After it appeared on the Nolensville Planning Commission agenda last week, a developer invited Nolensville residents and community members to a Town Hall Tuesday night to discuss plans for a newly-proposed mixed-use development called Southwalk.
With concerns spanning more than an hour of discussion, planning commissioners deferred the proposed development to the June 11 Planning Commission meeting.
Entrepreneur and developer Matthew Chilvers of Chilvers Properties explained Tuesday that he thinks there was some “shock factor” when he initially presented the concept to the planning commission.
“They’ve never seen anything like this, it’s brand new,” Chilvers said.
Southwalk was inspired by the shopping and town centers which Chilvers said he saw during trips to Italy. The development is proposed for land north of Brittain Plaza and south of Haley Industrial Park on Nolensville Road.
On Chilvers’ team are Michael Dewey of Dewey Engineering and Steve Durden of Durden Architecture. A traffic study was conducted as part of the conceptual planning for Southwalk, which can be read here.
“Originally I was going to develop just like everyone else develops in Nolensville,” Chilvers said. “Put in a strip mall and we were going to develop the back of the property with some office and warehouse type of use. But we were thinking about Italy and wandering through Italy…[and] we really were excited about that kind of lifestyle.”
Chilvers said along with his engineer, architect and subcontractors, his wife Julie had also been involved in the development plans along the way. The pedestrian-oriented development would include retail shops, restaurants, offices and residential space all centered around a multi-use plaza, roughly the size of a half football field.
Though it is still in a conceptual phase, Chilvers has big ideas for the space. The uses he sees for the plaza area include community events, live music and even a seasonal ice-skating rink.
Though he says it may sound “far fetched,” Chilvers says an ice skating rink is doable, and his team has already leveled the plaza area out in designs.
The total proposed development — which can be viewed here —would encompass 1,179,856 square-feet or more than 27 acres.
Of the total development, 983,382 square feet — more than 22 acres — is listed on the concept plan’s residential unit density calculation as “dedicated to residential use.” The calculation is meant to show the plan’s proposed residential units per acre, but Chilvers says it is a bit misleading for this type of development.
Chilvers clarified that the density calculation and phrase “dedicated to residential use” has caused some confusion. The calculation, he said Thursday, includes the town homes (100% residential) as well as the mixed-use portions (residential and commercial).
“It almost looks like there’s 22 acres of residential [use] and five acres of commercial [use], when it really is 22 acres of residential [use] and commercial [use] together and five acres of commercial alone,” Chilvers said.
In other words, the parts of the development which will be used for both commercial and residential spaces must all be included in the residential density calculation because they will contain some residential space. But that doesn’t mean a full 22 acres will be devoted solely to residential use, Chilvers explained.
The construction schedule showed seven phases of the build, which is not estimated to reach completion until 2027.
During the lengthy discussion with planning commissioners on May 13, several commissioners stated that the town of Nolensville needed more commercial development. Chilvers mentioned this need as he addressed the community.
“Doing a mixed-use development in Nolensville will help the town’s budget. Everybody knows that the town needs more services, our volunteer fire department is going to have to be paid at some point, you know, [we’re] just a growing community,” Chilvers said. “And these things cost money. More police, more fire and emergency vehicles, the things that cities and towns have to have [must] be funded by something.”
Chilvers said the careful planning that can go into mixed-use development helps a developing town from becoming “anywhere USA,” or several strip malls with little variety.
“I don’t think that’s the best thing for Nolensville,” Chilvers said. “The best plan is to plan it out, make it beautiful, make it something special for Nolensville. And that’s what we’re doing.”
Alderman Derek Adams recorded Chilvers’ presentation to residents at the Town Hall Tuesday, which can be viewed here.
Before Southwalk could be developed, it needs the stamp of approval from the Planning Commission and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA). In order to begin that process, Chilvers will have to take revised plans before the Planning Commission and achieve its approval before the plans can be presented to BOMA, which will require a first and second reading as well as a formal public hearing.
The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for June 11 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall in Nolensville.