Austin Landing’s developer says a multi-year plan at the mixed-use complex will include about $45 million in new construction, and a heightened focus on pedestrian safety and access.
Several restaurants and retail outlets will be part of a two-year construction effort to include as many as four new buildings around Austin Landing’s park, an area VisCap Development President Larry Dillin said he wants emphasize more as a centerpiece of activity at the sprawling Miami Twp. development off Interstate 75.
Dillin said he wants to “promote a pedestrian-oriented environment” at Austin Landing, where the completion of three multi-million projects – a 12-screen luxury cinema, an upscale 270-plus unit apartment complex and an extended stay hotel - this year are expected to increase vehicle traffic.
“We’re doing what we think is appropriate for the long-term value in the community,” Dillin said. “It’s good for the investors. It’s good for the community. It’s good for the tenants.”
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: An inside tour of Austin Landing luxury apartment complex
Traffic flow and parking commonly have been a source of complaints from patrons and concerns from zoning commissioners. Dillin has called some areas of Austin Landing “dangerous and confusing.”
The pedestrian upgrades are estimated to take about three years, he said. They will include installing what would be the first traffic signal in Austin Landing, a project approved about a year ago.
“Pedestrian access is critical to continually improve in this development,” according to an email sent Friday by VisCap. “Our goal is to strengthen the pedestrian connectivity to both the office buildings and apartments.”
The proposed buildings on VisCap’s site plan would include about 16 tenants featuring “a combination of retail, restaurants, there’s some fashion, there’s fitness,” Dillin said.
The buildings proposed around the park would include several restaurants, joining 13 other eateries that surround the outdoor area, Dillin has said.
While specific tenants have yet to be named, a 10,000 square foot structure just east of the park has been approved by the township. It will likely house four tenants, Dillin has said.
Plans for a second site just off the park to the north call for a restaurant that will occupy less than an acre, township records show. It will include outdoor seating facing the park. Dillin has said.
“Additional buildings will follow a schedule as defined by lease discussions,” according to the company.
Two vacant spaces in a building north of the park combined with the proposed buildings would total more than 70,000 square feet, 63,000 of which has drawn “serious tenant interest,” Dillin said in recent weeks.
That interest has included five national chains, a handful of regional businesses and a few local ones, he said.
“By the end of the year we expect to have two of the buildings completed and tenants will open either at the end of the year or the beginning of 2018,” he said. “And we have some tenants in the (existing buildings) on the plan that will open this summer…. And then the last building will open probably summer of 2018.”
To address traffic and pedestrian safety issues, Dillin said VisCap is planning to improve crosswalks, streetscapes, signage and landscapes – especially around the park.
AERIAL VIDEO: Tour Austin Landing projects from the air
“In projects like that where you’re trying to promote a pedestrian-oriented environment, the streetscape – in other words the space between the buildings – becomes more important than the architecture of the buildings,” he said.
“It’s the space that people are actually in. So you have to create an environment that people want to be in - they feel comfortable in there,” Dillin added.
“So you have to have the right amount of landscaping. You have to have the right kind of pedestrian crosswalks. You have to have street level lighting – pedestrian-level lighting – not vehicle level lighting,” he continued.
Another planned traffic/pedestrian improvement was approved more than a year ago, but has yet to start.
Installing a traffic signal at the intersection of Kohl’s Access Drive - also known as Liverpool Lane – and Landing Way between Kohl’s and Kroger is a project estimated to cost $250,000.
Materials have been ordered and the project is awaiting agreement with the township, according to Viscap.
A 2015 traffic study showed the intersection — during peak usage — handled more than 1,100 vehicles while nearly 2,100 travel through the Landing Way/Ohio 741 intersection.
The plan approved by the township includes a turn lane on Kohl’s Access Road at the intersection of Landing Way. Another turn lane is planned on Landing Way at the intersection of Ohio 741.
The plan approved by the township includes four pedestrian push-button signals and crosswalks, township Community Development Deputy Director Kyle Hinkelman has said.