Western Michigan University worked with Fishbeck and O’Boyle, Cowell, Blalock & Associates to design an expansion of its Business Technology and Research Park onto a 55-acre parcel of land to the northwest of the existing BTR Park, originally known locally as the Colony Farm Orchard. The project garnered a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), and was developed through a three-way partnership with Oshtemo Township and the Road Commission of Kalamazoo County. Construction commenced in the late Summer of 2019 and was completed in the Fall of 2020. Officially titled BTR North, the development welcomed its first tenant in September of 2021.
Planning for the park included a community advisory committee, discussions with the nearby neighborhoods and public comment solicited through social media and a dedicated website. Input from these sessions led to design features that integrate the goals of the park with the natural features of the land. Some of these are noted below:
- A bee colony on the site was relocated to ensure it would not be disturbed
- A rare orchid on the property was preserved in a buffer zone
- The property was assessed to ensure nesting bats would not be disrupted
- Diseased apple trees were eliminated on-site and great care was taken to ensure the illness would not spread
- The portion of the Asylum Lake Preserve that is near the property was unaffected by the development due to a buffer zone that includes public access features like a boardwalk, observation platform, walking paths and benches
- A buffer zone was established to protect mature trees with trunks over six inches in diameter to create an oak savannah
- Native and low-mow turf seedings cover much of the green space
Learn more about the development and the design process here.
We are very excited to announce that the BTR North project received SITES v2 Silver level certification from the Sustainable SITES Initiative as verified by the U.S. Green Business Certification Inc. with a total of 87 points! SITES is a comprehensive rating system for developing sustainable land which focuses on designing with sustainable soils, landscapes and water management strategies. You can see our official certificate and learn more about this extraordinary achievement at the Sustainable SITES Initiative's website.