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Answer Man: Architects have found new angle on design

April 2, 2017 GMT

Dear Answer Man, why does it seem like all new buildings have to have some weird angles on them? There’s the new First Avenue Flats building by Civic Center Drive, which I’ve been watching -- it now has big angular corners overlooking the railroad tracks. Before that, it was the Metropolitan Market Place on First Avenue, home of the People’s Food Co-op, and there are other examples.

Whatever happened to form follows function? — Lee C.

That’s so old-fashioned, Lee. Square, plain-Jane buildings have been out of vogue for years now. Even garden-variety apartment buildings now get a little flash -- walls that jut out here and there, irregular shapes and jarring colors to catch the eye, which is what they’ve done at the First Avenue Flats, Metropolitan Market Place and elsewhere.

The architect who made it safe in our day for buildings to be angular and irregular is Frank Gehry, who designed the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Since it appears we’ll never have a Gehry building in Rochester, we should be grateful for the cheap touches applied to new apartment buildings.

FYI, there was a Gehry house in Owatonna for a few years, but it was owned by the University of St. Thomas and was auctioned off and moved in 2015. It’s now a private home somewhere in New York state.

Dear Answer Man, I’m sorry, but here’s another DMC question: What’s the most money the city can ever get in a single year from the state, when everything is humming along at top speed?

This is many years from now, but the maximum annual flow of public dough from the state would be $30 million.

And sorry, my loyal readers, but here are two more DMC questions that involve your tax money. This will be quick and painless, I promise.

Dear Answer Man, how much money does the city’s 0.25 percent DMC sales tax raise? If the city already has spent about $21 million on DMC, how quickly will it get that back with the sales tax?

The city DMC sales tax generates about $5.7 million per year, so I’ll let you do the math. Needless to say, though, the city’s spending for DMC Corp. and related DMC activity won’t stop and wait for the tax money to catch up.

Dear Answer Man, if the city’s going to get $2.7 million in state money for DMC this fall, will any of that be used to pay back some of the city’s expenses so far?

Assistant City Administrator Gary Neumann says it’s likely a small portion of that state money will pay back a titch of the city’s eligible DMC expenses. Most will go to infrastructure.

How much is that office space?

Here’s a piece of information that came too late for Friday’s masterpiece: You may be wondering how much Rochesterfest pays for office space in the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau suite in the Mayo Civic Center. If you are, the answer is $325 per month, paid directly to the city.