The Shops of Grand River which opened in October 2010, is a 330,000-square-foot outlet center in Leeds, Ala. The project is the first phase of what will be a 6,000-acre mixed-use development along the Cahaba River.
CMH Architects was charged with designing a major retail project in close proximity to one of the most biologically diverse and environmentally sensitive rivers in the U.S. It achieved this by undertaking major sitework to accommodate a development which will ultimately total 520,000 square feet. With the Cahaba River adjoining the site, the design team developed procedures which would protect it during and after construction working hand-in-hand with the Cahaba River Society. Erosion protection during construction exceeded all governmental requirements. The River Society now uses the project as an example of responsible development.
The design also used guidelines of both LEED as well as the Audubon Signature Program. It includes landscaped seating areas which catch rainwater and bioswales in parking areas that eliminate run-off. The Cahaba River was protected and buffered. The project was awarded the Gold level of Signature Certification by Audubon International.
Another part of the mission was to create a brand. The logo, an Indian symbol for water, is used as a recurring theme throughout the project in directional signage, on food court tables and at main entrances. To underscore the commitment to sustainable design, silhouettes of native flora and fauna are incorporated into all signage. A large water graphic that runs the length of the food court recalls the importance of not only the Cahaba River, but of water itself in our daily lives.
The budget for the project was $38 million, which included buildings, sitework and white box finishes for tenants. The final cost was $35.5 million.
The Shops of Grand River
Structural Design Group
Environmental Design Group