Aug 25, 2011 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
When it came to finding the right location for Madison Row, developer Michael Dougherty says the village of Manlius was perfect.
“Manlius is almost a rare anomaly of a community with very high demographics and that is underserved in restaurant, food, higher quality retail spaces and luxury apartments,” said Dougherty, president of Mayflower Cos. Inc., the DeWitt-based company overseeing Madison Row. “In fact, the office market in Manlius is also scarce in this western part of the village.”
Madison Row, located at the corner of Route 92 and Stickley Drive, is a four-acre development that will feature a two-story, mixed-use building along Route 92, a small public park, tree-lined sidewalks and a 100-space parking lot not visible from the main road. The development will go up at the former site of six homes along Route 92 that were acquired by Dougherty and demolished this past spring.
The project embraces a New Urbanism design philosophy that discourages urban sprawl and emphasizes walkability. Construction entered Phase II with the recent completion of sidewalks along Route 92 and Stickley Drive. The existing sidewalk along 92 was moved back from the road about eight feet to encourage walking.
That sidewalk once posed a danger to pedestrians, said Mark-Paul Serafin, mayor of Manlius.
“We have senior citizens living nearby — ‘Stickley Noon Walkers’ — children playing on Little League teams and participating in our Parks and Rec programs, just to name a few, that will benefit from the new Madison Row pedestrian-friendly sidewalks,” Serafin said.
Now, focus can shift to securing the final leases for the development. According to Dougherty, two of the 10 retail spaces, and only one of the three offices, remain available. He also has a waiting list of interested parties for the apartments.
The Madison Row building will include a sushi bar, an Italian food to-go shop, a small bistro, a salon and a yoga studio, and negotiations are in the works for a national fast-casual concept, a bakery and a coffee shop. Dougherty said leasing will be finished by the end of the summer and construction drawings are underway. He expects construction on the building to begin in March 2012.
He said construction of a separate Key Bank building, which was scheduled to begin July 1, will likely start then. Dougherty is partnering with JGB Properties on the overall site, but Key Bank is working with an independent contractor.
“We are awaiting announcement from them but likely they will be starting in March with our schedule if we do not see mobilization by the middle of September,” Dougherty said.
According to Dougherty, Madison Row is the first project of its kind. He noted that partnering tenants are working with a format they are not necessarily familiar with.
“The design whereby the buildings are close to the road with no parking in front is one that is new, and takes some getting used to,” he said. “Although buildings were done like this 100 years ago, that was before most were arriving by their own car that they need to park.
A reflection of the need
Madison Row will provide residents with some needed food options and restaurants as well as other service, Dougherty said.
“The combination of uses we have brought to the project are as much a reflection of the need as anything else,” Dougherty said.
Serafin said the planning board drafted new zoning language that created a planned unit development allowing for mixed-use development.
“Mayor Serafin in particular is a big proponent of this design philosophy and has been very instrumental in this project coming to fruition as well as the entire village planning board,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty expects the local economy benefit from the addition of office tenants spending money at lunchtime. “Local sales tax revenue as well as property tax will be increased with this significant investment,” he said.
Dougherty thinks Madison Row could influence further development in the village.
“We sincerely believe this will spawn other development along the Fayette Street corridor as well as have a positive effect on local real estate values,” he said.
“Most importantly,” he added, “we hope this will show that Manlius is a great place to do business.”
Four years of planning
Mayor Serafin said the “true genesis” of Madison Row began more than four years ago when the village began to develop its comprehensive plan, now known as Vision Manlius, for smart, pedestrian-friendly growth.
“Many dedicated, diligent, hard working village residents spent countless hours conceiving and drafting the plan,” Serafin said. “Vision Manlius also includes specific design guidelines that would have a positive impact on the aesthetic of our main streetscapes.”
Serafin has been working with Dougherty for more than two years, going back to his first month as mayor
“The fact that a major project has broken ground in Manlius, the most significant development to happen since Arley’s Hotel was moved across the street and was transformed into Liberty Square, has me very excited,” he said.
He is also excited about Madison Row’s location at the village’s western gateway, and expects the project to influence future smart development in the village.
“The Madison Row facades will echo architectural styles we see in the village today and bring back architectural elements we have lost over the years,” he said.
About the developer
Michael Dougherty has developed and leased a number of retail properties in DeWitt, including the Mayflower Building on Bridge Street, for which he received the town of DeWitt Planning Board’s Award for Excellence.
He was nominated by the American Institute of Architects for an Award of Merit for Commercial Building Design for his Aspen Dental/Vitamin Shoppe building and he serves on the AIA Central New York Chapter for architectural design review.