Tuesday, May 5, 2009
With what seems like a week now of nothing but cloudless skies and sweltering temperatures flirting with the 70s (quite unusual for late April-early May), I decided to do some cruising around town and went by Muldoon which besides being home to the new Tikahtnu Commons, is also home to the Creekside Town Center -- a project I admittedly forgot about and thought it was for whatever reason put on hold [edit: turns out it was put on hold for a few years]. Mark Pheiffer, the guy behind the controversial Downtown parking lot deal and hopeful developer of the Augustine Energy Center teamed up with Jerry Nesser (of Nesser Construction Inc., of course) to build a pedestrian friendly "town center" that would be home to a mix of retail and various types of housing. Since Pheiffer's announcement back in 2003 about his plans, some of the footprints for the project have been spoiled as GCI, Walgreens, and soon Wal-Mart have developed sections along DeBarr Road with status quo developments that aren't consistent with the Creekside Town Center standards. Still, the majority of land on the south side of DeBarr was eventually bought and is in the middle of construction as we speak.
Despite my very skeptical predictions for this development, my visit to the completed portion of Creekside made for a pleasant surprise to myself. Upon driving down the main avenue leading into the town center, the houses that face the street have no driveway nor a garage. In its place is the classic appearance of porches, stairs, and entrances that lead to a path separated from the roadway. There's not a snout-house in sight. Away from the main entrance are units that face each other with what looks to be a future stream of water that will someday run between the homes along with picnic tables and barbecue grills to the side. Though Creekside is just beginning to get its trickle of tenants, it's easy to visualize the neighborhood residents out by the stream with the barbecue going on a hot summer evening. Architecturally, it seems there is not one house alike as the facades of the homes stay diverse so as to make the area feel more genuine and not look like a giant subdivision that was built overnight. I'm very aware of the criticism of Disneyfying with the faux-historical architecture, but I think I'd rather see more Disneyfied neighborhoods like these than what we see elsewhere in the city. As for the garages and driveways, they're there -- they're just placed in the rear.