The developers for the Tri-County Mall redevelopment provided an update on the progress they have been making on designs for the very ambitious project undertaken. They presented the current state of the concept plan (links to presentation and video of presentation at the meeting below).
Some key points, thoughts, and impressions:
- The developer shared and updated Vision / Mission statement. I was glad to see the mention of family as well as sustainability in the developments vision.
- The developers expected cost for the total development has raised from 800 Million – 1 Billion to 1.4 Billion. With ~500 Million of the coming in the first phase in order to ensure a sufficient draw is in place out of the gate. (The items in gold text in the picture are all tagged as first phase.)
- The initial phase is expected to bring about 500 of the ~2600 residential units as well as additional parking structures (underground and under the new hotel)
- At least one of the multifamily residential towers is expected to have a roof top pool possibly overlooking the park and concert area as well as a multi-outdoor pool and club house (note that these amenities are only for the residents of the development and not part of the proposed community fitness center.)
- The current timeline has phase 1 complete at the end of 2024
- The developer shared some 3-d views of what the final development would look like – these really give a good feel for the impressive scope of the project
- The phase 1 build out has a open feel adding a good amount more green space than the current mall offers
- The update on hike and bike trails shows possibilities though it is clear a lot of the site connectivity will depend on the City to continue its work to investigate and build this out as was highlighted in the City Comprehensive Plan. The developer highlighted desire for 2 bridges over Princeton Pike (SR 747) as well as one over Kemper Road.
- The park inside the development is expected to be 2-3 acres in size with a playground. This is a very impressive addition to the development.
- There was discussion of several businesses that have either signed agreements to join the development (shown on the plans) as well as talks with several others – several net new businesses (such as CoHatch co-working space) to the area as well as some relocation or maintaining of business (Larosas from across the street as well as BJs, Chipotle, Outback, and Starbucks). There is a lot of excitement about the development – most of which I share!
- The developer mentioned possible enhanced security for the location including license plate readers and facial recognition cameras. This was the first time I had heard of that being an aspiration. I hope this gets much more scrutiny. My personal experience in the tech world gives me a great deal of pause – especially around the facial recognition aspect. Harvard recently posted on this as well from a racial discrimination concern not even taking into account privacy issues.
- There were no questions about noise or sanitation concerns (that were raised in the Public Engagement meeting related to the possible community fitness center move the week prior by residents related to the dog park and new concert areas) though Planning did ask about noise concerns when considering an application earlier in the meeting about a small daycare proposed down the road on SR747 near the highway out of ‘concern for the neighbors’. I believe these can be address if Planning pushes for them – for example updating the agreement to limit the hours for live music and review the building codes for sound and smell expectations before the final development plans are voted on.
- There was no discussion of the DORA (outdoor drinking) boundaries in the update.
Keep in mind this design is all subject to change and was a general discussion / presentation to the Planning Commission and not a public hearing – meaning it was not a forum and the public was not invited to ask questions, just Planning Commission Members.
This is an important point for folks to understand, City Council has two members on the Commission and the remaining are residents that have been appointed by either the Mayor or City Council. The Council representatives are Council Member Joe Ramirez and Council Member Meghan Sullivan-Wisecup. (Current contact information can be found on the City website here.)
Based on the current procedures for development plans review I anticipate this will be the norm for this work so if you have questions or concerns about the development these two contacts should be high on your list to connect with.