Fuss & O’Neill Captures Award for Mill at Hop Brook
- Jun 02, 2014
Manchester, Conn.—Two CREW CT Blue Ribbon Awards have been bestowed on Fuss & O’Neill Inc., a firm providing scientific, engineering, planning and design services, for its work at the Mill at Hop Brook development in Simsbury, Conn.
The environmentally friendly development featured the restoration of a 17th Century grist mill into an award-winning restaurant and 10,000 square feet of commercial space, along with development of 88 apartments, 20 privately owned luxury townhomes, a community center and central village green.
The timing of the development had much to do with the demand for additional rental properties in Connecticut’s Farmington Valley.
“The abandoned mill site with a scenic waterfall provided the perfect setting for that residential development,” Stephanie White, Fuss & O’Neill senior landscape architect, tells MHN. “In the end we were able to create a mixed-use community that combines townhomes and apartments with a beautiful restaurant that offers fine dining featuring local New England cuisine. And we were able to accomplish this on a unique and picturesque spot. Also, the increased desire for rental living within a walkable community made this project attractive. The site itself is located within a 10-minute walk from the downtown and regional bike trail.”
The project’s most daunting environmental challenge was providing the high residential density the development required, while ensuring there would be minimal impact on the site’s natural spaces.
“This was accomplished by maintaining large areas of open space and connecting them with a series of walking paths to the townhomes and the mill complex,” White says. “After enhancing an existing pond with state-of-the-art storm water treatment systems, we were able to include the pond and its picturesque waterfall along the walking trail network.”
From a landscape architecture perspective, one of the hurdles was creating a palette that would reflect a historic Connecticut mill village, she says.
“We accomplished this by using materials such as cobble, local brownstone and brick pavers, and planting heirloom trees and plants, including elms, oaks, lilacs and hydrangeas, throughout the site,” White says. “The designed landscape is the perfect complement to the historic mill.”
The development has garnered “a terrific response,” White says. That positive reception has been forthcoming from both residents of the town homes and apartments, as well as Simsbury residents who work or dine at the mill.
“The residents appreciate the sense of community that the pond house and village green provide, and they love the historic flavor that the mill complex adds to the development,” White says. “They feel it has much more character and amenities than a conventional rental development. The residents also enjoy being within walking distance to the town center and local bike trail, and of course having a scenic waterfall right in their back yard.”