We have been watching the progress for some time now. The Station Xchange project has gone from cleared land, to ground breaking, to hardhat only areas to opened shops. Where are they now and where are they going?
A bit of background. Station Xchange is the development venture of Dr. William "Bill" Trout. That in of itself is interesting. Bill still runs his cosmetic dentistry practice with Dr. Phil Copenhaver. Lucky for him, the practice is located at Station Xchange and makes the dual professions of developer and dentist a bit more doable.
However, between the two, Bill’s 2003 Harley Davidson remains woefully neglected.
Bill will tell you the sacrifices are worth it. He was looking to create a town center in the vein of what is known in the industry as "new urbanism." It is characterized by mixed use, high-density development coupled with a family friend atmosphere and community availability.
Combined with architect company Dawson Wissmach, planners from DesignWorks and Thomas Hutton Engineers, Bill thinks he has come real close to doing that. It may have taken a bit longer than he expected, but he is happy with the progress.
"We could have built metal buildings," says Bill, "or sold it off to someone who wouldn’t have taken care of the community. Instead, we wanted to create something beneficial to the community and enhancing to the city."
Station Xchange is halfway through phase one of development. This included the park, professional offices, retail shops and some residential units. Bill is attempting to work with merchants such as Midnight Star Pottery and Erin’s Fine Irish Imports to create a place to do business that appeals to the entire community. Much of this is accomplished through interaction with local organizations.
The park area has hosted several events already and has an extensive calendar for future endeavors. Activities such as music, movies and performing arts are supported by the merchants and presented for the general public. "All of our merchants are so passionate about what they do and how they fit into the bigger idea that is the Station Xchange," says Bill. He hopes this goes a long way to support some of the already established local organizations. "I am looking forward to working with the folks from Arts on Coast, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Historical Society," says Bill.
While phase one is not yet completed, progress has already begun on phase two. The ground is being prepared for J.T. Turner to start construction on a new location for the Heritage Bank. Phase two also includes plans for an anchor retail store on Hwy. 144, more retail space, a restaurant that has not been named yet and residential townhomes.
At some point, Station Xchange will move into phases three and four. These plans include townhouses located off Edsel, professional spaces and the amenities for the club members. Phase four consists of multifamily housing units located in the space near the railroad.
The proximity to the railroad has been a provocative question for many people around town. Bill understands and incorporated it into the Station Xchange. "We have no ocean, no river, no golf. What we do have is the railroad. So, we went with what we have and it turned into a wonderfully creative idea." That creative idea includes a section of laid track complete with a train car. The main buildings are designed with a train depot feel.
It is that sense of the Station Xchange that Bill enjoys the most. "We have wonderful events in the park and the buildings are nice," says Bill. "But, it is the feel that you get when the families show up and the kids are playing that really brings it all together."
Now that you know what is going on at the Station Xchange and what Bill thinks about it, I’d love to hear what you think.
April Groves covers all things business for the Bryan County News. You can send thoughts, press releases, tips and questions you’d like answered to firstname.lastname@example.org.