12 May 2013

Malls of My Own - The Landing of Madison

The Landing of Madison was my first attempt to create a comprehensive commercial area based on existing real estate in an actual city. Thanks, Terraserver. The municipality in this case was the Huntsville suburb of Madison. Perennially one of the fastest growing cities in the state, when not the fastest, it has grown from around 10,000 residents when I first moved to the area to nearly 50,000 today. This immense growth has far outpaced the city's ability to keep up with the infrastructure requirements and retail needs of its citizens. The Landing was an attempt to fix this.

The plot of land where The Landing of Madison would go. North is to the right, with Madison Boulevard being the main thoroughfare on the south. The strip mall, Spencer Square, was incorporated into the early versions, but was completely eliminated for the latest.

I first noticed this empty expanse of prime real estate located just off one of the city's main intersections, close to a major interstate and abutting a large portion of the city's existing retail when landing one day into Huntsville International Airport. The airfield is located just to the south of the suburb, and its industry has had more than just a passing influence on the city's growth. Thusly, The Landing of Madison was named in reference to the proximity of one of the metropolitan area's leading economic engines.

L- The first version of The Landing of Madison, lower level. R- The upper level of the first version.

Madison, just like many fast growing and sprawling suburbs, had developed without any planning or foresight. Commercial wise, Madison Boulevard is lined with quite a few shopping centers and big boxes, but nothing more than just a few disconnected minor players with no real anchor. This is the role that The Landing would fill. It would be a mixed-use facility, with an indoor shopping mall as well as a main street promenade of alfresco shops. There would also be several greenspaces and a cineplex, as well as a "restaurant row" of different bars and eateries lining the street just to the north of the theater. To ensure that the mall attracted a mid-market to upscale clientele, Neiman Marcus, Lord and Taylor and Belk would be the anchors. Keep in mind, I designed this version well before Belk had taken over just about every regional name in the south, including Parisian, so this was before my opinion of them had tanked.

The center's logo and a small rendering of the enclosed portion's outward appearance.

The original exterior design would have somewhat of a warehouse/factory look and feel, with vaulted ceilings, large windows and glass walls highlighting the facade. Several skywalks would connect the indoor portion of the mall to the three anchors and to the main parking deck, while much more surface parking would be available just to the north of the restaurant row entertainment district. The existing Spencer Square would remain, but would be assimilated into The Landing's design and subsequently retenanted with vendors more in line with those of the main facility.

The second version of The Landing, with changes being made mainly to the theater area and restaurant row.

The earliest two versions of The Landing of Madison were focused on the enclosed portion. All of the outdoor elements served as mere contributors to the indoor portion's role as the highlight of the development. It was designed mainly as a shopping center and, although there were plans for lofts and offices, retail was the prevailing focus. But, as commercial trends evolve, so did The Landing of Madison. The most recent version was designed as a fully mixed-use facility with civic, residential and professional spheres integrated into the layout.

The latest version of The Landing of Madison, Level One. View the fully detailed BMP here.

The Landing of Madison, as of its latest proposal, keeps the indoor element. But that is no longer the main focus of the development. A number of streets have been added, as well as quite a few more outdoor shops to line those promenades, giving the entire development a genuine sense of space. Their storefronts would be built to obscure the massive parking deck flanking them. A playhouse (near Macy's,) an amphitheater and an office building are some of the highlights of this redesign. Two hotels have been added as well, with a budget minded inn at the property's southeastern edge while one with a more upscale brand, just to the north of Barney's, would offer residential spaces on its upper floors. All of these features would combine to essentially give Madison a new downtown, although none of the buildings would be permitted to be built more than a few stories tall due to the proximity of the airport's low flying aircraft.

The latest version of The Landing of Madison, Level Two. View the fully detailed BMP here.

Spencer Square was completely eliminated from this version, as well as Belk as an anchor. More upscale names were added, including a Parisian (in this universe, it's Parisian that survives over Belk), Macy's, AS Christopher, H&M and Barney's. Besides Barney's and AS Christopher (due to it's lack of existence,) all of these stores would work in the Huntsville market. H&M just opened up its first Alabama location in the nearby Bridge Street Town Centre last year.

The plot of land on which I had first placed The Landing of Madison a decade ago still remains in its unspoiled state today. I'd love to see something like this come to fruition before someone haphazardly plunks a few big boxes and a Buffalo's Wild Wings on the site. But, alas, I can only dream...

1 comment:

  1. Dude, can you send me a logo of As Christopher?