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Park West Village Ties History to Modernity
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Article from Design Trends, a supplement to the April 2008 edition of Shopping Centers Today
Morrisville, NC — Simply because of its location hear a high-tech office park in Morrisville, N.C., the design of the Park West Village complex could have followed either that of a traditional Southern town or a futuristic vision. Instead, the project’s designer, Cline Design Associates PA, combined the two by putting a modern spin on traditional forms and materials. And, fittingly, it used high technology to create the design as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. “The housing in the area is very traditional, but the work environments are not very traditional,” said Christopher Grimes, senior associate and manager of the retail studio of Raleigh, N.C.-based Cline. “We wanted to give Morrisville something in between.” A joint venture of Sarasota, Fla.-based Casto lifestyle Properties, Cary, N.C.-based 1st Carolina Properties and New York City-based JPMorgan, the complex will consist of 750,000 square feet of retail (comprised of both a town center district and community center), 50,000 square feet of office, a 140-room, five-story hotel and 320 apartment units. Cline created the design, based on a site plan created by Kimley-Horn and Associates, Cary, N.C. “We worked with their layout and made it a place,” Grimes said. “We wanted to discover what Morrisville is and create a project specifically for it.” The retail center has been designed as a series of districts with a fashion-oriented lifestyle zone and with national tenants, entertainment zone and a restaurant district along a Main Street. Ground-level retail will be topped by two floors of residential space. A community-oriented big-box center will share parking with one side of the main street. But bringing a flavor of high tech was a challenge, given local ordinances that required 75 percent of the project be made of traditional masonry, brick and stucco. “We focused on modernizing the design with those materials, simplifying the design,” instead of including elaborate cornices and other flourishes, Grimes said. “We’re keeping it very clean.” An additional benefit of the simplification is that the firm could allocate the budget to quality materials, including several types of brick and a low monument water wall facing the dining court. The site, at the intersection of Cary Parkway and NC-54 had been the home of a Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmaceutical plant, closed some four years ago. Unlike most industrial areas, however, Park West Village’s location is tree-lined. “You wouldn’t know the plant was there,” Grimes said. The location did provide topographic challenges, though. A 14-foot grade compelled the firm to devise storm water management strategies. In addition, an active railroad is located on the back of the property, cutting off one side of the center. “Fortunately, we have frontage on two major, very high traffic roads, and the developer has been able to get a third access point from another major thoroughfare,” Grimes said. Technology also played a role in the creation of the design. To create efficiencies, Cline utilized a three-dimensional design model that allowed separate designers to work on individual elements simultaneously and place them in the overall plan. “You can see the whole project from numerous vantage points,” Grimes said. “It saved a tremendous amount of time. We started on the project in February 2007, and got the initial plans to the town’s approval boards in April, just three months.” The project will open in the fall of 2009.
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