Horse sculptures gallop into Palladio

By: Eric Laughlin, Telegraph Correspondent
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The latest sign of activity at Palladio at Broadstone is the installation of several large horse sculptures. They are the work of artist J. Randall Smith, of Auburn. Each 900-pound steed was transported by flatbed truck and a crane was used to hoist the pieces into place. Smith said the horse sculptures were meant to evoke the Renaissance — the Palladio is named for 16th century Venetian architect Andrea Palladio — but also a whimsical spirit that’s perhaps best exemplified by movie director Tim Burton’s animations. “The idea is to give them a fanciful feeling,” Smith said. Art consultant Cindy Strickland worked with Smith and Elliott Homes’ Harry Elliott IV, Harry Elliott III and Price Walker over four years to move the project slowly to completion. Elliott Homes owns Broadstone Land LLC, which is developing the 540,000-square-foot outdoor retail attraction. Elliott Homes considered eight local artist portfolios before deciding on works by Smith and Phill Evans of Fair Oaks. Evans has created kinetic sculptures, using copper and bronze as key materials. “It’s nice that they have been working with local artists because it has been a real collaborative process,” Strickland said. In addition to the statues, developers said leasing progress has intensified and public traffic is expected to increase with the late October opening of the popular upscale grocery chain Whole Foods. Brian Spickard spoke on behalf of Broadstone Land LLC, developer of Palladio and also the Broadstone Marketplace. “There are certainly many a deals in the making and a couple more phases available,” he said. The Palladio 16 theatre has been up and running since 2009 and features all-stadium luxury seating. Additionally, it’s the largest solar-powered movie theater in the world, with rooftop panels covering about 50 percent of its electrical costs. Also open these days are restaurants Johnny Rocket’s and Blue Nami, and yogurt shop Pink Berry. Spickard said shopping merchants that have inked deals to join the center include Sports Authority, H & M, Victoria Secrets, Ann Taylor Loft and Express. Restaurants set to open their doors include Chicago Fire Pizza, Chop Steak Seafood and Bar, Freebird’s World Burrito and country singer Toby Keith’s new dining and entertainment concept called Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill. Keith’s other restaurants have opened in Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, and Chicago, among others, and feature big name music acts that include periodic visits by Keith himself. The restaurant also features a large menu and happy hour specials, in addition to football parties on Sundays. Chop Steak restaurant partner Geoff Flynn said he’s excited to be a part of the Palladio. “That center is absolutely first rate,” he said. “It’s definitely the future of malls in this country and we’re happy be in there.” Flynn added that the restaurant is currently finishing up its permit process and hopes to open by the end of the year or early next. A four-story office building will also operate within the center. But Spickard said the 80,000 square-foot facility is all booked up by future tenants. For more information on progress with the Palladio, visit ~ Gus Thomson contributed to this story.