Smart move. The phase one plan calls for 300,000 square feet of new retail space, 150,000 square feet of new office space and a 300 room conference center hotel. They can develop all of these uses under the existing New Town zoning.
GGP’s phase one plan also calls for creating new “pedestrian friendly” connections between Symphony Woods and the mall and between the lakefront and the mall.
The drawing above shows how the new retail component will connect to the mall at the food court. Actually, this rendering conflicts a bit with Greg Hamm’s verbal description. Greg and his consultants pointed out that the grade drops 100 feet from Governor Warfield and Twin Rivers Road to the lakefront. As part of this phase of development, GGP would raise the grade of the food court entrance resulting in the entry being on the second floor of the mall. The food court would end up being 15 feet below grade. The rendering still shows the entry on the ground level.
In front of this new entry will be a plaza that will feature some type of public amenity. GGP envisions a public space that could function as outdoor concert venue in the summer time and perhaps be used as an outdoor ice rink in the winter months. This public plaza would be surrounded by street level retail in are that GGP was calling “Market Square.”
This drawing shows what GGP is calling the “Spanish steps” after the famous area of the same name in Rome, Italy. This is how GGP envisions the lakefront connection to the mall. This new pedestrian passageway would come accross the existing GGP building lower parking lot and would also serve as “sub watershed” with a water feature running down the left side of this passageway.
Greg Hamm told the audience that the new Town Center development program would be guilded by four principles of connectivity, restoration, inclusion and amentities. So far these plans seem to address those principles very nicely.