I'd assume this...
Downtown: The premier site - visible everywhere - is the one they wanted and the price became too high because OPA wanted more money. Why settle for something lesser just to be downtown?
Aksarben: There is one suitable spot left. As a company that does city planning, why would you push 1,000+ more people into the small streets of Aksarben Village. Also, it's in the middle of that development - it's not really that great of a site if you want to stand out.
Crossroads: The developer wants a mall. They've already built an extremely successful mall out west. The total office space that was proposed doesn't accommodate a corporate tenant the size of HDR. The developer has also already turned down other ideas to stick with what he wanted.
I'm not sure why you'd assume they are driving to be urban-oriented. They aren't now. Their architecture group is known vastly for healthcare, science and education - none of which are particularly "urban" developments. Daly has done far more urban development than HDR has, and even they are located in suburban Omaha. As mentioned before, engineering doesn't need urban either.
Thanks for your remarks. It is always nice for me to hear other views & perceptions, and learn from them...
Yes, I've looked at their portfolio (and Daly's) online, and I know they have those types of healthcare/science/education projects. (That is why I said that comment about them "designing suburban projects", not just urban.)
Whether a great architecture firm is located downtown or the suburbs, I still feel the firm's "beating heart" is more urban-orientated -- not suburban. Why? Because suburban is still urban, but more a "relaxed urban." Suburban is not rural, it is still a form of urban. (It's not like their portfolio is of rural farm buildings & horse stables.) And, I don't know any architect or architect firm who designs these bigger buildings who isn't "in love" with authentic urban design -- even more so than more relaxed suburban styles. Ya know? That's where I was coming from. That's all...
Because their revealed design downtown involves a design that is more suited for an urban setting, then suburban, it only helps with that perception of them. So, it is easy to think of their new building being "set down" in a more urban setting, like downtown, or a more trendy, urban village, like Aksarben, or Crossroads.
If they whip-out a new design, and the building looks more suburban in nature & form (like West Des Moines' Athene Building, for example), and they build it far-out in West Omaha, then great... But, out in the world of easier parking, I'll still think of them all as "on top" of the latest, wanted urban designs -- like I notice Leo A Daly keeps up on. That's "part of the game" for most architecture firms. They have to keep current.
I like HDR's work. It is unique. To me, it is just a small step-off the usual and the norm, yet still has pleasing & pleasant & tasteful lines & touches to it, that somehow work. One of my favorite architects, Helmut Jahn, has that aspect, imo. I think of HDR's children's hospital (with the vertical, colorful, creative umbrella display within the glass) on 84th & Dodge. Love it.