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Another Voice: Development at Gates Circle is a thoughtful process

By Christian Campos

TM Montante Development’s vision for the Gates Circle site is a vibrant, diverse and high-quality urban place where people will love to be. It will have a range of residential choices, a measure of class A office space, a health and wellness center, a neighborhood grocery store and local-serving retail and restaurants, all organized around a safe, walkable city street.

A recent Another Voice column noted that a “thoughtful” project is needed at the historic Gates Circle site. We could not agree more, and that is exactly what TM Montante Development has been diligently working toward.

This includes significant outreach with neighborhood residents in and around Gates Circle. We also proactively created a committee made up of leaders of neighborhood block clubs and other stakeholder organizations that meets on a monthly basis to gather community input on the direction of the project.

We have heard the argument that retail doesn’t belong in this project. All we can say is that we don’t agree. People who are moving to urban centers to enjoy city living also want the convenience of being able to walk somewhere close to grab a cup of coffee or a gallon of milk.

Our project’s proposed retail component features a neighborhood grocery store and a health and wellness center as well as multiple small retail shops to serve the people who will live, work and visit there.

We also understand that many neighbors fear the possibility that “big box” retail will be developed on-site. This is not what we have planned, proposed or even considered. We agree that this would be an undesirable outcome for the community. A shopping center has no place on Gates Circle.

Based on the feedback we have received, we feel that most people in the neighborhood and the broader community have embraced our vision and support this project – especially when just a few years ago the likely prospect was to have a vacant hospital looming over the neighborhood for unknown years to come.

In the coming week, the Gates Circle redevelopment project will take a meaningful step forward with the implosion of the main hospital tower. By the end of 2015, the majority of the site will be cleared and ready for new development.

We have spent a lot of time listening to the community during the past two years, which has led to several adjustments to our development plan. And we look forward to working with the community in the years ahead as we develop individual projects on-site that collectively transform the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital into a vibrant, mixed-use urban district.

Christian Campos is president of TM Montante Development.