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Plans for a mixed-use project in northwest Plainfield Township call for 18 apartment units across two buildings, as well as more than 7,000 square feet of commercial space in one building. Plans for a mixed-use project in northwest Plainfield Township call for 18 apartment units across two buildings, as well as more than 7,000 square feet of commercial space in one building. Credit: Courtesy of planning documents

‘Unique’ mixed-use housing project pitched for northwest Plainfield Township

BY Monday, March 27, 2023 08:36pm

PLAINFIELD TWP. — Developers have introduced plans for a mixed-use housing project in northwest Plainfield Township that local officials say is a “different way of thinking, … unique” and aligned with broader goals around growing housing density.

The township’s planning commission this week will consider a proposal from Brandon Visser and Dan Uccello to repurpose property just west of U.S. 131 at Post Drive NE with apartments, restaurant and retail space. Uccello co-owns local restaurant group Flo’s Collection, while Visser helps operate Steve Visser Builder LLC, a family-owned residential and commercial builder and developer. 

Early plans for the project on roughly 3 acres at 1303 Post Drive call for a two-story, mixed-use building and a separate three-story residential building. The mixed-use building would have 3,600 square feet of retail and 3,600 square feet of restaurant space on the ground floor, and six multifamily units on the second floor, according to documents filed with the township. The residential building would be situated behind the mixed-use building and contain 12 two-bedroom apartments.

A single-family home currently occupying the commercially zoned property would be demolished under the proposal.

Plainfield Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden said the proposal reflects the type of projects that township officials want to encourage. That includes goals and zoning ordinance changes — including mixed-use projects and green infrastructure — under the 2021 Reimagine Plainfield initiative that encourages new investments and redevelopments along Plainfield Avenue.

While the Post Drive project is located miles away from Plainfield Avenue, Van Wyngarden said it aligns with the planning initiative.

“The Reimagine Plainfield plan has transformed ways we think about development in other areas of the township,” Van Wyngarden said. “I don’t know yet if exactly what’s being proposed (on Post Drive) will go through, but it is a different way of thinking and is unique and it’s more in line with what we’re trying to do. We’ve got to treat our land like it’s worth something. We can’t keep zoning and permitting uses that gobble up land at such a high rate with all the needed housing in our community that we keep pushing further out.”

Doing business as 1772 Post LLC, Uccello purchased the property for $325,000 in September 2016, according to property records. 

The planning commission denied a previous planned unit development rezoning request for the property in November 2022. Wally Bulkowski of Fusion Properties LLC previously proposed a commercial building and separate 18-unit multifamily building garages at the Post Drive property.

Uccello hopes to formally request a rezoning change at the planning commission in the coming weeks. 

Visser said the new plan differs from last year’s proposal by including more greenspace and better separation between commercial and residential parking. He added that the proposal includes both commercial and residential components to both meet housing demand as well as reflect nearby commercial properties.

“Because of the size and location, this site is really geared more toward something that is more compact,” Visser told MiBiz. “We’re all about trying to do something that is a little more unique and new-age in our design.”

The site plan leaves room to develop other amenities through landscaping, such as a dog park or community gardens. Plans call for 70 parking spaces for the mixed-use building, with separate parking areas for residential and commercial uses, and 27 spaces for the residential building, including 12 garage spaces. 

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