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Thread: New mid- to high-density centers in suburban environments (examples?)

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    New mid- to high-density centers in suburban environments (examples?)

    I realize this is close to the small town/downtown thread below, but I have a slightly different situation.

    I'm working with a U.S. city with a population of roughly 150,000. They have a traditional downtown with good levels of commerce, some mid-rise buildings and the like. The city has generally been sprawling to the east, with suburban neighborhoods, strip malls and the like.

    The city has recently annexed a tract of land on the eastern fringe of these suburb-style neighborhoods (9 miles from downtown). The tract is 600 acres, vacant, has been used as a quarry for decades. The site is in the suburban path of growth (housing subdivisions, big box shopping centers), but beyond it are farm fields.

    Here's the crux: From the larger regional- or metro-level planning perspective the city wants to plan this as an "urban center" by which they mean quite a bit more than a "town center". They really want it to be a center for the greater region, like a smaller secondary downtown to serve the east half of the city, and the small towns beyond.

    Does anyone know of examples, either successful or failed, of a city or developer trying to build a new urban center out of whole clothe in very suburban environment? Again, this is more than just a new urbanist town center, but a significant concentration of density, employment and residential uses, four/five story buildings, supporting structured parking, etc.

    If anyone knows of people trying this, papers on the idea, anything, please let me know. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Bel Mar is a redevelopment project in suburban Denver. While not "edge of town" it is a good example of mid-density development in a relatively one-story suburban environment. Its success is a combination of good design and a density of population to support the commercial activity in the center. That may be your biggest challenge - is the surrounding area dense enough to support new commercial and office space without cannibalizing existing space?
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    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    You might look at Legacy Town Center in Plano, Texas, or Addison Circle in Addison, Texas. They both have large employment center components.
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    Cardinal and Joe: both good examples. Thank you.

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    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Have you looked at Tyson's Corner in VA?
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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    We are working on a similar project elsewhere. PM me if you want some details.
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    Thanks Cardinal. I'd be interested to follow up with you.

    The truth is I'm new to this forum, and I'm not sure how to PM. Does that stand for "private message"? Little help here.

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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    markham ontario has a few examples . One area is Hwy 7 and Leslie the other is Hwy 7 and warden(aka Markham center). They are both still works in progress.
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    There is the Vaughan Corporate Centre in Vaughan, Ontario along with the one in Markham and Richmond Hill along Highway 7 in York Region. They are designed to provide ridership for the areas new VIVA BRT service.

    http://www.city.vaughan.on.ca/newsce...ate_centre.cfm

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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by knlarmou View post
    There is the Vaughan Corporate Centre in Vaughan, Ontario along with the one in Markham and Richmond Hill along Highway 7 in York Region. They are designed to provide ridership for the areas new VIVA BRT service.

    http://www.city.vaughan.on.ca/newsce...ate_centre.cfm

    Nothing is happening there and likely won't for at least 5-7 years (subway finish date). The Markham developments are built or being built and to some degree are "nice" for what they are.
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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BBpdx View post
    Thanks Cardinal. I'd be interested to follow up with you.

    The truth is I'm new to this forum, and I'm not sure how to PM. Does that stand for "private message"? Little help here.
    Sorry. Yes, that is Private Message. If you click on my name you will have the option to "send a private message to..."
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    I think a pretty good example is National Harbor in Prince Georges County outside of D.C.. It was developed all at once with a convention center, hotels, retail and both condos and apartments.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    The most successful development of an urban center in what at the time was a suburban area that I can think of is the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in Arlington, VA.
    These two links provide an overview and more details on how they did it:
    http://www.smartgrowth.org/pdf/cs_014_RosslynBallstonVA.pdf
    http://www.arlingtonva.us/DEPARTMENTS/CPHD/planning/docs/CPHDPlanningDocsMain.aspx
    Arlington had the Metro subway, which you won't have, as an anchor and an asset that helps divert the increased traffic from the roads, but otherwise some of the policies can be adapted to your situation, especially if you have a bus system in your area.

    Your best bet is to take up Cardinal's offer of advice, especially for the logistical and political/community issues that can gum up the best of plans.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    The system won't let me edit the above post to fix the links, so here they are, repaired.
    Rosslyn-Ballston Metro Corridor
    and
    Arlington CPHD Planning Division Land Use Studies, Reports, and other documents

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