Trowbridge Village is a vibrant, new mixed-use urban village near the Michigan State University campus, offering dynamic new places to live, shop and dine. This project consists of a nearly 47,000 square foot existing retail center which has undergone extensive renovations, as well as a new 4-story mixed-use building offering 1st floor retail totaling approximately 13,000 square feet and 3 floors of luxury apartments.
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The project was fully completed in mid-2015. Trowbridge Village is a multi-building, mixed-use project created to address the needs and desires of the emerging class of young professionals, students who do not want to live in dorms or residence halls, and provides enhanced healthy food choices for all residents of East Lansing. The extensively remodeled 1-story commercial strip building hosts Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grocery store which is flanked by remodeled retail shops, cafes and restaurants. Immediately available commercial retail space is comprised of 1,025 square feet which is ideal for service retail or destination office such as an insurance office. The 4-story new building touts prime 1st floor retail with an end-cap ideal for a restaurant complete with available outdoor seating in a covered corridor which can be heated.
"Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities" would indeed be tested as the existing center was in dire need of upgrading. The vision for the nearly 47,000 square foot outdated retail strip center was to add vitality to existing businesses and the neighborhood. The project is situated on 7.35 acres at the northwest corner of Trowbridge and Harrison Roads. The commercial shopping plaza included a market and a small number of retail and restaurant uses along with vacancy. Existing outlots for redevelopment included a vacant drive-up bank, and a vacant commercial building (formerly home to The Pretzel Bell Restaurant and Oodles of Noodles). Obstacles included: environmental contamination; severely poor soils; crumbling infrastructure; and deteriorating exterior walls.
The vision included extensive exterior renovations as well as interior renovations to accommodate Michigan's first Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grocery store. This 31,000 square foot anchor tenant was key to creating the envisioned vitality. New landscaped islands and shade trees were envisioned along with remodeled parking areas, to include spacious pedestrian walkways and crosswalks to connect all buildings and the public sidewalk system.
"Obstacles were indeed turned into opportunities" when the project came to life as customers flocked (a line extended all the way around to the back of the building) to be the first to experience Fresh Thyme Farmers Market's abundant produce department, overflowing with fruits and vegetables, fresh from the farm, often locally grown and much of it organic. The extensive exterior renovations also enhanced the look and feel for customers of existing retailers and restaurants.
To accomplish the goal of addressing the needs and desires of the emerging class of young professionals and students who do not want to live in dorms or residence halls, the vision also included a new mixed-use building offering 3 floors of apartments targeting students and young professionals seeking alternative lifestyles. The apartment offerings afford residential tenants the luxury and flexibility of choosing between studio apartments complete with Murphy bed, 1 bedroom apartments, or 2 bedroom apartments. First floor retail to service the residential tenant base and surrounding neighbors was also planned. Creative design included a covered plaza separating the east and west retail suites to welcome patrons to the center, as well as utilization of outdoor seating for end-cap commercial tenants.
Additional amenities beyond the retail covered plaza include benches, planters, outdoor dining at umbrella tables, pedestrian scaled light fixtures and wall mounted light sconces on the buildings throughout the site to create an enhanced pedestrian streetscape. In addition, a community "free air" bicycle pump, bicycle repair center, doggy waste unit, and an overabundance of bicycle parking, adds pizazz. The mixed-use building includes a timeless palette of materials including a one-story high base of utility sized deep brick veneer comprised of two colors to create wide horizontal stripes and capped by a limestone cornice. Industrially-inspired, horizontal and vertical metal siding clad portions of the upper portions of the building to add a fresh and modern character to the buildings.
The vision came full-circle with the completion of the new 4-story mixed-use building creating a vibrant and cool urban village near the MSU campus, offering dynamic new places to live, shop and dine. Full occupancy was achieved many months prior to construction completion and residents were anxious to occupy hip, new apartments conveniently located across from the MSU campus and new Amtrak station.