If developers plan to build Family Dollar at the intersection of Detroit and Grace avenues, they’ve got to get back to the drawing board.
That’s putting it mildly.
An architect representing Family Dollar presented plans to the Lakewood Architectural Board of Review last Thursday — and the feedback wasn’t positive.
Family Dollar, a chain discount store, is looking to open a 9,000-sqaure-foot, single-story structure in the northeast portion of the former Ganley Dealership at the corner of Detroit and Grace avenues. An adjacent building on the property would be demolished to make way for parking.
But don’t expect the construction to begin anytime soon.
“There needs to be more articulation to make this more interesting and make it fit in the context of Lakewood,” said board member Michael Fleenor. “Detroit Avenue is not the typical suburban strip, and the typical big-box commercial building really isn’t really going to be appropriate.”
One after the other, members of the review board slammed the plans.
Here are a few of the critiques:
- The building needs windows — at the very least on Detroit and Grace avenues.
- No split-faced blocks.
- Needs a variety of bricks.
- Façade should have more depth.
- New pylon signs are not allowed by city code.
- Using grass as landscaping between parking spots and the building “doesn’t cut it.”
- Remove metal awning from the plans.
- Fences — either iron or board-on-board — would be required.
- Need for additional landscaping.
- Additional lighting required.
“This is one of the few opportunities where we have a buildable site,” said board chairman Jeffery Foster. “It’s a huge opportunity for us — we don’t want to lose as a community.”
Tara Pesta, from mbi/k2m Architecture — the firm representing Family Dollar — was on hand to field concerns from the board.
She said the company has already taken “a step up” from its designs of a typical Family Dollar.
“They are willing to work with you, and meet halfway,” Pesta said, adding that the store doesn’t have the budget to complete a CVS-style project. “There are just different scales of profit and their market. We will look at some of those improvements, but we’re really be limited to those cost-effective options because of what it is.”
Mary Louise Madigan, the city councilwoman who represents the neighborhood, attended the meeting to voice her concerns. One among them was the proposed demolition of the historic home that sits on the southwest portion of the property.
“You’re going to have to take another step up,” she said, addressing the architect. “This is a really big opportunity for anybody to develop in our city — on this very populated side of town — Family Dollar got here first but there are really high standards. We really need to have a business in here that appreciates our high standards.”