Outside, shopping carts line up neatly at the new HomeGoods as shoppers bustle in and out of the recent addition to Maple Village. Inside is just about every home decoration imaginable–from gourmet coffee and treats to seasonal items to throw pillows to serving dishes to pet gifts.
Next door, the upscale Stein Mart is just as well stocked, a throwback to clothing stores of the past–with men’s and ladies’ dressy clothing and casual wear, intimates, hosiery and shoes, and even a small section with some items carried by its next-door neighbor.
The remodeled Maple Village’s parking lot also looks a lot better than it did during Kmart’s long reign here. It’s prettier, with tree-filled islands dotted across what was once an unbroken sea of asphalt. But the aesthetic improvement is actually secondary: the design change is mostly due to city and county regulations.
City planner Matt Kowalski explains that when Maple Village was constructed in the 1960s, there were no storm water detention requirements–all the rain that fell on the buildings and parking lot ran straight into the city’s storm sewers.
Now, “you can’t let the water flow into the drain like you could back then,” Kowalski says. “It must infiltrate back into the ground, or [the site must] at least hold it and release it slowly back into the storm system.”
Maple Village was grandfathered under the old rules, because previous remodelings and store changes didn’t alter its footprint. But “if you add anything to a site, you have to add [storm water] detention to the whole lot,” Kowalski says–and Maple Village’s owner, Brixmor Property Group, wants to add a new 4,000-square-foot building next to HomeGoods. That required updating both the storm water retention, controlled by the county, and the landscaping, which must meet city code. That made things very complicated and expensive.
While the landscaping is generally more affordable, putting in large basins and/or underground pipes to upgrade the storm water can be cost prohibitive. Fortunately, the city and county worked jointly with Brixmor to come up with a solution.
“Those retaining islands that you see actually meet the landscaping guidelines,” Kowalski explains. “And also they have an indentation in them that will fill up with water, so it meets the county requirements as well.”
According to Brixmor, there is no new tenant at this time.
HomeGoods, 215 N. Maple Rd., ste. B (Maple Village), 761-6941. Mon.-Sat. 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. homegoods.com
Stein Mart, 215 N. Maple Rd. (Maple Village), 761-6916. Mon., Wed., & Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Tues. & Thurs. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. steinmart.com
This article has been edited since it was published in the December 2016 Ann Arbor Observer. The print version mistakenly reported that English Gardens had closed; the Maple Village store will remain open through December 2016.