Sixteen years after it was approved, developers are proposing changes to the Berry Farms Town Center development with hopes of finishing the project in the next five years.
The project has come a significant way since 2005. Initially, the project was nixed by city leaders who weren’t on board. Then six months later, they walked back their decision and granted approval with restrictions on residential ownership and leasing and limited apartments. The plan was to include big-box retailers and a sea of parking lots.
But things have evolved.
Adam Ballash of Boyle Investment Company addressed city leaders Thursday night in a joint Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Planning Commission workshop where he presented the new vision for the town center.
He proposed reducing commercial space by approximately 83,000 square feet. Developers at first projected 22,000 cars daily for retail use, but that has shrunk to 12,000. The changes come due to the changing patterns of shoppers.
“The big-box retailers this was envisioned for, and sort of a regional destination, aren’t really what is driving the commerce for retail today and is not something, given the design and current buildout of Berry Farms Town Center, appropriate anymore for this location,” he said.
Plans in 2005 didn’t include covered parking, and that parking lot jungle has been traded in for plans of three parking decks. More mixed-use development will be planned around the decks.
Developers want an additional 406 multi-family units on the property. For the new residences, Ballash said he anticipates building at least two new pools and adding more amenities to accommodate the new residents. They plan to make outdoor green space more usable and to expand the greenway trails.
What’s there now?
The town center is the latest installment of three land parcels, including Chadwell at Berry Farms and Reams Fleming at Berry Farms. The massive development sits on the former farm owned by the Berry family.
Today there are 671 residential units, 340 of which have been sold and are either a house, townhome or condo. More than 330 apartments remain under construction, but Ballash said they’re unsure if those will be for sale or rentable. It is described as one of the fastest-growing residential markets in the region.
A mix of business and retail spaces already exist on the property, including Publix, medical offices, specialty gyms and restaurants. Neighborhoods have pools, community gardens and a local farmer’s market.