Daniels Grandview Project an Oppourtunity for Pedestiran Oriented Redevelopment

With the announcement today that the move of Trinity Hospital to highway 280 has been upheld by the Certificate of Need Board, the regulatory board responsible for permitting hospitals in Alabama, Daniel Corporation is expected to move forward with the first phase of their 750 million dollar expansion of the Grandview development to support the new hospital.

According to a press release by Daniel, the first phase calls for up to 500,000 square feet of medical office space in two buildings (with their own parking deck next to the hospital’s), a 250‐room, full‐service hotel attached to the existing conference center and a retail center with shops and restaurants to cater to hospital visitors and others on the site near U.S. 280 behind the current office park sign.

The new development is ultimately expected to bring an additional 600o people to the site. The prospect of an additional 6000 people needing access to 280 is daunting, yet the developer insists that steps are being taken to mitigate that impact.

I have not seen any preliminary plans for this development, but I hope they plan to incorporate sidewalks and access to the Metro Transit system in the scheme. A vehicular connection to Cahaba River Road would also provide access to the development without using 280. A pedestrian connection across highway 280 along with sidewalks along Grandview Parkway would go along way toward keeping occupants of the two existing office buildings and the existing Marriott Hotel (across 280 from the new hospital) from needing their cars to go out for lunch at restaurants in the new retail facility. In addition, it would give the residents of the  many apartment complexes in Grandview access to the the shops, again with out any need to drive. That will help the retailers by expanding their customer base and help keep cars off of the already overloaded highway. A residential component would complete the “mixed use” nature of the development.

By incorporating pedestrian oriented design features, and creating a true mixed use development,  Daniel can set a great example for how suburban “edge city” developments can be reinvented as pedestrian friendly villages, linked to the larger city by transit.  Based on what I have seen of other Daniel developments, I bet they are ahead of the curve on this one. Lets hope so. If not, it would be another missed opportunity to get people out of their cars and on their feet toward a more healthy lifestyle.