Downtown Development

21 May
Student housing in process-- these developments are everywhere now.

Student housing in process– these developments are everywhere now.

Last night I was out with a friend and saw a weird new structure downtown. That’s no surprise, really– this is a college town and every five years or so it seems like the city reinvents itself. At this point, it feels like we’re at the peak, the crest of a wave of development in student housing. Old buildings are torn down and rebuilt as high rise complexes; other, older structures that have partisans with long memories are left standing, but subdivided to suit, upgraded with new features– showers, flat screens, whatever it is the kids want out of their residences. It’s all about student housing downtown, so much so that I hardly notice it at this point; I see a pile of dirt on an empty lot and think to myself, apartments for students.

This was different, though– catercorner to the wooden patio where my friend and I were sipping our beers was a structure that can’t be housing. It looks like a greenhouse, with that low wall, rounded sides, leading to a shallow peak. Only this one is massive– it must be, I don’t know, fifty feet high and maybe two hundred long, a massive growing shed. And stretched over that frame I described, a white skin of polyurethane or some other plastic shell. It’s the lack of any obvious doors or windows (and wouldn’t a greenhouse need some natural light, or at least something other than plastic as the sole membrane between it and the outside world?) that makes what goes on inside a mystery.

I’m sure we’ll hear soon enough, probably at another city council meeting. Knowing this town, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear its a marijuana grow operation on an industrial scale.

mystery structure

mystery structure (3)

Mystery structure. I tried to capture a sense of its scale. And a danger to whom?

Mystery structure. I tried to capture a sense of its scale. And a danger to whom?

*edited to include photos.

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