McKee Carson's plan for the Union Bank and Trust (now Union First Market Bank) was awarded "Outstanding Plan of Development" for 2005 by the City of Charlottesville Planning Commission Board and the Garden Club of Virginia's "Dugdale Award for Meritorious Achievement in Conservation" for 2007.
The site is located along the City of Charlottesville’s designated entry corridor. This former one-acre nursery is one of the few sites where an existing stream (Meadow Creek) has been daylighted (without a culvert) and is surrounded by a small stand of maples, sycamores and dogwoods along its banks. The surrounding developments have buried and paved over the stream to accommodate more parking spaces than is required or needed. In fact, the bank’s original plans entailed burying Meadow Creek in a culvert and paving the entire site for the building and parking lot. Stormwater would be piped either into the buried stream or into the city’s storm drains putting additional pressure on the system.
As landscape architects and engineers for this project, we encouraged the bank officials to pursue an alternative LID (Low Impact Development) approach. Instead of burying Meadow Creek with an expansive impervious parking lot, we proposed to preserve the stream and design the building and parking lot around it. We designed an above-ground natural stormwater attenuation system (planted bioretention areas) adjacent to both sides of Meadow Creek, and proposed a wetland meadow plant mix with larger hydric species trees in the open space to enhance this small but crucial ecological corridor.
What could have been a typical over-engineered urban infill project turned into an environmentally conscientious cultural amenity. In fact, the Union Bank and Trust president proclaimed this particular project as the ‘green’ prototype for all Union Banks in the state.