By CYNTHIA KMETT
Getting the stamp of approval on the final site plan pieces for the Troy City Center project at 888 W. Big Beaver was accomplished at the last two meetings of the Troy Planning Commission.
At its January 9th meeting, the planners approved The Shops at 888, six retail stores of varying sizes for the first floor of the parking garage presently under construction on the site. It appears the stores will have their own parking area in the new garage. Two of the outlets are already rented.
Only Planner Karen Krusse didn’t like that all the shops were touching, like a strip mall. She said it didn’t look “urban” to her.
Planner Tom Krent, however, said she should look at Royal Oak or Detroit. All the buildings are touching and they’re urban, he pointed out. He added that he wanted to thank the developer, as this site is really coming along, and he looks forward to it being completed.
At last week’s Planning Commission meeting the architects from Darden Restaurant’s two new planned establishments for the 888 site, Yard House and Seasons 52, returned with updates about which the planners has previously had concerns. Some were easy like would the landscaping, parking and lighting go with the rest of the site? Seems the builder is taking care of all landscaping so it will match and is also responsible for parking spaces. Will the dumpster be enclosed? Actually it will be enclosed in the same materials as the restaurants and screened with arborvitae. And while it won’t have the self-closing gates Planning Trustee Don Edmunds would like on every dumpster, it will always get closed or the cars won’t be able to go by.
The Planners had found the architectural interest on some sides of the building a bit lacking, especially the front on Crooks and facing the 888 office tower. Seasons 52, a fine-dining establishment will have lots more windows to help draw folks in. They even provided a path from Crooks to the restaurant’s front door. Darden also softened the color pallet, which the planners had seen the peachy color as “too Florida” oriented. (Darden is headquartered in Orlando.)
There was a question about whether two benches would be enough if you had to wait for a table. While assured most people want to wait at the bar, and the fact that the two restaurants seat 650 people, the planners opted for asking for two more benches.
Karen Krusse said it was too bad they didn’t have rooftop dining, with fire pits. But Don Edmunds reminded her that Sedona Taphouse didn’t add a rooftop restaurant until it had been open over a year.
And, if you’re worried about parking, the planners were assured that both eateries will have valet parking. This site plan won unanimous approval from the planners.