New awnings, windows planned for Kercheval Place / by Jennifer Jurek


Published March 27, 2015

By K. Michelle Moran

CITY — The flurry of activity, renovation and new development continues in the Village.

Kercheval Place, located at 17000 Kercheval Ave., is undergoing new improvements, and the Grosse Pointe City Council unanimously approved an amended site plan for the building during a meeting March 16.

City Planner John Jackson, of McKenna Associates, said the last time officials considered an overall site plan for this structure was in 2006-07, when a site plan and signs were approved.

Southfield-based Versa Development, which owns the building, isn’t seeking any changes in usage, but it has proposed additional architectural features to further spruce up the building and make it easier for patrons to find businesses on the first and second floors. The only change along Kercheval is the addition of a rigid canopy that projects from the building about 3 feet, which Jackson said is a “relatively minor modification.” He said the canopy, which will be over the office portion of the building, is intended to draw attention to those tenants and the entryway to their offices.

“We feel it’s consistent with the charm of the building,” Jackson said. At more than 8 feet above the sidewalk, it meets with City ordinances, he added.

A second rigid canopy, which Jackson said would be a curved awning on Notre Dame that projects out from the building by about 5 feet, is proposed. Both awnings will be bronze-colored aluminum.

Another new feature is a decorative paved area along Notre Dame that will be used to link the City sidewalk with the building entrance.

“It’s good urban design to connect the sidewalk to the building,” Jackson explained.

Also adding interest will be the addition of four new windows on the second floor on the St. Clair side of the building, he said.

Gregory Erne, a principal with Versa Development, said renovations on Kercheval Place “started a long time ago,” but things have picked up in recent months. He said the new awnings will help to market the building to office tenants. Pet Supplies Plus, a first-floor retail tenant with its own signs, is already under construction, and Erne said most of the remaining first-floor spaces are leased. The awning on Kercheval is a way to show visitors where the entrance to these offices is, so they don’t accidentally enter through Pet Supplies Plus in an effort to find another tenant.

Erne said they’re trying to create enhanced lobbies and a better professional atmosphere, especially for the second floor, which is already about 60 percent full.

“The good news is, we’re already seeing a lot of leasing traction,” he said.

“It looks good,” City Councilman Christopher Walsh said of the revised elements.

Mayor Dale Scrace recused himself from the discussion and vote, so Mayor Pro Tem Jean Weipert took over running the meeting for this item.

“I’m recusing myself from this … because I have an active relationship with the applicant,” Scrace said.

Jackson said the applicant would probably be back at the council’s April meeting to seek approval for a revised master sign plan for the building.

“We’re still working with the applicant (on that),” Jackson said.