The newly opened Eagle Rock branch of Chase Bank features pairs of comfy blue chairs set behind large new windows that look out upon the corner of Eagle Rock and Colorado Boulevard. But it’s not clear when and if anyone will – or would want to – sit in those chairs. That’s because the chairs and coffee tables are wedged into a pair of narrow, hallway-like rooms, with the chairs set in front of wall-sized photos of smiling people and only inches a way from the walls of glass. No one in the bank, a former Blockbuster Video store, can see out through the windows and passersby only get a view of those blue chairs and wall-sized photos. A bank employee said he does not expect anyone to ever be offered to sit in those chairs, which can be reached only by walking down some long hallways behind the teller windows. Why install large windows and create what looks like a fake lobby? Call it creative window dressing.
The April issue of The Eagle Rock Assoc. newsletter explains that the Colorado Boulevard Specific Plan, a set of guidelines that applies to new construction and renovation, requires that at least 60% of any first-story wall near Colorado and Eagle Rock boulevard must consist of transparent windows, doors and other openings that “offer views into retail, office or lobby space.” Such guidelines have been adopted elsewhere to create a more interesting and inviting environment for pedestrians to walk by instead of being confronted by blank walls.
In order to comply with those guidelines, Chase installed the new windows that would, under an original plan, only offer a view of changing Chase bank ads slapped on a wall instead of a lobby or retail space. After community residents threatened to appeal the original plan to the city, Chase agreed to make to make some changes. But instead of moving the lobby closer to the street, Chase decided to get into the window dressing business, creating a faux lobby or meeting room next to the windows, apparently in an effort to give passersby something else to look at besides an advertisement. Said the TERA news letter:
By furnishing one of the front visible areas as a modest meeting room, at this point in the development process, it represents a reasonable effort by Chase to hear the voice of the community and respond. TERA wishes Chase Bank all good fortune in their new location and greatly appreciates the improved appearance of the structure.
The building does look better with windows. But what good are windows that don’t offer a view of anything?
- New branch of Chase Bank to open on Colorado Boulevard on Monday. Patch