Stan Ware of Blue Bison Investments, the city of Canyon and Canyon Economic Development Corporation, and Parkhill, Smith & Cooper recently cut the ribbon on The Shops on Fifth Avenue retail space located near The Square in downtown Canyon, Texas – a project that will help utilize a once empty space to connect the downtown shops to more customers, city parking and the Canyon community.

“Six years ago, there weren’t but about six to 10 cars in the parking lot here,” Ware said. “The city of Canyon and the Canyon Economic Development Corporation made a commitment to The Square and (Blue Bison) got to join in on that process and re-develop this. Now you have 50-60 cars out here each day and night. We’ve got restaurants coming in, new apparel stores coming in and its all just really exciting.”

It completes a formal pedestrian procession that connects parking to the downtown core. It is the gateway to downtown for many visitors and provides an immediate retail experience before visitors actually arrive onto the square perimeter sidewalk system. Special design consideration was given such that pedestrian circulation movements were understood and that interaction between the pedestrian and vehicular circulation paths were minimized. This helps to maintain a safe, walkable environment downtown. The existing pedestrian circulation around the perimeter of the square was maintained on the north side of the project site.

“What we were really excited about was creating this link, this pass-through courtyard between the two buildings and how could we make that a very inviting space,” PSC Senior Associate and project architect Greg Billman said. “How could we grab the shoppers’ immediate attention? And we also wanted to provide them with a comfortable space to get out of the sun and into the shade.”

PSC worked closely with the Canyon Economic Development Corporation, the City of Canyon, and Blue Bison Investments LLC, a local developer, to understand their needs and desires. Landscape materials were incorporated to accent the architecture. PSC worked with the developer to define their vision of providing a retail experience which would add vibrancy to the downtown shopping experience while maintaining the historic vernacular using elements and materials which related to other buildings on the square.

Planting beds and trees were utilized to soften the built environment and provide an expanse of varying colors, forms, and textures in the pedestrian mall. Plant materials were selected based on their lower maintenance and water requirements. Irrigation systems were designed to provide the most efficient water supply to the plant and minimize runoff or overspray onto the architecture. Subsurface stormwater systems were used to ensure proper conveyance of water off the site. Pedestrian level lighting was incorporated in to the planter walls for added ambient lighting and to accent pedestrian zones.

“I think we started out with the big picture when we started chasing after this project,” project landscape architect Chad Dietz said. “We really wanted to look at The Square, holistically, in Canyon and how The Square impacts the city. Being from Canyon and growing up here and seeing how the activity has increased, we really wanted to expand upon that. So We looked at connectivity around The Square and how can people park and then walk around the area. That’s really what drove this project was connectivity and walkability and creating that vibrant environment during the evening time and day.”

Ware said he hopes the new area continues to attract more people to the area during the days and evening – including the students from West Texas A&M in Canyon. Several new shops will open in the next few months including a beer and pizza place called “Barrel and Pie” and a bar-cade aimed at the younger, college crowd called “Recreation.” He said the Shops will help improve the commerce in the area and provide new jobs while helping PSC and Canyon in building community.

“That’s what the Canyon Square is about is community and drawing the local people in,” Ware said. “Parkhill helped us hit that mark perfect with the design of this.”