By Chris Yow
TRUSSVILLE — Demolition and land-clearing has been the focus of Blackwater Resources for the past two months in Trussville, but Director of Planning Phillip McAfee spoke to the Trussville Daybreak Rotary Club Wednesday morning to update the developer’s progress in the area.
McAfee updated the club on the progress of the Homestead Village shopping center that will be located on U.S. 11 across from the Tutweiler subdivision.
“We are in the process of developing homestead village. It’s been a long road, and what a lot of people don’t see is it takes a lot to get to where we are and even to the opening,” McAfee said. “We’re in the process of directing the finished product.”
McAfee said the plans for this center were once large, but have been scaled back due to some hurdles. Currently, the project is expected to total around 160,000 square feet. He added working through those hurdles with Trussville officials was a good system.
“Working with your local officials was a pleasure. Working through the problems to get where we are was a good process. Nothing is easy in the development business,” he said.
One of the problems causing delays currently is the wet soil due to the proximity to Pinchgut Creek.
“Being where it is, along the creek in back, we have soft soils. We have to install a system of over 10,000 vertical drains drilled down into the soil. It will pick up the water, drain it off, and that allows us to bring in material to build up and we’re going to surcharge the building pads to compress the earth, so that once we build the buildings, we won’t have to worry about them settling or cracking,” McAfee said. “We love projects where we can go in, cut the trees down, cut the top layer of soil, move a little soil around, and go to vertical raising, but as the old saying in development goes, ‘All the good sites are gone.’”
McAfee did say the catch ponds would filter the water that flows into the creek and Cahaba River.
The process will take several months, and what is being done now is preparing the land for that process. Once that is complete, McAfee said there could be a period of two months where no work is done to allow the ground to settle.
“There will be a time where we really have no work to do because we can’t install utilities. We need that soil off the building pads back on to the parking lot area so we can put in our material,” he said.
After that time, however, McAfee said he expects the buildings to begin going up around August or September, as long as the weather is cooperative. That would allow the company to hit its target date of Spring 2017 to hold the grand opening.
“It’s great to be in Trussville. The reason why we’re here is because the tenants want to be here. We wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing if the tenants didn’t want to be here,” McAfee said.