Discount retail chain seeks to open on Ypsilanti's Water Street property
Courtesy City of Ypsilanti
One of the country's largest retail discount chains is targeting the long-vacant Water Street property near downtown Ypsilanti.
Ypsilanti received a letter of intent from Core Resources, Inc. to purchase 1.25 acres of the 38-acre site.The property is currently owned by the city and Core, on behalf of its client Family Dollar Stores of Michigan, will pay $210,000 to purchase the land.
Core Resources, Inc. and Family Dollar have negotiated the initial terms including a concept site plan for the property and related building elevations for the potential development based on draft zoning for the Water Street Development.
The property is located on the northeast corner of the Water Street site, at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Park Street, according to the letter of intent.
Core Resources, Inc. specializes in real estate development, design and build construction and owner representation services.
The city has long sought development possibilities for Water Street. In 2010, the city council unanimously rejected a proposal from Indiana-based Bravokilo, which owns the Burger King on Michigan Avenue near Ecorse Road, to build a new restaurant on one acre of the 38-acre site.
The purchase of the property will be at market rate and will not require any special incentives from the city. The Ypsilanti City Council will consider approving the letter of intent at its Tuesday meeting, said Mayor Paul Schreiber. If council approves the letter of intent, Core is requesting that the city remove that portion of the Water Street area from the market.
The letter of intent is a non-binding agreement between the city and Core to work for a term of no more than three months on a development agreement.
Tom Widmeyer, regional vice president of real estate for Family Dollar Stores, wrote to the city that on average, the stores have about 2,200 customers per week, with 60 percent of the business occurring in the mid-afternoon and evening.
Schreiber said similar to the proposed $12 million Eastside Recreation Center on Water Street, the addition of a Family Dollar would bring more people to the area. Schreiber previously said the recreation center would serve as an anchor tenant for future developments, such as Family Dollar.
"I’m in support of it because, first off the building they’re proposing conforms with a lot of the guidelines the planning commission came up with for the Water Street property," Schreiber said. "I think that store will bring a lot of foot traffic in the area. I think those two things are major considerations. We have to get started somewhere."
Widmeyer wrote that most Family Dollar stores have low parking needs and strong walk-up traffic. The company is requesting a minimum of 20 parking spaces.
Schreiber said the letter of intent is similar to the one submitted by the Washtenaw County of Parks and Recreation to develop the 65,000-square-foot recreation center.
"What this letter of intent would do is signal to Family Dollar that we are really serious and they should go ahead and invest," Schreiber said. "... Family Dollar wants to expand in Michigan and I think the Water Street property is a really great place."
Depending on whether council approves the letter of intent, Schreiber said the next step would be for the company to go before the planning commission, who must then approve a site plan. A construction date has not yet been set.
Family Dollar has 7,267 stores throughout the country and reported $8.5 billion in annual sales and $388.4 million in net income for fiscal year 2011.