Uptown: The Heart of the Action at Cherry Hill Village
Canton Township, Michigan
In the fall of 2000, Township officials began solidifying plans and financing for a Performing Arts Center within the Cherry Hill Planning Area on twenty acres owned by the Township. The Performing Arts Center, an eight million dollar, 420-seat theater, is proposed to be the home for groups such as the Plymouth Theatre Guild, the Plymouth Symphony Orchestra, the Peter Sparling Dance Company, the Verdi Opera Theater of Michigan, and Canton Project Arts, the Township’s official arts organization. Township officials recognized that the Performing Arts Center needed to be strategically planned with the last, large unplanned vacant parcels within the 649-Acre Cherry Hill Planning Area (these unplanned parcels include the Township-owned parcel totaling 85 gross acres). Furthermore, several Township officials had concerns over several integral uses not yet planned in the village. Township officials approached Biltmore about its interest in planning and developing this area in a public/private partnering relationship.
Responding to the Township’s suggestions, Biltmore assembled the balance of the 85 acres and began a series of meetings with Township officials and staff to discuss planning and development issues with regard to the additional 85 acres. The result of these meetings was another successful public charrette involving interested Canton citizens, Township officials, Biltmore, the Performing Arts Center architects, local arts groups, and the Cherry Hill Village planning and design team (Looney Ricks Kiss).
The Uptown Concept Plan developed during the charrette completes the “missing pieces” of this unique and identifiable community. The proposed Performing Arts Center is to be located at the northeast corner of Cherry Hill and Ridge Roads with two liner buildings attached to its exterior, facing Cherry Hill and Ridge Roads. Retail and/or restaurant space on the first floor of these liner buildings will be designed to “set the stage” for the theater entrance and the entire theater-going experience. The plan is carefully focused to create a synergy between patrons of the retail and restaurant space and the patrons of the Performing Arts Center.
The Uptown Concept Plan extends the village eastward with a series of new, high-density multi-family neighborhoods that have the diversity and variety that are the hallmark of Cherry Hill Village. These residential neighborhoods ensure that residential densities are highest near the village center, in the “heart of the action”, so that the center of Cherry Hill will always feel active and alive. Furthermore, these new neighborhoods will help enliven the village center with a wide variety of residents of all ages, family types, income levels, lifestyles and life cycles. Buildings will be designed in a variety of styles compatible with single-family, townhouses and manor houses found elsewhere in the village and the architecture will be specifically designed to accent the streets and sidewalks with balconies and other traditional features that encourage and enhance the walkability of the community.
Additional Village-scale mixed-use buildings with ground level commercial/office uses and upper floor residences and/or office uses are proposed along the east side of the historic schoolhouse along Ridge Road and the north side of Cherry Hill Road. Classic storefronts, colorful awnings, hand-carved hanging signs, sidewalk cafes and an occasional balcony perched above will create the lively pedestrian environment that makes a village center feel alive. Enough commercial space is planned to ensure that the proper tenant mix can be achieved so that commercial establishments will reinforce and support one another and act as a unique draw beyond the village itself.
On the eastern edge of the village, in critical “gateway” locations, the Plan provides for a new elementary school sitting on a public square and a new Township fire station.
The Uptown Plan also calls for an approximately 50,000 square foot grocery store strategically located on the on the eastern edge of the village to minimize competition between the grocery store and the retailers in the heart of the village center, but yet provide convenient grocery shopping within Cherry Hill. Attached to the front façade of the grocery store will be a multi-story liner of mixed-use townhome-type units containing some mix of retail, office, live/work and/or residential uses to create an appropriate traditional streetscape. An architecturally appropriate gas station will be located north of the grocery store providing service to residents of Cherry Hill as well as motorists traveling along the new Denton Road extension. Construction will begin in Spring of 2003.
Services Provided by Biltmore
- Master Developer of the entire development
- Partner in the ownership and construction of the multi-family and retail components
- 73.42 Net Acres
- 600 Apartments
- Approximately 120,000 Square Feet of Mixed-Use
- Elementary School Site
- Fire Station Site
- Performing Arts Center