Former Big Boy to be torn down, redeveloped

Mattress store, drive-thru restaurant slated for site

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 13, 2016


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A local eyesore on the southwest corner of 21 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue will soon be razed and replaced by a mattress store and likely a restaurant with a drive-thru window.

The former Big Boy restaurant, which closed in 2011, has become derelict over the past five years, with holes in the roof and extensive damage to both the exterior and interior of the building.

On June 7, the Shelby Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved a request to rezone the property from C-1, local retail, to C-2, linear retail, and grant special land use for the drive-thru.

The motion, made by Treasurer Michael Flynn and supported by Trustee Nick Nightingale, also required developer John Abro to submit a revised site plan incorporating applicable review comments from the township.

The proposed building is 8,300 square feet.

“The one half of the building, as we understand, will be occupied by an Art Van PureSleep,” Township Planner Glenn Wynn said. “We don’t know who the tenant’s going to be on the drive-thru, but it’s really a marketing opportunity to make sure they have ample opportunity to attract the widest variety of tenants.”

Wynn said the Macomb County Department of Roads reviewed and approved the traffic situation, in terms of driveway access.

As for the parking situation, Wynn said the site lacks approximately eight parking spaces, so Abro would have to petition the Zoning Board of Appeals for approval.

“Art Van PureSleep typically doesn’t generate that much traffic,” he said. “The drive-thru usually alleviates some of the demand for extra parking.”

Wynn said the project is the first major movement on a concentrated effort by the Planning and Zoning and Building departments to tackle commercial blight.

Fighting blight also is an initiative of the Economic Development Advisory Committee, a think tank formed in 2013 to help bring about economic development in the township.

Wynn said two influential real estate individuals on the committee told the township many times, “You’re not overbuilt. You’re under-torn-down.”

Paula Filar, a trustee and EDAC member, voiced support for the project.

“(The EDAC) has been talking about the Big Boy, specifically, as being a deterrent from filling some of the other empty space on Van Dyke,” Filar said. “The thought has been that, with a new development on that corner, we will bring other new tenants to some of the other empty buildings.”