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A more detailed timeline will be established in the coming months; however, here is a general timeline.
2016: Downtown development plan adopted as part of Comprehensive Plan
Fall 2017 - Summer 2018: Relocation of Hudson Public Power and Hudson City Schools Bus Facility
Fall 2017 - Winter 2018:City and Testa Companies establish a Downtown Partnership Agreement
Fall 2017 - Spring 2018: Development review process through Planning Commission, Architectural and Historic Board of Review, and City Council
2018: Preliminary schedules indicate we would move the Hudson Schools Bus Facility to its new location.
The City is committed to maintaining the look and feel of the Western Reserve architecture and character of the downtown. The First and Main Development (Phase I) overcame unique challenges as the project was directly abutting the National Register Historic District. The Phase II project requires the same attention to design to ensure the final project looks and feels a part of the downtown. Based on additional site analysis and public feedback, the scale has been reduced from three to four stories to two and three-story buildings. Specific attention will be paid to the architectural design and placement of buildings near Owen Brown Street and the Villas of Hudson. Click here for the Downtown Building Height Study.
Locally and nationally, there is a strong trend for housing and office spaces to be located in a live-work-play environment. Always considered to be an extension of Phase I, First and Main, the office space proposed will be a new type not currently available in Hudson. Offering new housing choices to attract a young professional workforce and keep empty-nester senior professionals in our community was originally targeted in the Comprehensive Plan and is support by market trends regionally and nationally. After developing the initial Concept Plan, the financial viability of this project will be verified as part of the Downtown Partnership Agreement process between the City and Testa Companies.
An existing conditions traffic study was performed that will used to compare to a final traffic study that will be performed once the proposed scale and uses are better established. We have just completed the initial citizen engagement portion of the project. We now will take those comments and work with the developer to a create a more detailed concept for the project. Only after we have a better picture of what it could include, can we do a traffic impact study that will realistically show the possible traffic impacts of the development on the surrounding neighborhoods.
The City also is focused on any potential impact the development might have on traffic in surrounding neighborhoods. Our goal is to preserve the charm of streets like Owen Brown through traffic calming techniques. Many options are being discussed – such as adding a green space boulevard at Owen Brown and Morse Roads to discourage through traffic, adding brick-paved streets, realigning the Village Way and Morse Road to encourage traffic to flow through First and Main, possibly one-way traffic certain areas, a slightly raised multipurpose trail, and other options. No decisions have been made about any of the these suggestions, and won't be made until we are much further along in the project. The City also is examining ways to improve the railroad underpass on Owen Brown Street.
First, a Concept Plan must be finalized in order to determine the scope of the construction, parking, road improvements, etc. that would be needed for the project. Once that is accomplished, the City will negotiate with Testa Companies on a Downtown Partnership Agreement which will spell out who is responsible for what in the project. We do not anticipate finalizing a Downtown Partnership Agreement until 1st Quarter of 2018.
The current demographic trends within the community include a decreasing population, shrinking average household size, shrinking school enrollment, and an aging population.The 2,500 - 4,000 square-foot single-family homes common to Hudson are no longer solely able to accommodate the needs of the changing community. Today people want housing options and walkable communities. Empty nesters seek an active lifestyle in a vibrant environment. Young professionals want to live and socialize near their work places. The need for new housing choices and price points was a key theme of 2016 Comprehensive Plan which recognized the need for diverse choices and a live-work-play environment. The residential uses being considered include owner occupied and rental units to provide a variety of price points and ownership options.
Downtown Phase II will include a mix of housing and office spaces within a connected, walkable setting to support the existing downtown retail district. Both owner occupied and rental housing is being considered to offer a variety of price points and ownership options. The office space will be concentrated in the southern portion of the site, and will blend the exterior Western Reserve style charm with interior modern, collaborative work spaces. Some limited additional uses are being studied, such as a food service/restaurant, fitness studio, and related amenities to support the new homes. The development team is also studying the viability of a boutique hotel to address unmet lodging needs within the community. The development would be designed to allow flex spaces that would adjust to future changing marketing needs.
Every development project in Hudson must adhere to the City's strict regulations that require storm water management to be incorporated into the design of the development. These regulations will require post development run-off rates to be less than the existing rates prior to development. Additionally, the existing site is currently home to multiple light industrial uses established decades ago. When the Concept Plan is finalized, We will thoroughly examine the storm water needs of the development an ensure that whatever is build adheres to our strict standards.
The major purpose of the Downtown Partnership Agreement is to provide the financial framework by which the City’s and the developer’s public and private improvement obligations are established. The Agreement does not substitute for, or supersede any of the City’s development review and approval processes. With the project still in the planning stages, the City has not yet signed a Agreement with Testa Companies. We anticipate to have an agreement signed in the 1st quarter of 2018.
The City has created a parking committee, comprised of City staff, downtown merchants and other key individuals to study parking concerns in the current downtown area and the future needs for the development. We will perform a parking study, most likely in the 4th quarter of 2017. Until the Concept Plan is finalized, we can't accurately determine the future parking needs.
The development project will provide significant support to Hudson’s existing environmental protection efforts. Concentrating development within these existing brownfield sites addresses the community need for additional housing and office space without impacting greenfield sites located outside of the downtown area. The project will preserve woods and wetlands north of the site and a conservation easement east of Morse Road. It also will incorporate a multipurpose trail greenway to connect downtown to the Summit County Hike and Bike trail system. Many smaller pocket parks and passive green spaces will be in the design to encourage walking and recreational opportunities. Several demonstrated green technology projects are being considered that could provide environmental benefit and serve as an educational resource. Phase I and Phase II environmental assessments of the project site have been completed. Only isolated amounts of soil and contaminants have been identified for removal from the property that were a result of the decades-long light industrial activities on the site.
Originally, the developer considered three to four story buildings, similar to buildings in Western Reserve Academy. After input from citizens and further examine, it was decided to keep the building heights to 2 to 3 stories.
The purpose of the development is to take underutilized properties in a high-demand area (i.e., Hudson Public Power, salt dome, school bus garage) and add office and housing that will support the retail center. This will boost economic vitality and create a live-work-play environment that is in demand regionally and nationally. Putting a City Hall or Rec Center on the property would defeat the purpose, simply switching out one tax exempt property for another.