After developers agreed to add six more trees to a site that planning commissioners described as an asphalt jungle, the plans for a new Field & Stream store in Oakland Mall’s north parking lot surged forward.
Planning Commission members unanimously approved preliminary site plans for the nearly 50,000-square-foot Field & Stream store at the commission’s June 24 meeting. Peter Light, general manager of Urban Retail Properties, which manages Oakland Mall, said this would be the fifth Field & Stream store in the country.
“This shows retail is making a comeback,” Light said. “This kind of use brings the property to life and brings Oakland Mall back on the map.”
Originally, the store had requested 121 more parking spaces than the city ordinance’s 240-space maximum. The commission agreed to 115.
Light explained that the mall’s anchor stores, Macy’s, JC Penney and Sears, own the majority of parking spaces in the mall parking lot. The additional spaces affect the Macy’s parking agreement.
The Field & Stream store would be located on two parcels — 4.5 acres on which Circuit City had stood and 2.1 acres of parking lot. The façade, resembling a lodge, would be 30 feet high and constructed with reclaimed wood siding, a metal roof and Centurion fieldstone.
“The elevation will help to try to showcase the building,” said Troy Planning Director Brent Savidant.
“We find this to be a tremendous addition to Oakland Mall,” said Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant.
“The main outstanding item is parking,” he wrote in his report to the Planning Commission. He noted that store officials needed to provide evidence to the Planning Commission that the extra parking spaces were needed for use on a typical day.
“One hundred twenty-one cars is huge,” said Planning Commissioner John Tagle.
Jim Butler, civil engineer on the project, told the Planning Commission that customer counts for other Field & Stream stores ranged from 2,700-8,000 people a day.
“It’s an asphalt jungle,” Planning Commissioner Michael Hutson said of the site.
“We’re trying to discourage a sea of asphalt,” said Planning Commissioner Tom Krent. He urged the developers to take out a few parking spots and install more landscaping.
“This is a big change in parking; you do need more greenery,” said Donald Edmunds, Planning Commission chairman. “You are a Field & Stream store.”
Light said that Urban Retail Properties had come to an agreement with the state of Michigan to maintain a greenbelt between the store and Interstate 75.
After the developers agreed to subtract six parking spaces from the additional spaces requested and install islands with a total of six trees, the Planning Commission unanimously approved the preliminary site plan and granted the parking deviation for the additional 115 spaces.
Light said the store plans to open next March.
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