New retail project going up on formerly blighted property

By: Joshua Gordon | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 23, 2018

 A new 12,000-square-foot retail building is in the works for this site on Van Dyke Avenue, north of 21 Mile Road, and will include a drive-thru on the south end.

A new 12,000-square-foot retail building is in the works for this site on Van Dyke Avenue, north of 21 Mile Road, and will include a drive-thru on the south end.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A new retail project is coming to Van Dyke Avenue in Shelby Township that will provide more businesses as well as clean up an area previously plagued by blight.

The Board of Trustees approved a special land use permit during a June meeting that will allow a 12,612-square-foot building to have a drive-thru on the south end for a potential food business. The building will sit just north of 21 Mile Road and across the street from Mexican Village.

Planning and Zoning Director Glenn Wynn said that the project meets all the requirements, and the Planning Commission recommended the special land use permit.

“This site is large enough to accommodate the building and the drive-thru with the arrangement being satisfactory, as it does not complicate the circulation,” Wynn said. “There is adequate separation between this site and the residential houses to the west on Burton Street. There were no objections at the public hearing.”

The project will sit on just under 1 1/2 acres on the west side of Van Dyke and will have 212 feet of frontage on the road. The property is already zoned C-2 for commercial use.

Preliminary drawings for the project call for eight separate spaces, each with a front and back entrance. However, Wynn said that the owner has no preleases or tenants lined up, so the building could be divided up for whatever the tenants’ needs are, including one business occupying the entire space.

Wynn said there is no timeline on the building process, as plans still have to go through the engineering and building permit processes. Wynn said he would be surprised if the project breaks ground this year, but if it does, it will be late in the year.

The expectation is that the building will have a mix of food and retail businesses, Wynn said. Trustee Doug Wozniak said it was a good move to include a drive-thru to make it a space attractive to a number of businesses.

“Most of the major food places do require a drive-thru to put their site there,” Wozniak said. “I thought overall, the presentation they did on this was really good.”

The site that the project will occupy was previously a blight issue in the township, Wynn said, along with a number of other spots around the community. He said the property had two old buildings on it, including a garage that was in bad shape.

A lot of the blight spots have been cleaned up and are now being repurposed with projects like this retail development.

“We had targeted this as part of the blight initiative, and a lot of the target sites have been cleaned up and really taken care of, for the most part,” Wynn said. “The older buildings have been removed, and now we have a newer building being offered up in its place.”

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