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Posted on Fri, May 11, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Gault Village Shopping Plaza for sale as improvements, litigation continues

By Tom Perkins

A struggling Ypsilanti Township strip mall is on the market.

Gault Village, which is holds several large abandoned stores and has been a source of litigation between its owners and the Ypsilanti Township for more than 18 months, is listed by CB Richard Ellis.

A representative from CBRE said the price was a “confidential” and declined to comment on the listing.

The 235,000-square-foot plaza is owned by Sylvan Township-based Union Lake Associates, who have been ordered by Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge Donald Shelton to tear down a former Kmart in the plaza and make other repairs throughout Gault Village.


Gault Village Shopping Plaza.

Tom Perkins | For

Township building director Ron Fulton said Union Lake has made some progress with the demolition plans, has remediated mold issues in all the occupied stores - though mold remains in unoccupied spaces - and has fixed a leaking roof over a former grocery store that flooded at one point.

But he said there is a hearing in front of Shelton on May 18th at which township officials, township attorneys, the plaza’s mortgage holder and all Union Lake’s partners will be present. Fulton said the township has mostly been dealing with the company's senior partner and Fulton is hoping the process will be sped up if the court tells all the partners “it’s time for action here instead of dragging your feet”.

Shelton ordered the Kmart, which has been abandoned for over 20 years, demolished within 60 days in early September. The building has a collapsing roof, cracked outer wall and mold infestation, among other issues

The project is complicated because it involves tearing down the Kmart while the neighboring unit occupied by school-test grading agency Measurement Inc. remains in its space.

Once the Kmart portion of the plaza is demolished, Measurement Inc. will only be left with an inner wall, and a new outer wall will have to be built. The lot Kmart is on could also legally be separated from Gault Village.

If someone were to immediately purchase the property, they would be obligated to execute the court orders.

“The buyer has to take on responsibility,” Fulton said.

“We think we’re close to a good resolution so we’re optimistic,” he added.

Mike Radzik, director of the township’s office of community standards, said Gault Village has struggled since freeway exits at nearby I-94 were eliminated around 30 years ago.

“It went from being a regional draw to a strictly local draw, so businesses that couldn’t draw under those circumstances, by necessity, had to change,” he said.

The plaza has also been an eyesore for residents in adjacent neighborhoods.

Radzik said residents there like the convenience of an ACO Hardware store and other stores, but are eager to see Gault Village fully repaired.

“They want to see it thrive, but at the same time it has got be well-maintained so it's not affecting their property values, or mental health, adversely," Radzik said.


Chris Jackson

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

I grew up in the surrounding neighborhood. I'm saddened when I see all the empty space. I remember the many trips to the video store during my high school years. Even then it was obvious that the place is a dump. I thought that when Big Lots moved out, along with the KMart vacancy (going back almost 25 years for that one) that they could start at one end, tear down and rebuild and gradually move the existing stores into the new space. The end result would be a smaller footprint for the complex as well as better facilities They built new RiteAid location out on Grove about 6 years ago and I thought that would be a start.

John Tuttle

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

The ACO is still my go-to place for quick hardware purchases. That store has saved our kitchen and bathroom on numerous occasions. It will be a shame if they close up.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

I agree! ACO is a 2 minute drive for me and has all kinds of great stuff! I will be sad if it moves but it would be nice if they clean that area up.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

This article needs editing almost as badly as Gault Village needs improvements! Coincidence or just a clever allusion?

martini man

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.

I lived in Hickory Hill sub which is adjacent to Gault Villiage from 1958 until 1981. I remember when Gault Villiage was constructed, and was a great place to shop. They had everything from Coney Islands to dentist offices. And like it has been mentioned in other comments ...once the access ramps to I-94 were closed, things started to go downhill. It took awhile , but as more and more good businesses closed , Gault Villiage became a third rate Plaza. I don't see much hope for any serious resurrection of top line shopping. It still has limited access, and opening the Grove Road ramps will never happen. They are on city property and in no way does the City of Ypsilanti want to divert any more business to the Township. And Gault Villiage is in the Township. Plus the Whittaker Road Plazas in the Township are flourishing. So ..... not a very bright future. Getting rid of the blight a la Liberty Square, is probably he best practical solution.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

The city won't spend $$ to repair the road, so they're not going to reopen the ramps. Hopefully the hardware store stays and some other shops open to service life necessities. I'm encouraged to know that the township folks are chasing the owner to tear down that old Kmart. It's like a haunted blue light special I'd rather not have to look at every day.

Duc d'Escargot

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

The city of Ypsilanti probably has no authority to re-open or prevent the re-opening of the freeway ramps. As noted in other comments, on/off ramps probably wouldn't meet current highway requirements due to the proximity to the Huron St. exit. The decision would probably be made by MDOT and/or federal offices. Whether or not the city wants to "divert" business is immaterial here. I've been around long enough to remember shopping at the Grant's store that preceded the KMart, and it definitely has been a long, sad decline at that property.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

Nice job Ypsilanti Township! Great job Judge Shelton! Let the absentee owners move it to THIER backyard.

martini man

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

The comment about building an apartment complex might be more true than many would like to think. In the past , the township has felt that somehow building section 8 housing was good for the community. I hope and pray they are not thinking like that anymore. All you got to do is drive by these "affordable housing " complexes to know it's not a boon to the community. They start out fine, but soon become infested with thugs and drug dealers. I would prefer a vacant lot to another apartment complex.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

I'm sorry to say but I will be gone if this happens.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

I worked at a store there in the late 80's and it was going downhill then and the owners of the shopping center did nothing then! We had to threaten to get lights in the parking lots fixed so it would be safe at night for our employees. The township needs to get off their butts and push these people to the fullest extent of the is a joke over there!


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

I used to live over there 3 years ago. The whole stopping center is a hole. There used to be a couple of stores that I would go to (when I had no other choice) but just before I moved it really started sliding. It would be great for the residents of that area if a decent grocer would move in but realistically no respectable company would want to rent in that shopping center.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

Anyone who grew up in that area in the 60's-70's really benefited from a wonderful shopping center. I feel for those living there now. Although, The older lady that works the cash register at ACO is the best.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Is there any reason why the Grove/I-94 interchange cannot be reopened? With the Ford plant closed, there are no longer traffic issues in that area.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Years ago I read that this intersection was closed because it was too close to the Huron #183 exit. Huron and Grove are .9 miles apart and if you include the ramps, they would be much closer than that. Per Wikipedia: Controlled access: All access onto and off the roadway is to be controlled with interchanges and grade separations (including railroad crossings). See List of gaps in Interstate Highways for the few cases that violate this rule. Interchanges should provide full access; ramps are to be designed with the appropriate standards in mind. Minimum interchange spacing should be 1 mi (1.6 km) in urban areas and 3 mi (4.8 km) in rural areas; collector/distributor roads or other configurations that reduce weaving can be used in urban areas to shorten this distance.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

That would be nice. Blocking off the I-94 interchange has killed that area (especially since the Ford plant has closed there also). It has crippled property values and is probably a big reason there has not been and will not be any incentive to fix Grove road (especially in that particular area where it is the worst).

no flamers!

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Good news, even if progress is slower than hoped. If any one has historical info on why the I-94 ramps at Grove were closed, it would be interesting.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Better yet, maybe a petition to get it reopened.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

The original ramps were located in front of East junior high and that was a exit west bound and entrance west bound for 94. The exit east bound was just west of the grove road bridge and the entrance to east bound 94 was just west of the shopping center at Emerick. They were dangerous and short. The city and township officials moved them to where they are now so they could develop the south side of the lake and guide traffic directly into the downtown area.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Located off the southeast corner of I-94 and Grove Rd., across from Ford Lake (near the old Ypsi Ford plant that runs along I-94 east of Huron Street). As an employee of Measurement, Inc., it would be nice to see some progress on this shopping center. It's been in disrepair for years now.


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 11:35 a.m.



Fri, May 11, 2012 : 11:33 a.m.

The owner(s) have intentionally let the property deteriorate over the years -- threatening bankruptcy on a number of occasions. ACO seems to draw a lot of patrons, but there needs to be other quality operations to draw residents -- lie a 'QUALITY' grocery store. Worse case would be the demolition of the shopping center, from the neighboring residents position, as I see such an occurrence resulting in the construction of an apartment complex, which always seems to cultivate crime for neighboring property owners.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

One of the employees of ACO I've spoken with mentioned they're moving to Paint Creek on Whittaker, though timetable is TBD. Rent a Center is in the midst of doing so themselves, and earlier this week appeared to be closed. That'd leave Family Dollar and the cash advance joint as the anchor tenants. The key is if Measurement Inc. has plans to leave, as they're the real anchor tenant. My understanding is that they have a rather lengthy lease. Can one legally break a lease due to gross negligence from the property owners?


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

my house will be up for sale if they decide to build an apartment complex. I say tear it all down and make a park out of what's left. However, I do like the ACO store, perhaps tearing down the anchor stores and fixing up the remaining buildings is all it will take.