Apparently sparing no expense, OliverMcMillan is wrapping its new River Oaks District in a mantle of green that promises to imbue the luxe mixed-use complex with the aura of the neighborhood from which it derived its name.
Just as massive oak trees give character to River Oaks, 64 mature oaks are being planted this week as part of the project's $6 million landscape plan.
Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects of Chicago has crafted the design that includes three 20-inch round live oaks that soar 28 feet above the development's central plaza. Add 50 overcup oaks, 79 crape myrtles and 73 cedar elms, most of the trees reaching 19 feet high.
In all, the design calls for 300 trees to be spread across the 14-acre property, strategically positioned to provide shade along the 15-foot wide sidewalks. The goal is to create a pleasant environment for pedestrians, an experience to be enhanced by overhead fans that whirl beneath the network of building awnings.
The numbers are equally impressive for the remainder of the landscaping — 23,551 perennial plants and nearly 5,000 annuals. Theses will provide color and texture to the parkways and planters that will be placed along most sidewalks. Installation began earlier this week with an army of workers planting.
In press materials Hoerr Schaudt describes the plan: "Plant types are massed together into large blocks to create interlocking geometric planes. Bold contrasts in foliage color, a playful mix of plant textures and a variety in height create a garden-like experience . . . Flowering perennials and changing leaf color will signal the change in seasons."
The first of the retailers — Cartier — is set to open September 3. Other designer boutiques, residences and restaurants will open intermittently throughout the fall.