TROY — Community members packed the former Back Door Smokehouse and Grille restaurant in the Sherwood Shopping Centre on Thursday to hear details of a study regarding the area.
The presentation was the second public meeting — the first was held in October 2017 — to discuss the study by MKSK Studios, a Columbus-based firm specializing in landscape architecture, planning and urban design. The firm was hired to study the Sherwood area by the city of Troy at a cost of $45,000.
The study area included the B-2 and B-1 commercial office area to the north of the Sherwood Shopping Centre to Denby Place, across the street and to the south of the center in the area of Troy Street and office-commercial areas of Robinhood Lane.
City of Troy Assistant Development Director Tim Davis opened the meeting by updating attendees on the status of the recently proposed revitalization project by local investors.
“We’re excited to see what can become of the shopping center,” Davis said. “Today’s crowd is a larger crowd than it’s seen in quite some time, and hopefully, it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what we will see in the future.”
Davis then turned the meeting over to Joe Nickol, senior designer for MKSK, for the presentation.
“Imagining a future for this shopping center that is really in ways kind of historic in the way that it has served the neighborhood over many decades,” Nickol said. “And, imagine it’s new layer of investment that is going to be happening hopefully in the next several years.”
Nickol touched on the results of an online survey taken prior to the previous meeting, to which hundreds of people responded. Nickol said there were several main takeaways from the survey, including:
• The area has a significant daytime population;
• There is a lack of street-side activity that makes the commercial block along Market Street feel emptier than it is;
• That people wanted to know where did all the hangouts go — the area used to be a place that people would come to after football games, school, on the weekends, to watch movies; and
• That it is close, but that people still need a car to enjoy not only the shopping center, but the entire study area.
“There are so many positive memories associated with this place,” Nickol said. “And a real longing, or desire, not only to see the repeat button hit and bring it all back, but newly relevant amenities. Memories, entertainment, things that would be relevant in today’s age, that would add a lot of value to the people who live around here and serve as a destination for people who live in the broader region.”
The study also addressed the aging population of the area, the lack of enough younger families moving in to replace them, and the smaller households, which is trending nationally.
Nickol also addressed five development principles, which included that the area has been and still can be Troy’s neighborhood scaled “midtown”; the need to tap into the daytime demand, while restoring the night and weekend scenes; create safer streets in the area that prioritize people; unlock additional residential potential; and build organizational infrastructure.
Nickol went over MKSK’s planning-level recommendations, which he noted were not those of the proposed developers, Sherwood of Troy LLC’s.
“What’s exciting is that for the first time in a long time, it looks like the ownership of this center, which is a major anchor, a major piece of this study area, is going to be back in local hands. Local hands that grew up here, that love Troy, that are invested and want to see it succeed in the long term.”
The first phase of the project — what Nikol suggested could be reality in the first two years — would be to build off the already existing Needler’s Market and add a street in the center of the shopping center for easier access, to re-tenant the empty spaces, and fix structural and architectural issues. This phase also would involve building two to four new one-story retail buildings that face the newly resurfaced Market Street, and have direct access off Market Street into them.
“To create a walkable front door along Market, introducing that activity along that stretch,” Nickol said.
In the second phase — a three- to eight-year window — would be to continue the new street all the way through to Adams Street and develop the site behind the center to include a neighborhood that could possibly include a larger medical office building to complement the new hospital nearby and possible townhouses or walk-ups.
Further into the future, Nickol said, the development could create even more redevelopment of the area as a response to the shopping center’s progress.
Davis said the next steps for the city include to extend the moratorium on the issuance of zoning permits related to certain permitted uses for six months; examine coding for the study area to ensure compliance of the vision; and work with the owner to recruit desirable businesses and attractions.
At their meeting Tuesday, the city’s finance committee agreed to make a recommendation to council to authorize loans for the Sherwood Shopping Center revitalization project proposed by Sherwood of Troy, LLC.
The two loans, totaling $1.4 million, would be made to the Community Improvement Corporation, then loaned to the developers, Sherwood of Troy LLC. The loans are in the amount of $900,000, which would be a two-year loan with interest-only payments at 3 percent, and $500,000, for 20 years at 4.5 percent. City council will vote on the loans at an upcoming meeting.
The developers plan to use the funds to obtain Sherwood Shopping Center and its outlots at 914-982 N. Market St. in Troy. At a previous meeting, developers said the project is drawing interest from potential occupants, and future uses could include a restaurant in the center of the building, reviving the movie theater and a renewed business plan for Needler’s Market, which is currently a liquor and party store.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $2.3 million, including the purchase price of $1.7 million. The repair phase is estimated to cost $600,000.
Reach Melody Vallieu at email@example.com.