Plans approved for new Meijer at 10 Mile and Schoenherr

Nearby residents express concerns over traffic, roads, noise and safety

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published November 25, 2015


WARREN — Plans to put a new Meijer store on the property where Bi-County Hospital has stood since the mid-1960s have cleared Warren’s City Council and Planning Commission. 

Council members voted 6-1 Nov. 10 to rezone the hospital property, located on the northwest corner of 10 Mile and Schoenherr. On Nov. 16, members of the Planning Commission unanimously approved a site plan for the development with a list of changes and conditions.

The plans call for the construction of a Meijer store with an attached garden center, a gas station with up to six electric vehicle charging stations, and two as-of-yet unspecified outlot developments beginning in 2017. Pending the necessary approvals, the store is scheduled to open during the summer of 2018. Demolition of the hospital structure is expected to commence next year.

The hospital was acquired by Henry Ford Health System in 1995. The facility stopped functioning as a hospital in March 2012 after years of low occupancy, and Henry Ford announced plans to offer rehabilitation services at the site.

Speaking on behalf of the developer, REDICO, Scott McCarthy told members of the Planning Commission that they were seeking a “strong, capable merchant” for the property and that the parties were “very pleased” when Meijer expressed interest.

“We’ve had a long relationship with Henry Ford. They asked us to look at this property to see what might be done with it,” McCarthy said. “We looked at a number of uses. It became very clear that a retail use was appropriate, so we looked at a lot of people in the retail industry.

“We thought it needed a strong, capable merchant, and Meijer was interested. We were very pleased with that. They’re a first-class organization. They’re Michigan-based, and I think they’ll add a lot to the area,” McCarthy said.

Residents concerned about the impact of the development attended the City Council meeting and the hearing before the Planning Commission.

Derrick Mallais said he’s lived nearby on Schoenherr for 39 years, and he expressed concern about how the road, which he said had already been battered by heavy trucks hauling garbage to Warren’s transfer station on Frazho, west of Schoenherr, could take the additional semi-truck traffic needed to supply Meijer.

Mallais said trucks rumbling down Schoenherr at all hours of the night have affected his quality of life.

“The past five years, I’ve been trying to get somebody just to come out and look at what we have to deal with,” Mallais said. “It’s affected my health.”

Paul Webster, who lives on Zagaiski, immediately north of the proposed development, said only five of the 16 items of concern he presented to the Planning Commission previously had been addressed thus far. Issues regarding traffic flow and control, garbage and litter, noise, lighting, and potential crime were raised.

“I understand Meijer is going to be in this space. I implore all of you to please hear our concerns, address our concerns, before this plan is approved,” Webster said. “This means a lot to us as residents. Some of these things are not addressed.”

Components of the plan include the addition of a retention pond to hold stormwater runoff from the parking area. In response to the concerns of residents, a representative of Meijer said the area could be fenced in for safety.

The plan calls for the construction of a garden center on the south end of the store and a loading dock on the north side, near Zagaiski, which was also a concern.

McCarthy said the footprint of the new building on the 21-acre site will encompass 25 percent less space than other Meijer stores, making it smaller by about 40,000 square feet. He said the reduction in size will keep the store further away from the homes on Zagaiski.

The site will be accessed by four entrances: two on 10 Mile and two on Schoenherr.

“Both we and Meijer tried to give a lot of consideration to how we did this,” McCarthy said. “We were certainly concerned about the neighbors — this is a big project — especially the ones to the north. We were concerned about the environment, and we were concerned about creating a good, stable project.”

Warren Planning Director Ron Wuerth said, in his opinion, that Schoenherr could be widened from the intersection at 10 Mile north to Zagaiski to best accommodate the plan, but he added that such a decision would have to be made by the Macomb County Department of Roads.

“For the time being, I think it will work very well. If there are problems in the future, then I have full faith in the Macomb County Department of Roads to go ahead and make that change, if traffic becomes a problem in the area,” Wuerth said.

Meijer also has a store on Mound, north of 12 Mile Road, in Warren.