Plans scaled back for innovative retiree village club house

LONDON: An innovative retiree village club house project will include an outdoor amphitheatre, a 4,700-square-foot restaurant space and 3,000-square-foot retail building.

The Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday night recommended the Hoover City Council approve a scaled-back version of plans for the Village Green entertainment area at Stadium Trace Village.

Original plans for the entertainment area included an outdoor amphitheater designed to accommodate up to 1,200 people, but those plans have been scaled back for crowds of up to 650 or so people, said Jim Masingill, the project manager for Broad Metro, the development company for Stadium Trace Village.

The 2.5-acre complex also originally included plans for an artisan market, an art gallery with space for working artists, wine tasting room, food and beverage vendors, playground and outdoor game area, and studio room for classes such as yoga, pilates and martial arts.

Some of those elements will remain, but plans have been altered because costs were getting out of hand, and it became evident there would need to be more space allocated for parking right next to the restaurant portion of the center, said Mark Gonzalez, an engineer working with Broad Metro.

Slice Pizza will be the restaurant vendor on the site, and that company indicated a need for more parking, Gonzalez said. The developer also was trying to be sensitive to the need for additional parking for the development as a whole, he said.

The plan recommended by the zoning board Monday night includes 159 new parking spaces right next to the amphitheater and restaurant and 105 overflow parking spaces on a 4.9-acre site just to the south of Stadium Trace Village. The developer plans to provide a shuttle service from the overflow parking during special events.

The new plan calls for a 4,700-square-foot restaurant space and 3,000-square-foot retail building, but plans for the retail building are not as defined as they once were, Masingill said.

The original plan called for a 500-square-foot art gallery that includes space for live art creation by artists, about 800 square feet of studio space for rent by the hour for instructors of classes for things such as yoga, pilates and martial arts, about 300 square feet for a wine tasting room run by a Hoover resident who owns a winery in Calera, and an artisan market to feature goods made in Alabama.

The “retail” building is still considered a multi-use building, but plans are more uncertain about what will go in that space, Masingill said. The developer still wants to include places for artists in the Village Green, but it could be that artists display their work in outdoor areas, he said. A lot of that is still to be determined, he said.

Developers also on Monday did not mention the original plans for a children’s playground with interactive music equipment for kids and outdoor games for all ages, including bocce ball and corn hole and six executive-style putting greens.

Broad Metro no longer is working with Wes Keith, a music producer from Louisiana who was going to be the managing partner for the Village Green, Masingill said.

The new plan is to focus more on this as a “lifestyle venue” more so than just a music venue, Masingill said. It likely won’t draw musicians on the level of someone like country musician Eric Church, he said.

The stage, however, will remain close to the same size as originally planned — roughly 1,200 square feet, Masingill said.

A sound specialist working for Broad Metro told the zoning board that plans for amplified music have been adjusted to accommodate the smaller footprint of the amphitheater and he does not believe there will be any noise impact for the Celebration Village retirement center planned next to Stadium Trace Village or other nearby residential property.

“At peak times of the concert, we should be bleeding in with the sounds of traffic,” the sound specialist said.

City Administrator Allan Rice noted that the amphitheater stage will face away from residential areas.

The planning commission recommended the City Council limit amplified music to the hours of noon to midnight, and Masingill said he anticipates concerts to be over by 10 or 11 p.m.

City officials are requiring the developer to provide a pedestrian path between the overflow parking and the Village Green, but the route is still undetermined. Plans submitted by the developer showed a sidewalk from the overflow parking area, but it follows a path initially in the opposite direction and comes along the road leading back to Stadium Trace Village.

City Planner Mac Martin recommended the developer provide a more direct route from the overflow parking area to the Village Green that includes stairs. Gonzalez said such a stairway would have to climb six stories due to the elevation change and said the developer wanted to avoid that due to cost and the belief that people would not want to climb stairs that far.

The planning commission approved the overall plan with that detail to be reconsidered by the City Council.

The new traffic plan submitted with the Village Green calls for four-way stop signs to be added at two intersections in Stadium Trace Village: the intersection of Peridot Place and Amber Drive (by Edgar’s Bakery) and the intersection of Peridot Place and Emery Drive West (by Cajun Roux and Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant and Bar).

Masingill said the developer is eager to get started with construction and hopes to have the Village Green open by July 2022, in time for the World Games softball at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

“That’s an ambitious schedule, but that’s what we’d like to do,” he said.