It's not fair to criticize a building for being a perfect example of its era. Perhaps everyone was doing their best. They thought it looked good. They thought people in the future would think it looked good, too. Brown? It's classic! Horizontal bands of tinted windows that keep the building earthbound? Modesty is never out of fashion. The top portion flaring out so the building is top heavy? That will always intrigue.
As it turned out, the TCF tower is something of a dullard. The smaller portion of the complex is empty and unhappy; the big atrium has been a dead space since TCF moved out, and wasn't exactly a three-ring circus when they were there. I think there were fountains, once. The glass tank built into the wall had fish, once. The dark brick is gloomy, and the circular pattern of bricks on the floors is so, so, so Seventies you expect to meet the wandering ghost of John Portman. It will be demolished and replaced with a new tall tower, and that's good news. But. Three questions.
1. Will it happen? Hope so. Aside from Downtown East, most of the action downtown has been residential, and fifty stories - mostly office, not entirely - will be a welcome addition. But I'm waiting for renderings and tenant lists before getting too excited.
2. Fifty stories. Of course. Because no one dares go taller than the IDS. Sixty is just out of the question. Depending on the final design, that could be a good thing - the site doesn't lend itself to a slender tower, and it would seem as if they'd have to fill it out as much as possible.
This story from last year made me cock an eyebrow, Spock-like:
. . . the Massachusetts-based owner of TCF Tower and Bank Building may opt to redevelop the smaller of the two buildings, a four-story bank structure that dates to the early 20th century, into a new office tower, said Will Friend, vice president and regional director for owner Franklin Street Properties Corp.
Early 20th century? Did they rehab an ancient structure? I know where I can find the answer. Stay tuned.