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Posted on Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Pittsfield Planning Commission to consider 6-building retail project near Meijer

By Lizzy Alfs


A prototype rendering of the proposed LongHorn Steakhouse building on Ann Arbor-Saline Road.


Pittsfield Township’s Planning Commission on Thursday will consider a six-building retail development proposed in front of the Meijer store on Ann Arbor-Saline Road.

Southfield-based Versa Development plans to purchase property from Meijer and develop a 6.34-acre stretch of land along Ann Arbor-Saline Road from Oak Valley Drive to Lohr Road.

The project would include buildings for Carrabba’s Italian Grill and LongHorn Steakhouse — two national restaurant chains that don’t have existing Washtenaw County locations.

Pittsfield Township’s Planning Commission will consider the plans at its 6:30 p.m. meeting on Thursday, Sept. 5. Versa resubmitted the plans after receiving initial feedback from commissioners in July.

Versa’s project calls to construct six buildings on the existing berm that separates Meijer from Ann Arbor-Saline Road. The township's redesigned master plan favors mixed-use development at the site.

The development would consist of full-service restaurant buildings and retail/fast casual restaurant buildings fronting the road, with an access drive separating the project into a northern section and a southern section. The Carrabba's and LongHorn Steakhouse buildings would be separated by the access drive.


If the project is approved, Carrabba's Italian Grill would be one of the tenants fronting Meijer on Ann Arbor-Saline Road.

Jon W. Sammer Architect

Michael Lippitt of Landmark Commercial Real Estate Services is marketing the buildings for lease and he is finalizing tenants for the remaining spaces in the project. He said tenants would include three family-style restaurant chains, along with fast casual restaurants, retail or professional uses.

The plans include 444 parking spaces located behind the buildings, and there would be a fountain and public area at the Lohr Road intersection.

Because a goal of the township’s master plan is to eliminate berms and big parking lots in front of shopping centers, several commissioners said in July that they are in support of the project.

Versa’s Steve Robinson told commissioners that the company wants to create a pedestrian-friendly feel along the corridor. If approved, Robinson said they could break ground this fall.


A site layout for Versa Development's plan shows, shaded in black, the six buildings fronting Ann Arbor-Saline Road and the parking located behind the buildings.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

Talk about overbuilt and an eyesore. So fountain at Lohr Road, but a blank wall at Oak Valley? The whole idea was to have the property serve as a transition into town. If the Planning Commission approves this project, one of the best entrances into town will be trashed. I'm dreading what their intent is for Michigan Ave at Saline's city limits. Besides, I wonder how many contributions Meijer made to pet organizations and campaigns around here. See Traverse City approach to development.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 9:44 a.m.

I approve.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 2:49 a.m.

Excellent! I hope both restaurants are staffed by good cooks...the Canton versions of both are really quite good, but other Mich locations are awful (so I figure it is the executive manager and the cooks making a difference, all things being standard right?)


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

I like the existing green grass berms, that green grass greatly improves the appearance of Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. This sounds like it will purposely take away that nice strip of green. The road will look more like the dense part of Carpenter Rd. near Ellsworth, which is quite unattractive. Bummer. Green space is not appreciated by the planners, I guess! Hope they consider including many trees/plants.

David Waligora

Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

If you are to look at the Future Land Use plan, this area is set aside for a designation known as Mixed Use I. The Master Plan says this about Mixed Use I: "This designation will support a mixture of many uses including business centers, arts and cultural centers, general retail commercial, restaurants, grocery stores, personal services, apartments, and condominiums, etc.It's goal is to promote commercial activity and some higher density residential options." Given it's proximity to 94 which generates a lot of traffic, it's sensible to locate more uses there as opposed to say Ann Arbor - Saline Road and Maple. Green space is great but why put it next to a freeway and a 5 lane road?

Basic Bob

Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 3:29 a.m.

It looks absolutely nothing like the township's master plan. The township supervisor who rode into office on an anti-commercial platform sure has a lot of developers for friends. Maybe she can organize a TIF authority for Ann Arbor-Saline Road and build another four lane highway to Upper Saline. How much is the federal lawsuit costing us?


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 2:15 a.m.

I totally agree. I would be interested to hear the reasoning behind wanting to remove all berms. I always thought they were a visual asset.

Longtime A2

Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

Ann Arbor Saline Road will soon look like Stadium Blvd or Washtenaw Ave in Ypsilanti


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

Interesting as if I remember correctly, Pittsfield TWP required Meijer to install the berms when the store was originally built to hide it from the road.

David Waligora

Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

Pittsfield did require the berms but that doesn't mean \they're necessarily a great thing for business retention. Look at the plaza across from Meijer where Outback is. Most of that area is consistently under utilized because there's no real visibility from the streets and businesses do not get much exposure. Potential customers are difficult to get unless you know what you're looking for. I believe that something along these lines (perhaps not exactly this proposal) will (A) work well and cater to the people who live and work in that area, and (B) promote more of a walkable area then what's there currently; which is not any place one would want to linger, stroll, or spend time at for very long.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 9:47 a.m.

The berm was required to hide the PARKING from the road, not the store.

Ann English

Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

When that Meijer originally was built, its store sign was in white capital letters, visible from a house on Waters Road well before Oak Valley Center went in. The sign was probably on a berm, easily visible at night.


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

Thank You for not referring to this establishment in the plural/possessive.


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

This is fantastic. Now the squares won't have to venture into town to get some grub.


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

"Pedestrian friendly" should not be a concern. There is almost no walkable housing around there other than the complex across from Eisenhower road. All sidewalks are disconnected thanks to 94. Instead of making outskirt areas pedestrian friendly, how about making them friendly to the literally 99.9% of traffic that will be using them?


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

Yeah, the original post was made by someone who's not familiar with the area. There's a lot of housing within walking distance, but if you only ever approach Meijer from the North (and then go back home) you won't know that.


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

"There is almost no walkable housing around there other than the complex across from Eisenhower road." This statement is simply false. There's a ton of housing that's walkable to that location. Take a stroll down Oak Valley Drive sometime and then tell me there's no walkable housing around there. Take a short walk up Waters past Target, then tell me there's no walkable housing around there.


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

Other than all the Housing further down Lohr Road or near Oak Valley Drive?


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

Don't forget to add support/plan for future mass transit. It's cheaper to do it now!


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

Sounds delicious to me!

DJ Earl

Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Oh, goody, here comes another argument about chain vs. local restaurants!