New Façade Will Transform Downtown Farmington Shopping Center

City council members took action Monday on The Groves renovation and Grove Street reconstruction.

The plan to transform a 1960s-era shopping center in downtown Farmington took another step forward Monday, as city officials approved several resolutions related to The Groves redevelopment project. 

Economic and Community Development Director Kevin Christiansen showed plans and renderings that provide a glimpse of the planned Grove Street streetscape and improvements proposed by Farmington Hills-based Manifold Ventures, new owners of the shopping center anchored by T.J. Maxx and Dress Barn. The façade improvements will create three distinct sections to the building's elevation, he said. 

"The intent of this elevation modification is to breathe life into the center, and to blend in with other façade changes in the downtown," Christiansen said. 

Perhaps the biggest change to the building involves the demolition of 468 square feet in the northwest corner, creating a new vestibule entry. Although that will impact Dress Barn, Christiansen said his understanding is the company intends to stay. He said other businesses are planning interior renovations. 

T.J. Maxx will also see significant changes to its exterior; existing posts and a canopy are scheduled for renovation. However, the rest of the canopy that currently extends across the western face of the building will be removed, Christiansen said. 

Changes blend with streetscape

Blending with streetscape improvements to Grove Street, the project will create 20-25 new parking spaces, city manager Vince Pastue estimated. In addition, a main courtyard and landscape elements will provide gathering spaces, as well as outdoor seating, Christiansen said. 

Walkways will connect The Groves to the Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion and Riley Park, located just west of the building, he added. 

Christiansen noted that renovations are phased, with changes to the east side of the building coming at a future date. Some changes will be made so that side better matches the new west side façade.

Pastue estimated that, in addition to the building's purchase price, the renovation represents an investment "inexcess of $1 million".

The city will spend about $2.4 million on Grove and Warner Street improvements; the money will come from the city street fund, water and sewer fund and capital improvements fund; the Farmington Downtown Development Authority; and a special assessment agreement with Manifold Ventures. Construction is expected to start April 1. 

This is the first of two reports on this project. 

Michael Ritenour February 05, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Bravo to the renovations! While I personally would have preferred to see something that looked more historical (similar to what Cowley's and the other buildings on Grand River did), this is certainly a huge improvement over existing and ought to generate interest from prospective tenants and customers.
Jeannie February 05, 2013 at 07:38 PM
These renderings look great--I can hardly wait. Without being able to see details, I don't know if there are any pass-thru/breezeways. If you've been to downtown Ferndale, there is a ceiling-less tunnel from the S side of 9 Mile to the parking lot in the back of the stores. St. Clair Shores has one too. Sometimes people avoiding patronizing businesses because they feel the walk to wrap around a mega-plex bldg to the one store or biz they want is not worth the trouble. That said, a tunnel connecting parking to mid-center would be worth exploring.
art February 05, 2013 at 11:55 PM
I certainly hope this bring new and more business to the Farmington area. The only problem will be the age old problem of will there be enough parking.


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