Will retail follow rooftops in Village of WestClay?

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If the “retail follows rooftops” real estate mantra is true, The Village of WestClay may soon see the commercial development its founders envisioned more than a decade ago.

Home-building activity in the upscale neighborhood is up 46 percent this year compared to the first six months of 2012, and at least two retail projects are in the works for its largely undeveloped business districts. (Subscribers: Read my full story here.)

With only about 100 home sites remaining in the 1,700-unit community—and other residential projects rising from the west Carmel cornfields—developer George Sweet is hopeful that the time finally is right for retail to take off.

“I think everyone here would rather have the commercial [development] completely done,” acknowledged Sweet, president of Brenwick Development. “But the people weren’t here, so we couldn’t sustain it.”

Plans call for a total of 275,000 square feet of commercial development in two locations:  the town-square-like Village Center Shoppes in the heart of community, and the Uptown district at Main Street and Towne Road.

Sweet said the economic downturn slowed its progress, but momentum appears to be building as consumers—and business owners—gain confidence. A gas station and convenience store is planned for Uptown, he said, and a microbrewery is in the works for Village Center.

Several high-profile vacancies in the central business district are tied to a property owner’s legal woes, but Sweet said several restaurant operators have expressed interest in at least one of the buildings—most recently home to a neighborhood market.

Although the Village Center lacks drive-by visibility, experts said it is intended to be supported by residents of the community, which was designed to be walkable.

What’s your take on the Village of WestClay and its progress so far?

 

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