A very site-specific building, Aspen Brook Plaza in the Cool Springs area was designed to both maximize square footage and meet some unusual zoning restrictions. For the Carden team that meant organizing and managing construction for a complex, multi-story building that filled the long, narrow, sloping site.
The owners of the property that would be the home of Aspen Brook Plaza saw the potential in what most builders would view as a pretty challenging site for an ambitious retail and office complex: a long rectangle, narrow front to back, and with a significant vertical grade change. The relatively small lot also managed to fall into two different zoning categories.
“The left-hand side of the site is zoned interstate-commercial; the right-hand side is zoned general-commercial,” explained Eric Powers of The Innovations Group, who represented the investment group for the building. The split-zoning had a direct impact on the look of the building: interstate-commercial zoning lets you build up 7 stories; general-commercial rules only allow 3 stories.
“So the building is actually higher on the left-hand side than the right through working our way through zoning restrictions,” said Powers, adding, “It’s very unusual to have two zones on such a small site. Just an oddity of this property – we were able to work around it.”
The vertical grade change front to back was also creatively accommodated. “It led to the solution of putting parking underneath the building to bridge the difference in the vertical grade,” said Powers. “We ended up with one full level of underground parking – more parking underneath so we could get more building above.”
But by maximizing their space with a complex, multi-story building that pushes out nearly to the property line – and making use of the site’s slope instead of leveling it – Aspen Brook’s design presented considerable difficulties for the construction team. “Logistically, just getting into the site to make the construction happen with the narrow dimensions obviously was a challenge for the construction guys – and they didn’t have a lot of staging area on the site,” said Powers.
The result is an impressive landmark and a satisfied client. “Really, the Carden crew did a very, very good job on the whole project. They worked well with our team. We had several challenges to the project that were not common to have, especially on a complicated project like this,” said Powers. “They were a good selection for this project and were able to execute it well.”