Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Long Reach Village Center of Nostalgia II: The Master Plan

Now that I've shared my plan of bringing back Columbia Staples such as Produce Galore and Bun Penney to Long Reach Village Center, I think it's time I showed you a physical plan of how I intend to do so. Although I'm basing the redeveloped Long Reach Village Center on the nostalgia of the Columbia of yesteryear, I'm going to demolish the entire Village Center. The Village Center as it stands now is not laid out correctly to be a sustainable Center for the future. Although the County owns the majority of the Center, they will have to acquire three more parcels to make a truly comprehensive redevelopment plan; the Exxon, Delitown, and Richburn Liquors.

First and foremost, the Safeway building and any and all second floor offices will be torn down. The entrance road coming in from Cloudleap Court that currently makes a sharp left turn at the eastern end of the Safeway building will be extended straight to Foreland Garth. On the left side of this new road will be a Retail strip that will contain current Village Center merchants such as Angel Nails, Community Cutz, Subway, Long Reach Beauty Supply, Richburn Liquors, the Police Satellite Office, and Nappstar Hair Salon. The remainder of the site that the old Safeway building sits on will contain the Rite Aid and Produce Galore. These two businesses will be on the ground floor of a building that has 5 floors with the second floor containing the Howard County Center for the Arts. The upper three floors will contain Artists lofts that are live/work spaces. A parking garage will be in the back of the building facing Foreland Garth.

There is only one section of the Village Center that will remain as is; Stonehouse. Stonehouse contains the Villages Offices and the Columbia Center for the Arts. One thing that will change however is the exterior courtyard surrounding the front of it. The way it is now, Stonehouse appears hard to access with the way it is now. Granted, with the demolition of the rest of the Village Center, that may change. However, I want there to be a level, well lit, easily accessible pedestrian pathway from the parking lot to Stonehouse. In addition, the area around said Pathway will be a Village Green with level landscaping that will be the focal point for the Village Center as a whole.

Next we come to the Pad Sites. As of right now, the pad sites are not owned by the County. Since they will be a pivotal part of redeveloping Long Reach Village Center, they County will have to acquire them. First there's the Exxon. I would move it to the swath of land between Foreland Garth and Old Dobbin Lane. This will allow direct access to it from Tamar Drive. Where the Exxon currently sits is where I would build a Bank. Banks are crucial for a Village Center to survive not only for the sake of the Residents, but the other merchants have to make several trips to the Bank every day. Currently, the Liquor Store, though attached to the former Safeway building is also not owned by the County. As noted above, I have relocated it to a new strip of Retail along the extension to Foreland Garth.

Next there's the Delitown parcel which is also not owned by the County. In its place I would build Columbia's first Sonic. Since there are very few Sonics in the Central Maryland area none of which are in Columbia, I think building a Sonic here will be a major draw to Long Reach from all over the region. At the entrance to the Center from Cloudleap Court is where I would put the Bun Penney pad site.

Finally, we come to the bulk of the County owned Retail. Like the rest of the Center, I would have all of this demolished. In keeping with the Mixed Use theme of Long Reach, I would have ground floor Retail with 4 four floors of market rate Apartments above. The Apartments will use a built in parking garage in the back side of the building. Since I relocated all of the existing Village Center shops in the new strip heading towards Foreland Garth, this new building have a chance to bring new Retail into Long Reach be it part of the nostalgic theme of the Center or a brand new business for an entrepreneur starting out.

Columbia has always been nostalgic for the shops and memories that dominated its heyday. When redeveloping a Village Center it's always good to keep that in mind to give Village Centers an edge over chain dominated Retail.     

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For those people still hoping that the Howard County Arts Center might locate in Long Reach, please be aware that they are committed to be part of the New Cultural Center being planned for the Toby's Dinner Theater property on South Entrance Road.