Planners approve Sterling Square’s new commercial development plan

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published March 17, 2024

 This conceptual rendering depicts the retail buildings that Sterling Square LLC wants to construct along 15 Mile Road, west of Schoenherr Road, in Sterling Heights.

This conceptual rendering depicts the retail buildings that Sterling Square LLC wants to construct along 15 Mile Road, west of Schoenherr Road, in Sterling Heights.

Image provided by the city of Sterling Heights


STERLING HEIGHTS — A developer is offering a “square” deal to build space for new retail businesses on the south side of 15 Mile Road, west of Schoenherr Road.

On Feb. 14, the Sterling Heights Planning Commission voted 9-0 to grant preliminary site plan approval for Sterling Square LLC’s latest commercial development proposal on a 15.1-acre parcel at 13200 15 Mile Road.

In December 2023, the Sterling Heights City Council voted 4-3 to reject the developer’s previous mixed-use planned unit development proposal in that spot. The rejected plan would have had two multiunit retail buildings, space for two restaurant buildings, and five two-story apartment buildings containing 64 luxury units.

Mayor Michael Taylor, Mayor Pro Tem Liz Sierawski and Councilman Michael Radtke voted yes, and council members Maria Schmidt, Barbara Ziarko, Deanna Koski and Henry Yanez voted no. Ziarko cited traffic concerns as a reason for her opposition. Taylor emphasized the need for more housing in the city.

The new, revised plan revealed in February eliminates the residential component altogether. Instead, officials said, it calls for two strip mall buildings, each 11,900 square feet and able to hold eight commercial businesses. A landscaped plaza would stand between those two retail buildings. In addition, to the west of those buildings would be a 2,450-square-foot outlot that could hold a future standalone restaurant.

The property is in a C-2 planned comparison business district and is also in a traditional mixed-use development node overlay district. Baumgartner Park is to the west, and the Red Run Drain is to the south. The parcel is also home to a former landfill that was retired in the 1960s, according to officials.

“The development really is occurring on the northern half of the site and preserving a great deal of the tree canopy and the green space on the site to the south that runs along the Red Run,” Assistant City Planner Shawn Keenan said.

Before any groundbreaking takes place, the developer must finish a Due Care Plan with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy in order to address the landfill issue, officials said.

According to the city’s PowerPoint presentation, the city “will review the plans for all required mitigation required on-site as part of their Due Care Plan prior to receiving final site plan approval.”

Keenan estimated the development’s investment at $2.7 million plus cleanup costs. Zaid Arabo from ZA Design, the development’s architectural firm, said during the meeting that the new plan is “quite a lot smaller than before,” adding there is “a lot less impact on traffic.”

Arabo said Sterling Square would work with EGLE on the environmental issues and, should the site cleanup take place, prevent any potential odors.

However, he added that the projected cleanup costs, which haven’t been finalized yet, could influence the ultimate decision on whether to break ground.

“If this site ends up being extremely expensive to clean, that’s it — that’s the end of it. It’s finished,” he said.

Planning Commission Chair Pashko Ujkic asked if there were any eventual plans for the rear of the property.

“One day down the line, maybe two years from now, if the budget is there and the owner is willing, we may come back to see if we can revisit the back,” Arabo said.

According to Keenan, the developer hopes to start construction on the project this May and complete it by November, so long as everything goes well with the environmental issues and cleanup.

Learn more about the Sterling Heights Planning Commission by visiting and typing “Planning Commission” in the search bar.