City gleans feedback on Civic Center plans

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published August 24, 2016

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Troy city leaders past and present and others recently provided feedback on proposed plans to redevelop the Civic Center Complex.

The city hired Robert Gibbs, an urban planner and president of Gibbs Planning Group, to present options to redevelop the 127-acre City Civic Complex and look at mixed uses on the site. The study costs $200,000.

Gibbs presented four different plans for the 127-acre site during a forum held at the Troy Community Center Aug. 18.

He praised the safe community and good school system in Troy, and the proximity of the site to Interstate 75, but he noted that the 20 percent vacancy rate of office buildings and a lack of “walkable environments”  pose challenges.

“Today is a design discussion,” Gibbs said. “We’re presenting to the city what’s available.”

The four different options range from a plan to keep all the municipal buildings on-site to possibly relocating the library, City Hall, the Troy Family Aquatic Center and the Troy Racquet Club, and merging the Troy Police Headquarters with the 52-4 District Court.

Gibbs said that according to projected demographics, in five years, 30 percent of Troy residents will be empty nesters, and 23 percent of residents will live alone.

He said large family homes were projected to deflate in value by 2030, as not enough millennials will buy them.

Gibbs said that according to a market study by Zimmerman Volk Associates, whom he described as highly regarded, over the next five years in Troy, there will be a demand for 800 more multifamily housing units and 200 condominium units.

Some redevelopment options include a grocery store, up to 290,000 square feet of retail development on the site, half a dozen full-service restaurants or 10 limited-service restaurants, which Gibbs said would be supported from all of the office workers in the area.

The four proposals all feature homes on the site with different density ratios — two-story cottage-style homes, townhomes, stacked flats, a four- to eight-story multifamily building with underground parking and a hotel.

Matt Farrell, of Core Partners, a real estate consulting company, noted that one of the proposed plans calls for much higher density — 4,000 homes — than city leaders asked for, but they wanted to show what was possible on the site.

Loraine Campbell, executive director of the Troy Historic Village, was one of the participants of the breakout sessions. She said she found the different perspectives that the attendees offered during the table sessions “fascinating,” and she felt the  feedback would be an important piece of the study as it moves forward.

Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick told the Troy Times Aug. 19 that he planned to meet with Gibbs and Farrell that morning to discuss the feedback gleaned from the options presented at the forum.

Kischnick said that two options for the development of the Civic Center Complex will be presented to the council in an upcoming study session.

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