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.