olivegardenmiller

By Alex Kolodesh, CCIM

In the Fall 2014 edition of the York Commons-Miller Lane Newsletter, I introduced the first of three articles focusing on the best practices for successful development. This quarter, I want to focus on the second practice I believe is essential for long-term stability in a commercial development. This practice involves the commitment to a solid set of aesthetic principles and structural guidelines.

First and foremost, the reason for this commitment is to benefit two important groups: the Butler Township community and our tenants. Development that is aesthetically strong and structurally sound enables our tenants to maintain a sense of uniqueness while keeping Miller Lane a location where quality development prevails and our community thrives. From our first multi-tenant building, still with the original businesses of Cold Stone, Cassanos and Great Clips as tenants, to our most recent addition of the Fazoli’s (along with McAlister’s Deli and Batteries Plus Bulbs as future additions) at the corner of York Commons Boulevard and Miller Lane – we believe we have maintained a particular aesthetic identity throughout the development.

In addition to the multi-tenant centers we have built, we have worked very closely throughout the entire process with the various commercial users that have purchased property and built their own buildings. The critical factor in each case was to maintain and even enhance the overall aesthetic of the development. There are a couple of building designs I would like to refer to as examples. These businesses include Walmart, Olive Garden and Progressive Insurance. All three possess their own unique designs, while contributing to the overall quality of the development.

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(Pictured Above) The general Olive Garden design in Beavercreek.

We knew the community wanted a Walmart and for this reason we wanted to make every reasonable accommodation to bring them here. Our priority was to do whatever we could to make sure Walmart’s building design fit within the overall “look” of the development. We kept in mind that the smallest of details can have a significant impact. For this reason, we needed to be as thoughtful as possible. The Walmart project from start to finish, occurred over a two year period, from the initial negotiations, to the signing of the contract, to the opening of the store.

Before signing a contract, Singer Properties asked Walmart for a submission of the building design along with the hardscape and landscape layouts of the surrounding area. We provided guidelines to Walmart corporate we believed would provide a positive contribution to the community’s character. The Butler Township Walmart sits on a 23 acre parcel and is essentially at the center of the Business District.

Singer Properties worked with Walmart corporate to make sure this particular building maintained a neighborhood feel that made a positive contribution to the community’s character.

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In contrast, the Butler Township Olive Garden displays the “Tuscan Farmhouse” design, a higher scale, premium building design. It is just one of many high quality examples in the District.

The result was the incorporation of masonry cladding on the outside of the store along with a retention pond outlined with black aluminum fencing and well-designed hardscape and landscape. All three additions come together forming a much better look to the area.

The use of brick and EIFS (artificial stucco) vs. split-faced block and siding by Walmart, along with the other material upgrades, significantly increased the overall costs to the construction project. In order for Walmart to agree to such concessions, the overall purchase price for the parcel needed to be greatly reduced. Singer Properties did so because the long term aesthetic standards of the development necessitated it.

Butler Township Walmart

(Above) In Butler Township, brick along with the use of EIFS (artificial stucco) surrounding promotes a higher standard in the quality of aesthetic principles and structural guidelines that is present throughout the district.

Another example in building design is the Olive Garden. There are a variety of styles used for new stores by Olive Garden corporate. We wanted only the best design for Miller Lane. The “Tuscan Farmhouse” design was selected because of its visual appeal. A high grade of building materials was required to include sufficient architectural detail such as lighting sconces, awnings, and architectural pop-outs that break-up expansive flat space and provide visual interest.

Olive Garden’s use of a stone design for its exterior, has a pop-out effect along the interstate and along restaurant row on Miller Lane. This is one example of how important it is to have an attractive facade to draw people not familiar with the area off the interstate to the District.

My final example is Progressive Insurance. The Progressive Insurance building on North Dixie was the result of months of planning. We toured other new Progressive facilities across the region to make sure the design would be the right fit for the development. This again created a two-year process beginning with the initial negotiations, to the signing of the contract and finally ending with Progressive’s opening.

We believe by focusing on this principle of good development, these buildings will be architecturally pleasing and materials will continue to hold up many years from now. This is why we cannot be complacent. We have to maintain a consistency in quality from start to finish.

We believe that the combination of adhering to sound development practices on our part and strong operational competency on the part of the respective businesses will result in continued growth and success for the area.

Businesses are succeeding every day in the District. One particular example I can point to is that just the other day we learned Cold Stone Creamery is among the top ten percent in sales amongst the thousands of other franchised stores across the country.

We are proud that we can point to success stories such as Cold Stone Creamery, along with others in our development, who continue to make the area a true consumer destination.

 

batteriesplus

   LuxuryNailSpa-1000

Batteries Plus Bulbs and Luxury Nail Salon have both seen their businesses increase and are well overdue for expansions.

By Singer Properties Staff

After eight years in the York Commons-Miller Lane Business District, two of the original tenants are expanding their spaces to provide new services and improved product availability. Those two businesses are neighbor tenants Luxury Nail Spa and Batteries Plus Bulbs.

Currently located at 3515 York Commons Blvd., Batteries Plus Bulbs, will be moving less than 400 feet across York Commons Blvd. The store’s new home will be on the west side of the newly constructed building where Fazoli’s Restaurant opened on Aug. 27. Their neighbor, Luxury Nail Spa, will be expanding 1,500 square feet by combining the original Batteries Plus store with their current store.

John Alvarez, owner of Batteries Plus Bulbs, believes the move to be a win-win situation for both businesses. “The Batteries Plus Bulb’s move will result in our customers having more parking and a better selection in the store. It will be a new and better experience for both businesses’ customers.”

Vincent Dang, owner of Luxury Nail Spa, said he is also excited the plans he began working on nearly three years ago will become a reality in the coming months.

Luxury Nail Spa will use the newly acquired square footage to host large groups such as bridal parties and birthday celebrations. The $200,000 construction project involves an expansion that will provide an entertainment area including several flat screen televisions along with space for parties to bring food and drinks into the facility. There also will be 20 new pedicure stations to ensure parties are able to enjoy their time together.

“We began noticing not too long ago that we would have large groups that would come in and would have to separate, sitting at stations throughout the floor. The expansion will allow them to stay together and will make for a better customer experience overall,” said Dang.

Dang, a veteran of 18 years in the nail industry, said he has customers standing around and even out the door during their busy days on the weekends and throughout the spring and summer months. To meet the demands of his increasing customer base, Dang is planning to hire 5-7 new nail technicians and estheticians.

The stories of how both men’s stores opened in the business district are much the same. Over 8 years ago, both businesses were drawn to the area.

When selecting the location for Batteries Plus, Alvarez drove all over the Miami Valley looking for just the right space. When he found York Commons, the search was over. Before signing a lease, senior officials from the Batteries Plus corporate office, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, also toured the area. Interestingly enough, those individuals selected a storefront almost nextdoor from the current location.

“This put a big smile on my face. I knew we had found where we were supposed to be,” Alvarez said.

A little over two months ago, Batteries Plus Bulbs, a chain that recently opened its 700th store, expanded their services to include a wide array of repair options including screen repairs of handheld devices such as iPads and iPhones. They already provide battery replacements for such devices.

The York Commons store was one of the first stores to offer repair services in the country. “I want people to know we provide an affordable service for these common needs. If you drop your phone, rather than replacing the entire phone, just bring it by our store and for a fraction of the price of buying another phone, we will replace the screen for you. Additionally, when it comes to watch batteries and key fobs – we can even provide a lifetime warranty. Now that’s a great deal!” said Alvarez. They also are certified to custom build drill packs.

Both men say more space will allow them to better serve their customers. “When a customer comes in it’s because something doesn’t work and we want to ensure we can fix the piece of equipment they bring in or find the right bulb or battery to make it work,” Alvarez said.

The expansion will provide additional floor space for Batteries Plus Bulbs resulting in an expanded inventory and a customer-friendly product display. Currently, there are items the store simply does not have the room to carry. Luckily, this expansion will nearly eliminate this as an issue.

Like many businesses in the York Commons district, there is always a good story that inspires the entrepreneurial spirit or just simply makes those business owners smile at how they ended up in the right place at the right time.

Dang sought out the area of York Commons-Miller Lane as an opportunity to serve an area where he had yet to open a nail salon. The entrepreneur had already established several salons throughout the area and although at the time, the area was new, he saw being one of the first tenants as a unique opportunity.

“I saw a great possibility to earn the loyalty of customers from the residential areas surrounding the development. The location being so close to Interstates 70 and 75 also meant I would come into contact with the commuters and even the travelers just passing through the area. The decision was one of the best I have ever made,” commented Dang.

Just like Dang, Alvarez continues to have no doubts about his original decision to open a business in the York Commons development. Alvarez said of the area, “The success of a business has much to do with location, location. Being at the crossroads of I-70 and I-75 and around 5 minutes from the downtown area, we are so thankful to be able to serve so many in the area.”

The two men are looking forward to attracting even more customers. “Existing and new customers can depend on excellent customer service along with the dependability that everything is sanitized and the health of our customers is of the upmost importance,” Dang said.

“No pedicures at Batteries Plus Bulbs but ditto on the exceptional customer service!” added Alvarez.

The Luxury Nail Spa and Batteries Plus Bulbs stores are just the first of many stores expanding in the business district in order to better serve the residents of Butler Township, surrounding communities and those travelers just passing through the I-70/75 intersection often referred to in our area as the “Crossroads of America.”