It is most certainly fun to report on big news, especially when it’s the type of news that has the potential to be a positive force within a neighborhood. Other times, it can be enjoyable when there are more subtle issues at hand, which is exactly why 416-24 Vine St. in Old City is back on our radar. It was only a couple months back when we showed you plans to replace a low-rise industrial structure on the north end of the neighborhood. These plans from Ambit Architecture were presented to the Architecture Committee of the Historical Commission and were ultimately denied. That denial came with some suggestions on ways to revise the design to align more with what the Committee had in mind. We are happy to report that we now know what that redesign will look like.

Window design fits in more with the surrounding historic architecture
Current view from Vine & N. Lawrence
Old rendering shows the initial design

These certainly aren’t the most earth-shattering design changes we’ve seen, but they didn’t need to be, and we have to say that the architects did indeed provide a response to many of the previous criticisms. The dark black color has been toned down to a more medium gray and the previously ample number of rounded windows has been scaled back dramatically, giving it a less chaotic look. The cornice has also been resized, though it’s a bit tough to tell from the renderings how different this change truly is. The awnings have also traded a tan color for a fern green, complementing the new color more nicely. Let’s check out some more before and afters, to get a better idea of what might be in store for what is now called The McMillan Building.

The new version, now in gray
Old design, looking east towards the site
Same angle, new look
Old version prominently featured rounded windows

As before, we are loving the 70 units and the commercial space that will be on the northeast corner of the site. The awnings are definitely an improvement in our eyes, but we might have gone for a two-toned look, with a darker ground floor that contrasts with a lighter upper section to break up the now-steady window pattern. But our feedback is worth as much as the cost of this article, as the Architecture Committee will once again get a chance to sound off on the new version on Friday, September 9th. We hope that this new version gets approved, perhaps with a few tweaks here and there, as this would be yet another great addition to Vine Street in Old City.