Representatives of American Furniture Warehouse – the anchor store for The Village at Katy planned development district at Pin Oak Road and I-10 – presented their plans for landscaping …
Representatives of American Furniture Warehouse – the anchor store for The Village at Katy planned development district at Pin Oak Road and I-10 – presented their plans for landscaping and facing the company’s building to the Keep Katy Beautiful Board at the board’s Feb. 4 meeting.
“Some of the challenges have been – How do we accomplish what we feel is a beautiful project [and] be able to get that word out in a timely manner,” said Nolan Morrison, an executive with American Furniture Warehouse who is overseeing landscaping for the chain’s Katy project.
Morrison said he had been informed that Katy was protective of the property the store is being built on, which sits at one of the main entrances into the city from I-10 along Pin Oak Road. As a result, he said, the company had tried to work with city officials to adjust its landscaping to satisfy as many residents as possible. He and his team had worked closely with city council members and made adjustments to the planned layout of the furniture store’s landscaping to meet that goal, Morrison said.
“Janet [Corte] and me had kind of come in at the tail end [of The Village at Katy PDD] after we got elected, but we did sit down and they changed a lot just at our discussion. [They] added the darker colored brick and they changed some of the outside to make it look a little bit more like some of our buildings in town like the police department and library,” said Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris, who attended the meeting.
Accommodations the company made at the city’s request included changing the color of the bricks currently being used to put facing on the building to match that of Katy City Hall and the new buildings added to the Old Town Katy District in downtown Katy near the intersection of Avenue C and Second Street. A high wall has also been added between the warehouse furniture store’s new site and the rest of the city which will be painted and have greenery planted nearby to keep the business from being an eyesore, Morrison said.
“One of the things we’ve done here that we haven’t done in the past is … there’s a lot of landscaping around the front,” Morrison said.
American Furniture Warehouse will be adding greenery to its portion of The Village at Katy, Morrison said. The current plan includes California Fan Palm trees, Eastern Redbuds, Green Ash, Pink Velour Crape Myrtle, Regal Mist Deer Grass, Valentine Bushes, Dwarf Bottlebrush – commonly known as Little John – and White Lady Banks roses. The roses are a flower-bearing vine that will be used along the walls that border the property and in other places to beautify the property and keep the walls from being eyesores, he said.
Keep Katy Beautiful Board members asked Morrison if American Furniture Warehouse would be willing to participate in a partnership with the city wherein the board would have trees planted in the esplanades along Pin Oak Road and the furniture store would maintain it thereafter. Morrison said the company would like to participate in such partnerships and would look for other opportunities to partner with community organizations as well.
Signage for the furniture store would include two monument signs along Pin Oak Road and Pin Oak Court – the new road bordering the northern side of the PDD – and a third, pylon-style sign along I-10. The signs are planned to be modern, possibly similar to the new signs near Katy Mills, and will be backlit by LEDs, Morrison said.
The smaller portion of the American Furniture Warehouse store will face Pin Oak Road, with the warehouse facility at the back of that store, Morrison said. The layout will allow a wall to block the warehouse facility from view and will have tractor trailers entering and exiting along I-10 rather than along Pin Oak Road to help control traffic. He added that a new roadway in the development between Old Hwy. 90 and I-10 would provide residents with additional avenues to avoid traffic as they come into town.
American Furniture Warehouse is environmentally conscious, Morrison said. The store’s landscaping intentionally chose water-efficient plants to conserve water and the warehouse and store will reuse or recycle furniture packing materials.
“Furniture like everything else comes in packaging like cardboard boxes and Styrofoam,” Morrison said. “We spend a lot of money on recycling. We buy these machines out of Germany and all the Styrofoam will go into that and it chews it up and spits it out. Then that product is actually reused. We pack it into a very small amount of area and that goes into actually making moldings for homes and a couple of other things.”
Plastic and cardboard are also baled and hauled away for recycling purposes, Morrison said.
Morrison said he understood that some Katy residents may still be unhappy with the project overall, for which American Furniture Warehouse is only partly responsible, but he hoped they would be pleasantly surprised once the building was completed in the near future.
“By April we’re hoping a substantial portion of the construction will be done. I think, a lot of things people are pointing out, that view will change dramatically,” Morrison said.
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