Commission approves site plan for Menards

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published April 10, 2012

The Warren Planning Commission has approved plans for a new Menards big-box home improvement store where the Van Dyke Sports Center now is.

The commission voted unanimously April 9 to approve site plans for the project, set to include a 170,000-square-foot Menards retail store, an adjacent 40,000-square-foot open air warehouse, and 180,000 square feet of outdoor sales space on the west side of Van Dyke at Convention Blvd., south of 14 Mile Road.

“I’d just like to welcome the company, your corporation to our city,” Planning Commission member Mike Wiecek said. “It’s a real plus in our estimation, not that we won’t miss the golf range and the other facilities that have been there for many years.”

Commission member John Kupiec said the sports center had become an eyesore, and that its redevelopment was “long overdue.”

“Welcome to the city of Warren,” Kupiec said.

Menards, founded in 1960 and based in Wisconsin, sells building materials, hardware, and home improvement products. The company is currently working to open its first metro Detroit stores in Warren, Livonia and Chesterfield Township.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts alluded to a $20-million investment by Menards during his State of the City remarks last month.

After the vote by the planning commission, Menards real estate representative Mike Simonds said new construction to redevelop the Van Dyke Sports Center property would total $7 million and would eventually bring 160 jobs to Warren.

Simonds said Menards would prefer to begin construction as soon as possible, but that a timetable for construction would depend on receipt of further approvals from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Transportation. Those approvals could take 60 days or more.

He said the company’s decision to build a new store in Warren was based on demographics, and that the city had been “welcoming.”

The terms of the real estate deal were not disclosed, but Alan Casmere, a broker representing Roman Halanski of the Van Dyke Sports Center, said negotiations played out over several months and that the final resolution of the agreement was contingent upon the receipt of necessary city approvals.

Menards sought a list of variances through Warren’s Zoning Board of Appeals in March, and Casmere said only housekeeping items remained pending before the ZBA.

“I think it shows great confidence in Warren, and Macomb County, for their great locations,” Casmere said of the Menards development.

Halanski declined to comment on the deal, and a source with knowledge of the pending transaction said comments on behalf of the parties involved, including the city, would be limited until the deal is finalized.

Halanski said only that he bought the property in 1973 and opened for business on June 30, 1975.

The Van Dyke Sports Center has been home to an indoor golf range, arcade, miniature golf course, pool hall and bar.