesthetics of it,” Pogue told TSB.
Pogue cited the Gateway design’s score on the architectural standards scale that all construction projects in McKinney are required to meet as one of the shortcomings of the current design.
All new construction projects have to meet a score of 85 to be approved. One of the main components of that score is the amount of masonry (brick, stone or synthetic stone) that the building contains. The Gateway design barely meets the minimum standard of 50 percent masonry and therefore received zero points on the architectural scale.
The project did achieve a passing score of 87 by achieving high scores in other areas, like exterior color, roof treatments, and building façade offsets. For Pogue, that was not enough to make the design worth supporting. “The palate was not very appealing,” he said. “It is our gateway to the city and that’s what people will see when they first get here. And it’s just not a very pleasant looking design. Sorry to the architect for that, but it just is not very appealing.”
Pogue also said that if he was on council at the time of the hotel’s initial approval, he would have pushed for another location. “It would have been better served out at TPC,” Pogue said. “We’re now deeper into it than we were. Now we do have an issue, ‘Stonehenge,’ as it’s affectionately called, that we need to do something with and better it.”
With only two dissenting votes, the Gateway Hotel design was approved and construction is still set to begin in the next few weeks. Representatives from Beck Group, who will handle the construction of the project, told the council that the project will use the site’s existing concrete structure and add another floor and a half in the construction process.
Construction is scheduled to be complete in 2015.