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An inside look at Piper Village under construction

Last week we wrote about the pervious asphalt being used at the new Piper Village mixed-use development behind Blockbuster on 85th between 1st and Palatine. A few days later, we were invited on a tour of the first phase of the development, The Sedges at Piper Village.

This 46-unit apartment building with 12,000-square-feet of retail space on the ground floor is on track to open next spring. The apartments range from 325-square-foot studios to 1,200-square-foot units with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a small den. Rent will range from $800-$2,100. Here’s a view to the southeast looking towards 85th St. and the parking lot behind Taproot Theatre:

The largest of the five retail spaces is about 4,000 square feet, which would be suitable for a restaurant. They’re targeting small-scale, neighborhood businesses. They don’t want – or have room for – big box retailers.
The pervious asphalt reduces storm water runoff, but it’s just one part of a layered drainage system, which includes three feet of crushed rock and drainage pipes. Megan Hilfer of Parsons Public Relations says the pervious asphalt can take 80 percent of the runoff out of the storm drain system. The asphalt is used on the large parking lot on the north end and on the driving/walking lane on the south side. “The pervious asphalt will let the water go into the earth and then the overflow will go into the drain system,” Project Manager Gary Brunt says. The large parking lot will have 161 parking spaces, but some of those will be reserved for the apartments.
Because the development – and a good chunk of Greenwood – is built on a bog, they’ve incorporated a native bog representation. In the photo below you can see one large and one smaller pool of water, which will have plantings around them; the area to the right (east) of the bogs will eventually be town homes (around 2012-2014):

Brunt’s family’s corporation owns a lot of property in Greenwood, including the old McDonald’s building, which will eventually be demolished in a later phase of the five-phase development. Brunt says he’ll rent out that building if anyone wants it, but he didn’t want to demolish it now because he didn’t want a big empty lot.
The lane on the south side will have water features and sidewalks with pavers with spaces between for water runoff. “This whole lane is designed in the European style call Woonerf,” Hilfer explains. “We’re calling it Woonerf-esque. It’s designed to promote walking.” She compares it to the cobblestone streets around Pike Place Market, which are designed for pedestrians first, but also allow cars. Here’s the view of the lane and the concrete water features on the sides from an apartment above:

The lane will be one way going east, and will eventually go all the way to Greenwood Avenue where the old McDonald’s building is. That lane will be right turn only onto Greenwood Avenue. There will be a plaza area between Top Ten Toys and The Sedges. A new stairwell was installed on the hillside next to Top Ten Toys down to The Sedges lane, and the orange fenced area you see on the right in the photo below will be native planting areas, with a sidewalk:

The building housing Top Ten Toys, Blockbuster and Bartell Drugs will not be demolished, but the lower level is being remodeled for more retail.
Brunt’s grand vision for Piper Village is for it to be “The center of Greenwood, maybe the heart of Greenwood,” he says. “I think it will be something the community can support and enjoy for a long time.”