New retail center with restaurant approved near planned Costco in Pittsfield Township
From Bowers + Rein
The retail profile of the South State and Ellsworth intersection continues to expand, this time with final approvals coming for a retail center and restaurant.
The Pittsfield Township Planning Commission passed the proposal for State Street MarketplaceÂ earlier this month in a unanimous vote.
Now, developer Howard Frehsee said, they'reÂ working on finalizing plans.
Frehsee said he hopes to start construction in April. Whether that happens could be considered an economic indicator for small retailers seeking new locations in Washtenaw County, he added.
“I don’t want to launch at a time when it’s still difficult for retailers,” he said. “The retailers that typically frequent these small centers still find it very challenging.”
The center will total 20,625 square feet with 84 parking spaces. There will be one 15,750-square-foot multi-tenant building on the west edge, with a 4,875-square-foot standalone restaurant on the eastern edge.
That proposal is on hold until Pittsfield Township finalizes master plan revisions in early 2011, but many officials are expressing support for the popular warehouse store’s proposed location. Developers also are watching how the proposal could impact the value of the corner.
If built, Costco would elevate the corridor’s retail potential, Frehsee said.
“By Costco coming there, it just validates the location (for State Street Marketplace),” he said. “ It really is a great area with a lot of upside for the future.”
The original proposal for Frehsee’s retail center went into the township in 2007, said planner Paul Montagno. Mitigating the loss of the wetlands on the 5.74-acre property took some time, he said.
Over that time, Frehsee and his team, including architects Bowers + Rein of Ann Arbor, “worked with us to provide a lot of pedestrian connectivity,” Montagno said.
Frehsee also collaborated with Speedway, which operates a gas station at the corner, to reconfigure curb cuts so the entities could share entrances.
Now Speedway is finishing a rebuild of the gas station that repositions it on the site — thanks in part to land that Frehsee sold the station to give it extra room — and also upgrades the facilities there.
“We have a number of shared features,” Frehsee said of Speedway, including a retention basin at the rear of both properties.
Frehsee said the pace of pre-leasing of the retail space will determine the construction start. That’s important to the lender and to the momentum for leasing all of the spaces, he said.
“I plan on building a nice center,” he said. “I just want to come on board at a time when we’re starting on an uptick.”
He’ll need to have about 50 percent of the property under contract to tenants before he can break ground. He’ll be listing the property with Landmark Commercial Real Estate, based in Farmington Hills.
Eventually, he said, he envisions the center delivering more services to the people who live and work south of I-94 near South State.
“I want this to be an upscale commercial development where people can feel comfortable going in to get coffee, a sandwich, their dry cleaning,” Frehsee said. “That was the plan when I was looking at this property originally.”
Frehsee’s other properties in Ann Arbor include Corner House Lofts, a student high-rise at South State and East Washington, and the commercial buildingÂ on South State that houses Sava’s Restaurant. Frehsee is launching an upper level remodel of that building this fall.