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  1. #1
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    Default Meijer Coming to Detroit

    From a press release just issued by Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA):

    Redford High School Redevelopment Project
    – A large MBT Brownfield credit valued at up to $3,300,000 and local and school tax capture valued at $6,568,525 will support the redevelopment of the former Redford High School in the City of Detroit. The project includes the complete demolition of the existing one million square-foot school complex and the construction of a new Meijer store with full retail, grocery, garden center and fuel service station. The project is expected to generate $22 million in new investment and create up to 83 permanent full-time jobs.
    Last edited by WWJNewsradio950; November-15-11 at 11:53 AM. Reason: Clarify source

  2. #2
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    What another proposed Meijer site in Detroit. We haven't got a Meijer site yet on Woodward and 8 Mile Rd. yet. Putting up a Meijer site at the Redford High School site might totally destroy the Old Redford Shopping District for good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    What another proposed Meijer site in Detroit. We haven't got a Meijer site yet on Woodward and 8 Mile Rd. yet. Putting up a Meijer site at the Redford High School site might totally destroy the Old Redford Shopping District for good.
    Intersting point

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    There were 2 K-Marts in Detroit:

    One on the corner of Plymouth Rd and Southfield FWY. Built in 1961 along with Farmer Jack Supermarket and later a Asian owned Mini Mall. K-Mart and the mini mall lasted until 1997 and it closed. It almost ruin the mom the pop stores on Plymouth Rd. commercial district. Now the building is brought by a Mega Church called New Providence Baptist Church.


    other on Van Dyke and Lynch. It was closed since the early 1980s all was left is a parking lot with broken street lighting and very big blighted urban prarie on St Cyril St. The Detroit East Side K-Mart totally destroyed the Van Dyke commercial district up to McNichols Rd. There are no mom and pop stores in that one mile radius.
    Last edited by Danny; November-15-11 at 12:43 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    Putting up a Meijer site at the Redford High School site might totally destroy the Old Redford Shopping District for good.
    Thom Hartmann eloquently addresses this issue and explains why the answer to saving our economy may be found on your local street corner in this Daily Take: "How A City Thrives or Dies."


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    I have often defended Meijer as "not evil" big-box retail, because it's privately owned by the family, has some focus on Michigan and organic products, and because the money stays in the state. I live in Corktown and I'm only around Old Redford occasionally for The Redford Theatre, but the proposal to raze the significant Redford High for a Meijer for the first time gives me mixed feelings.

    I think shopping at most other Meijer locations isn't problematical because they are in ephemeral locations that as James Howard Kunstler might say, are "not worth caring about". My old suburban house, a short walk from a Meijer, was worth caring about but was not part of a coherent town or neighborhood in any way.

    I don't know how Old Redford feels as a resident, but it seems like a real neighborhood worth caring about, and losing this significant building is a shame and erodes the character of the place. At the same time, I would be more likely to shop at that Meijer, knowing that it's closer then Allan Park and employing Detroiters and represents the company taking interest in the city.

    So now that we have Meijers attention, when do we put the pressure on them to persuade them to behave within the city and respect it, since the rules are different than they are in Canton?

    I can't speak to Meijer destroying the Old Redford retail strip. When the Meijer opened near my old house, several new strip malls were built nearby and new businesses opened near it, though most of them were chain retail and it was a very different time and place. Also, I *do* shop at Meijer, whether or not it's in the city. The odds that I'll stop by Motor City Java are greatly increased should they locate there. How many people will be drawn to the area by the store? Will that balance the number of locals who choose Meijer over that shoe shop around the corner from The Redford?

  7. #7
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    I understand everyone's nervousness about a big store coming into a neighborhood, but I think this project will enhance the area. It is well-designed and maintains street-front retail, links with transit, provides pedestrian walkways and mini-parks, and is on the edge of a denser, walkable retail area. If the city plans for traffic flow and parking (which is all-important in this auto-centric city and region), I think that the local businesses can thrive.

    This will be a perfect place for the city and state (Grand River is a state highway) to show that they mean what they say about supporting transit and complete streets.

    Look at areas like Greenfield-Grand River. It wasn't Montgomery Ward, Crowley's, or Federal Department Stores that killed that local retail area. It was when the anchor stores LEFT, disinvested, and shifted their investment and marketing dollars AWAY from the area that it fell apart. And look at what happened to those retailers: they died, too. I hope that this is a model that will begin to return us to local locations for big retailers that will serve as anchors for entire shopping districts, just as they do in the malls. Will the local area businesses have to make adjustments in their business model? Yes. Can they be successful doing it? Absolutely.
    Last edited by Parkguy; November-15-11 at 04:14 PM.

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    Parkguy, have you seen a rendering of the proposed Meijer? Please link. If it maintains a street wall, it's already doing more than expected for big-box.

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    Isn't there a law against new gas stations in Detroit? Don't they have to be re-built only the sites oF previous gas stations?

    I'm an armchair preservationist, but I don't really object to the razing of the former Redford HS building. There is little you can do to salvage the structure that makes sense for the location. Perhaps you could designate it as a historic building and appeal to the developer to reuse the structure.

    My main problem is from what I've seen of the plans the store will be built in the suburban big box model: far setback from the street, virtually inaccessible by foot. Meijer needs an urban model like the Target stores.

  10. #10
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    I've posted some photos in other threads about the development. Here is a link:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidlegg/sets/72157627653078165/

    Y
    es there well be a parking lot with the main building at the back of the lot, but two buildings will be on Grand River at the sidewalk line. They've made allowance for a pedestrian greenway along the side of the property, too.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    My main problem is from what I've seen of the plans the store will be built in the suburban big box model: far setback from the street, virtually inaccessible by foot. Meijer needs an urban model like the Target stores.
    I'm not so sure about an urban model being used in this area. It'd still be the same size and it doesn't make sense to have the land filled with something other than parking or a street line mall. There's sidewalks that cut through the parking lot from Grand River and the two residential streets on the side so it seems they at least attempted to keep it pedestrian friendly. I also think it wouldn't hurt to add more pedestrian walkways on the south side of the property.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parkguy View Post
    I understand everyone's nervousness about a big store coming into a neighborhood, but I think this project will enhance the area. It is well-designed and maintains street-front retail, links with transit, provides pedestrian walkways and mini-parks, and is on the edge of a denser, walkable retail area. If the city plans for traffic flow and parking (which is all-important in this auto-centric city and region), I think that the local businesses can thrive.

    This will be a perfect place for the city and state (Grand River is a state highway) to show that they mean what they say about supporting transit and complete streets.

    Look at areas like Greenfield-Grand River. It wasn't Montgomery Ward, Crowley's, or Federal Department Stores that killed that local retail area. It was when the anchor stores LEFT, disinvested, and shifted their investment and marketing dollars AWAY from the area that it fell apart. And look at what happened to those retailers: they died, too. I hope that this is a model that will begin to return us to local locations for big retailers that will serve as anchors for entire shopping districts, just as they do in the malls. Will the local area businesses have to make adjustments in their business model? Yes. Can they be successful doing it? Absolutely.

    My thoughts exactly. Nothing is ever perfect anyways but, this is encouraging because it includes a multifaceted business plan to encourage smaller business implant. They seem to have made a smaller version of a suburban mall with landscaping that acts not only as a buffer or a moat, but also as a public gathering space. There is an effort there. It is refreshing to see a project where the anchor store is trying to come up with solutions to Detroit's rebuilding of neighborhood retail.

  13. #13
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    Ummm, what happened to the Meijer at Woodward & 8 Mile?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    There were 2 K-Marts in Detroit:

    One on the corner of Plymouth Rd and Southfield FWY. Built in 1961 along with Farmer Jack Supermarket and later a Asian owned Mini Mall. K-Mart and the mini mall lasted until 1997 and it closed. It almost ruin the mom the pop stores on Plymouth Rd. commercial district. Now the building is brought by a Mega Church called New Providence Baptist Church.


    other on Van Dyke and Lynch. It was closed since the early 1980s all was left is a parking lot with broken street lighting and very big blighted urban prarie on St Cyril St. The Detroit East Side K-Mart totally destroyed the Van Dyke commercial district up to McNichols Rd. There are no mom and pop stores in that one mile radius.
    I know there was a Kmart on Outer Drive and Sherwood (closed early 2000s, just demolished within the month), not Van dyke and Lynch.

    Granted, the commercial strips were already beyond repair from depopulation alone.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
    I'm not so sure about an urban model being used in this area. It'd still be the same size and it doesn't make sense to have the land filled with something other than parking or a street line mall. There's sidewalks that cut through the parking lot from Grand River and the two residential streets on the side so it seems they at least attempted to keep it pedestrian friendly. I also think it wouldn't hurt to add more pedestrian walkways on the south side of the property.
    I would have rather they build the store up to to the street and put the parking in back. Why not just build the main store right over the site of the school building?

  16. #16
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    There's still a Kmart within the Detroit city limits on Telegraph just south of 8 Mile that was built about 10 years ago:

    http://g.co/maps/7csfn

    This store required the demolition of the Bonnie Brook golf course:

    http://www.detroityes.com/webisodes/2001/06-bb/bb00.htm

    This Kmart resulted in the closure of another one further down 8 Mile in Southfield. I don't even know where this one was or if it even is still around today. View in 2002:

    http://www.detroityes.com/webisodes/...mile-kmart.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    I would have rather they build the store up to to the street and put the parking in back. Why not just build the main store right over the site of the school building?
    Then you'd have the entrance to the building in the back, and you'd have a lot of parking lot lights and activity right against the houses.


    I think for this kind of format they did a good job. They have a landscaped hill which separates it from the houses which I think is nice. They have a few smaller buildings and some landscaping on grand river, so you're not looking immediately at a vast parking lot. I'd also add that this is basically as urban (or un-urban, rather), than the school was. The school was on a mega block, with a lot of parking and open lawn, all fenced in, big set backs, etc. Not that that's completely bad, but this won't make that area less urban.


    It would have been great if they had done a proper urban store though, with the combined parking and stuff, but it's something that they're building the store at all. Maybe if it goes well they'll consider it more for another store.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtburb View Post
    There's still a Kmart within the Detroit city limits on Telegraph just south of 8 Mile that was built about 10 years ago:

    http://g.co/maps/7csfn

    This store required the demolition of the Bonnie Brook golf course:

    http://www.detroityes.com/webisodes/2001/06-bb/bb00.htm

    This Kmart resulted in the closure of another one further down 8 Mile in Southfield. I don't even know where this one was or if it even is still around today. View in 2002:

    http://www.detroityes.com/webisodes/...mile-kmart.htm
    Thanks for the link to Bonnie Brook. I went there once back in the 90's for a cabaret. I remember returning home for the holidays in 2002 and I went to that Super Kmart for the first time. Everytime I got there, I seem to forget that Bonnie Brook was once there.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    Putting up a Meijer site at the Redford High School site might totally destroy the Old Redford Shopping District for good.
    Might or might not. Target opened their Brooklyn stores while I lived there. And Costco had a store a block away from where I lived in Sunset Park (halfway between downtown Brooklyn and Coney Island). They are a study in contrasts. The Target stores were built in areas that had other shopping (mostly mom & pops), and were integrated into the streetscape (at one store in a small enclosed mall, the other in an outdoor plaza). They contributed to major increases in foot traffic and there are more stores surrounding them than there were before they opened. The Costco, on the otherhand, was on the fringe of the neighborhood, mostly blocked by parking and fences, and generally forbidding to a pedestrian. The Target stores helped their neighborhoods, the Costco did not.

    My general point of view is that the big box retailers are excellent for their communities in many ways. First, obviously, poorer neighborhoods semi-ironically lack low priced merchandise and groceries. Party stores and 7-Elevens charge a hell of a lot more money for comparable products (generally, I know; I am sure someone can find exceptions). And they offer so many fewer products, both in terms of type and in terms of selection in a category. Meijer or Target or Wal-Mart bring lower prices and better selection to underserved areas. Secondly, also obviously, they employ many people. And most of the jobs they offer are fillable by people in their communities. They are entry level positions that do not require a degree and an amazing resume. Let's be honest, with Detroit's graduation and literacy rates, our un/underemployed can't wait around for 6-figure engineering jobs. Thousands of Detroiters are not qualified for anything BUT entry-level jobs. You have to start somewhere; opening a Meijer will be a start for many people. Retail/restaurant jobs are ideal for people without a great education, as well as for immigrants. They tend to be very meritocratic. Good employees stand out and get promoted (most retail managers started in entry-level cashier or stock positions). They also have structured systems that can teach the willing how to become a good employee. I know these things because in addition to 20 years in restaurants, I worked 5 years in major retail, starting as a cashier at $5.15/hr, ending as a manager making $40,000 salary. I know people complain that retail jobs don't pay well, but remember this: no one will leave a good paying job to work at a much lower rate somewhere else. Anyone willing to work for what they pay is making more than they would otherwise. Additionally, Meijer stores are generally open 24 hours. This allows many people to work it into their family schedules, or around school or a second job.

    I realize that there are drawbacks for other retailers in the neighborhood. But they can be mitigated. First, in the planning of the store, the city should insist on a design that makes it pedestrian friendly, and encourages both foot and vehicular traffic in the surrounding blocks. Second, mom & pops need to realize that they must offer products & services that Meijer does not. For instance, some stores surrounding the downtown Brooklyn Target changed completely. Bodegas would not be able to continue to sell $4 half gallons of milk and $2 single rolls of toilet paper, because that stuff was much cheaper at Target. So they expanded their fresh sandwich offerings. More dry cleaners opened. Also, boutiques with Carribean themed things (from food to clothes) opened all over the area because a lot of West Indian people came from surrounding areas to shop at the Target. I am sure some businesses were hurt. If you owned a tiny general merchandise store in the shadows of Target, well it probably sucked to be you. But the community should not have to shop at small crappy stores that massively overcharge them (note: more people are screwed by overpriced retail than by ATM fees; should we OCCUPY PARTY STORES?) in the name of stopping bog box retail. It is terribly unfair to shoppers without a big budget. The stores that benefit the community (in terms of offering things the community wants at a price it can afford) will thrive.

    The last positive thing about BIG RETAIL coming to Detroit: it knocks out (or at least reduces) one of the 4 chief reasons people don't move to Detroit. That reason is I HAVE TO DRIVE TO THE SUBURBS TO DO MY SHOPPING.

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    I will say that the owners of the Old Redford Market better start preparing for their big move or their going out of business sales of food because once that Meijers opens it is going to kill their business. The Foodland near the Southfield may be in trouble too but it may be able to survive for the time being.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    Then you'd have the entrance to the building in the back, and you'd have a lot of parking lot lights and activity right against the houses.


    I think for this kind of format they did a good job. They have a landscaped hill which separates it from the houses which I think is nice. They have a few smaller buildings and some landscaping on grand river, so you're not looking immediately at a vast parking lot. I'd also add that this is basically as urban (or un-urban, rather), than the school was. The school was on a mega block, with a lot of parking and open lawn, all fenced in, big set backs, etc. Not that that's completely bad, but this won't make that area less urban.


    It would have been great if they had done a proper urban store though, with the combined parking and stuff, but it's something that they're building the store at all. Maybe if it goes well they'll consider it more for another store.
    Why can't they have entrances on both sides? I've been into urban big box stores with multiple entrances.

    Yes, the school was on an excessively large lot, but it was also built to be easily accessible by pedestrians coming from Grand River or McNichols, as well as those coming from the residential areas abutting the property. It's not really a huge deal considering the location, but I wish they would pay more attention to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    Why can't they have entrances on both sides? I've been into urban big box stores with multiple entrances.

    Yes, the school was on an excessively large lot, but it was also built to be easily accessible by pedestrians coming from Grand River or McNichols, as well as those coming from the residential areas abutting the property. It's not really a huge deal considering the location, but I wish they would pay more attention to it.
    Schools and retail are zoned differently into a neighborhood. Schools needs access for kids walking, buses, and parents dropping off their kids. Retail needs access for product shipments and shoppers. Residential roads aren't designed for heavy traffic flow or semi-trucks.

    A few examples:

    Retail:
    http://g.co/maps/tj38w

    http://g.co/maps/2x2e7

    School:
    http://g.co/maps/5fe7m

    http://g.co/maps/g3hk3

    Something interesting about the Home Depot layout is that there is a sidewalk from 7 Mile, but no direct access from Meyers (pedestrians would have to walk on the yellow striped zone). There are no pedestrian walkways leading to the street behind HD (Monte-Vista) and that outlot for the drive-thru restaurant has no proper flow and forces people to drive up and around in order to get in and to leave. ALSO, the traffic flowing from 7 Mile goes directly through a parking aisle. Statistically, this is how and where most car accidents happen in a parking lot. This is a particular example of what a horrible big-box urban layout would look like.
    Last edited by animatedmartian; November-16-11 at 11:35 AM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
    Schools and retail are zoned differently into a neighborhood. Schools needs access for kids walking, buses, and parents dropping off their kids. Retail needs access for product shipments and shoppers. Residential roads aren't designed for heavy traffic flow or semi-trucks.

    A few examples:

    Retail:
    http://g.co/maps/tj38w

    http://g.co/maps/2x2e7

    School:
    http://g.co/maps/5fe7m

    http://g.co/maps/g3hk3
    What you say makes sense. So I just looked at the layout again that Parkguy posted and it appears that the only thing preventing the store from being built against the street is the gas station. You could build the store along the street and still have ample room for entrances and exits to the parking lots that would keep traffic off of the side streets... if it weren't for the gas station.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    What you say makes sense. So I just looked at the layout again that Parkguy posted and it appears that the only thing preventing the store from being built against the street is the gas station. You could build the store along the street and still have ample room for entrances and exits to the parking lots that would keep traffic off of the side streets... if it weren't for the gas station.
    Well, IMO, they don't need the gas station to begin with. That's just something that Meijers will use to get extra revenue rather than having extra retail space that may or may not sit empty.

    They could replace the gas station with another retail block but either way the main building will be in the back away from the street. It has to stay in a similar physical shape as most other big box stores for design and interior layout reasons.

    Had this been a design for Corktown or Downtown or somewhere closer to the inner-city where space is limited and valuable, then yes you'd be right about them putting the store up against the street. But since this is primarily residential area with low capacity streets with only one or two major roads, the current design makes the most sense.
    Last edited by animatedmartian; November-16-11 at 12:35 PM.

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    Another thing to remember is that Old Redford isn't really an urban setting, but rather it is identical to the layout and density of inner-ring suburbs. In fact, it WAS an inner-ring suburb. That's the case just about everywhere in the city outside of the Boulevard. If you look at "downtown" Old Redford, it is designed very much like downtown Farmington or Northville. Certainly more recent development has been really, really different, but the underlying structure is the same. In fact, Old Redford was originally called Downtown Redford when it was still part of Redford Township. Grand River/Greenfield (which I mentioned in my earlier post) was identical to the old shopping district in East Dearborn (Michigan/Schaefer), or Ferndale (Woodward/Nine Mile). They even had the identical stores. Detroit is a suburban region, even within the city limits. (Maybe some of our problems stem from trying to use urban solutions in suburban-type neighborhoods. Urban solutions are perfectly appropriate for Downtown or along the Woodward Corridor or inside the Boulevard,) Places like Rosedale Park, Grandmont, the Villages were really conceived and built as "garden suburbs" that were later brought into the city proper. I think that this plan for the Redford HS site is a modern version of the kinds of neighborhood anchor stores that we saw in decades past. If the city integrates it well with transit, pedestrian traffic, and vehicle traffic, and with the surrounding community (which already has regional drawing power, like the Redford Theater, Artist Village, Rogell Golf Course, the public library branch, and the pagoda on Redford Street) you could see some real improvement in the commercial area and redevelopment in housing.

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