A proposed master plan from Gibbs Planning Group to transform a section of Keego Harbor along Cass Lake Road in Birmingham, Michigan, into a walkable, traditional small-scaled village has been approved by the city of Birmingham’s Tax Incremental Finance Board.
The plan was approved at the city’s June 7 TIFA meeting.
The plan calls for a new traditional village along a half mile stretch of Cass Lake Road, north of Orchard Lake Road. The 20-year plan is a result of nearly one year of community outreach and stakeholder input to retrofit the existing commercial centers with small-scale, mixed-use buildings along Cass Lake Road.
Community involvement included a city-wide survey asking residents if and how they would like the Cass Lake corridor to evolve over the next generation. Overwhelmingly, the survey respondents supported improving the area’s walkability and transformation into a small-scale, mixed-use traditional village.
The plan’s highlights include expanding existing city parks and the creation of a new town square on the city’s vacant property at the northeast corner of Cass Lake Road and Orchard Lake Road. The new square will be lined with about 20 to 30 small shops and cafes at street level, with widened walkways and outside dining patios, and feature residential and offices located on the upper floors.
The plan also proposes a small, specialty grocery to serve the surrounding neighborhoods with a needed shopping option. A total of 200 residential dwellings are proposed, designed to appeal to a range of ages, incomes and demographic groups. These will include lofts, town homes, cottages and condominiums priced from modest to upscale levels.
The plan will utilize the area’s existing street and utilities network, requiring minimal investment by the city.
Prior to preparing the master plan, Gibbs Planning Group was retained by the city to complete detailed residential and retail market analysis studies. Gibbs Planning Group’s research found pent-up market demand for additional residential and retail shops in the Keego Harbor area, especially if built as a walkable village.
When completed, in about five to 10 years, the village plan will generate more than $200 million of new real estate investment by the private sector in the city’s Tax Increment Finance Authority district and more than $2 million of new tax revenue for the city.