New residential development One Hundred at South Broad is going to be the kind of place where children can safely ride their bikes in the street.
"Twenty-five years ago, it would have been commonplace to see kids riding their bikes in the road [and people] standing in the middle of the road talking to neighbors," Collier Construction CEO Ethan Collier said. "The only way we can achieve that is by designing a different kind of street and taking the homes and designing homes in a way that interacts with the street."
Collier Construction is ahead of schedule on the development, which is located on St. Elmo Avenue behind the Southern Saddlery Building.
It will have about 29 single-family homes and 22 three-story townhouses. Originally, developers planned commercial space, but they have decided to focus only on residential development now, Collier said.
Homes will range from about $250,000 to $375,000, depending on the style of the units. There will be multiple floor plan options for the homes, which will all be energy-efficient and designed by the award-winning Cogent Studio.
Construction on townhouses will start in late January or early February, and single-family homes will likely start going up in February or March, Collier said.
There's been a lot of interest and positive feedback on the project. More than 50 people are on a list to get more information about the development, he also said.
"We are not just talking about building this neighborhood, we are building it," he said. "We've had such a positive response. That's what's enabled us to move at this speed."
The road that runs through the middle of the development is more like a promenade or public plaza that connects the community.
"In order for that to work, it's got to be well-landscaped so you feel like you're walking through a garden and not an interstate," Collier also said.
Landscape architect Matthew Whitaker, whose firm has designed everything from high-end residential neighborhoods to the master plan for Crabtree Farms, has created a main road that forces drivers to proceed slowly and that is pedestrian-friendly.
Just as an architect designs buildings, a landscape architect does the same for outdoor spaces, taking into consideration everything from plants to stormwater drainage, he said.
For the design, Whitaker has eliminated curbs and sidewalks and added "street furniture," such as benches and light poles, to help slow down drivers.
Money saved by eliminating curbs and sidewalks is going toward a special paver material for the road, which has spaces between it and allows for water storage. Instead of a detention pond or concrete storage structures, the pavement allows water to slowly seep into the road and migrate slowly into creeks and rivers over time, Whitaker also said.
Cogent Studio designed the buildings and collaborated with Whitaker and a civil engineer on the site design, Trey Wheeler with Cogent said via email.
The building designs are based on traditional architecture but include more modern materials in an effort to reduce ongoing maintenance and life cycle costs, he also said.
"The outdoor spaces are as important as the indoor spaces, and the lines between the two are rather intentionally blurred," Wheeler said.
And he hopes this is the first of many more similar designs.
"It is more than a little exciting when clients come to us wanting to explore these ideas," he said.
Whitaker worked for 12 years in the Chesapeake Bay area, where designs like this one are more common, he said.
There are cost savings and benefits in using space for dual purposes, he said.
"With each client, we educate them," he said. "It's not a hard sell and we continue to get interest in what we're doing."
Updated @ 9:29 a.m. on 12/21/15.