n the span of one week, monumental progress has been made in Detroit development. This week wasn’t about stately buildings, but about improving the shopping options of Detroiters.
Two of the biggest complaints about the city of Detroit – that it doesn’t have a major big box retailer and a chain grocer – were obliterated in the span of a week.
Today, the groundbreaking of a new Meijer located at the Gateway Marketplace as part of a 360,000 square foot comprehensive development on land that was part of the former State Fairgrounds locates something in the city that many residents have wanted for quite awhile. The location is also close to Ferndale, Hazel Park, and Oak Park and will be the nearest Meijer location to those municipalities.
Ferndale resident Ryan Meray is excited about the prospect. “I’ve been waiting for that store to open since I first heard their plans in 2009. Meijer is a great Michigan company that treats its union workforce fairly, offers great prices, and will generate much-needed jobs in the area and tax revenue for the city.”
Another major impact, beyond creating a convenience for the 85,000 people who live nearby, is that 900 jobs will need to be filled due to this Gateway project, according to information provided. The project was funded to the tune of 28 million dollars by Detroit pension funds. So in a way, it’s a Detroit project funded by Detroiters.
“Today is something that’s helping to transform our city,” said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. “Detroit can’t do this alone. Eight mile has been the divider between southeastern Michigan. I think what we’re doing today, to collaborate, that no longer will Eight mile be that dividing line.”
Not only Meijer will be located at this 36 acre plaza. Stores that have already signed leases or contracts to locate at the new development include a Marshall’s, K&G Fashion Superstore, Dots (a clothing store), McDonalds, and a PNC Bank branch among others that have not been announced yet.
“It’s not just about us, but creating that Detroit where our kids have a bright future, and people not just in Michigan but around the country say they not only want to work in Detroit, but they want to live in Detroit,” said Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Considering the location is located at the nexus of two major thoroughfares (Woodward and Eight Mile), not only there be 118,000 cars passing the location daily, it will because of its placement be served by mass transit from both SMART (The Suburban Authority for Regional Transportation) and DDOT (Detroit Department of Transportation) as well as any future planned high-speed bus lines, making the center more accessible for all, not only to shop there but get to work.
The Gateway Marketplace project, like the Whole Foods that was announced earlier this week (link), will be complete in Spring 2013.