At first of Meadowbrook open houses, details of plan concept emerge

Representatives of VanTrust encouraged community members to walk the Meadowbrook property during Tuesday's open house to help spark ideas for the development.
Representatives of VanTrust encouraged community members to walk the Meadowbrook property during Tuesday’s open house to help spark ideas for the development.

Representatives of VanTrust, Prairie Village and Johnson County on Tuesday began to fill in the broadstroke outlines of the plan to bring an 88-acre park and mixed-residential development to the Meadowbrook Country Club property with a palette of possibilities.

At 10 stations spread throughout the clubhouse banquet room, dozens of community members perused conceptual illustrations and site plans for the development at the first of two open houses on the project. The stations covered details from how the project would be financed to how the new housing structures would relate to the existing neighborhoods.

Richard Muller of VanTrust and Jim Constantine of Looney Ricks Kiss, the New Jersey-based architecture and design firm that’s helping lead the visioning process for the site, also offered a presentation, delivered every half hour during the open house, giving an overview of some of the goals for the project. Constantine stressed that the developed portions of the property, from a four-story luxury apartment complex to single family houses to an inn at the edge of an expanded lake, would be designed to complement the aesthetic experience of being in the park and would have features encouraging people to extend their stays. For example, he said, the inn might feature an outdoor cafe that would be an enticing spot to stop for ice cream or a drink after a walk on the park trails.

“We hope to create a place here that’s so special that people will want to come here and be photographed on the most important day of their life,” Constantine said as he displayed an image of a wedding party in a park.

Constantine and Muller stressed that one of the most important objectives of the open houses was to get resident input on the development proposal and park programming.

“One of the things we would really encourage you all to do tonight is speak up,” Muller said. “We’re going to record everything you guys say, good, bad and ugly, and hopefully for the betterment of this project. One of the things we’ve discovered in our experience as developers is that we’ve never had a project be successful if it was created in a vacuum.”

Here’s a little more on what we learned about the concepts for the project:

Tree preservation:

Constantine said the designers had gone out of their way to preserve as many of the existing trees on the site as possible in the conceptual plan, so that even in the developed pockets of the land many of the mature landscaping would remain intact:

A posterboard showing the proposed development overlaid on the existing site, illustrating the number of trees that will be preserved. Click to enlarge.
A posterboard showing the proposed development overlaid on the existing site, illustrating the number of trees that will be preserved. Click to enlarge.

With the preservation of trees in the parkland and the addition of new trails and an expanded lake, the area might look something like the following renderings:

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Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Residential developments and relationship to existing neighborhood:

The project leaders said they aim to create new housing options that will complement both the natural elements of the park and the existing housing in surrounding neighborhoods.

Single family homes in the development would likely feature garages and driveways on the backside of the properties to allow for the integration of green front yards with the surrounding park:

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Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

To accomplish this, the single family housing area would feature a series of alleys connected by a few residential streets:

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Click to enlarge.

The new housing areas would be set back from existing houses surrounding the land by at least a couple of hundred feet to help preserve privacy:

RelationshIp-to-hood-scale

The inn and flex spaces:

Constantine described a vision for the small inn planned for the park and surrounding developments that would include features designed to spend more time in the park. A cafe and small boutique retail could be incorporated into the area by the inn and the luxury apartment complex. Here’s an over head view of the concept plan for that area. The inn is the small building with the red roof. The larger building to the right is the apartment complex:

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Click to enlarge.

The second open house will be 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Meadowbrook.