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Development Proposed For Acme Kmart Headed Toward Vote

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After spending months deliberating and revising plans for the township, the planning commissioner for Acme Township was able to vote tonight (Monday) on a mixed-use development of US-31’s former Kmart property. A special service will be held at 7:00 pm at the Feast of Victory Church on Mount Hope Road, Acme.

Based in East Lansing, Strathmore Real Estate Group has developments in the Midwest and the United States. Appeared in front of the Local Planning Committee for the first time this spring Since then, he has attended multiple conferences and public hearings to address issues related to Plan Development (PD) requests. A PD is a zoning plan tailored to a specific property and may accommodate uses not normally permitted in a particular area. This includes self-storage, one of the uses Strathmore plans to introduce in his Kmart building.

Strathmore representatives told Planning Commission officials that self-storage was the only way to productively and economically utilize part of the sprawling former Kmart building. However, the company also uses the land for other uses permitted and encouraged by the township, such as pickleball courts, a fitness center, office space, a coffee shop, headquarters for the non-profit Grand Traverse Men’s Shed, and 186 apartment buildings. I am planning on taking it in. 9 houses with carport parking. Amenities such as playgrounds, grill stations, trails and green spaces are planned for apartment tenants. Access contracts to allow TART trails to pass through the site are also part of his PD.

The plan also covers the former Tom’s Food Market building, which will become the new headquarters for e-commerce retailer Truly Free. That part of the project has already been approved by the Planning Commission as a minor modification to Tom’s existing Special Use Authorization, as both Tom’s and Truly Free are for retail use. Truly Free will use his 100% of Tom’s building to provide public retail space for on-site purchases and order pick-up, with other parts of the building used for processing and mail order.

“The folks at Truly Free wanted to start renovating the interior so they could occupy the space this fall,” said Lindsey, township planning and zoning manager at the company, who is seeking early approval to proceed. Mr Wolf said. Stephen Ezell, CEO and founder of Truly Free, told the planning commission that the company’s operations, currently spread across five buildings and 60 employees in Traverse City, will be consolidated into Tom’s building. He said he would invest “massive amounts” to make the space “first class.” ”

However, according to Strathmore representatives, plans for the Kmart building are proving to be more cumbersome, especially when it comes to self-storage and warehousing, the latter of which is primarily for electricians, plumbers and other tradesmen. It consists of a working space and a vehicle storage. Acme Township previously rejected his PD application for his Kmart property from Bloomfield Hills-based real estate firm Lormax Stern. When the company tried to open its own self-storage facility on the premisesBut township planning consultant John Iaccoangeli of Beckett & Raider told the planning commission at its Aug. 8 meeting that Lomax-Stern’s application had no assurances it would develop other uses. Strathmore’s application, on the other hand, is “different because it includes a variety of uses.”

Strathmore representatives have repeatedly emphasized their claims, stating that housing construction is one of their primary project goals, self-storage and warehousing will redevelop the most difficult sections of the Kmart building, and the rest of the site development. Emphasized to the Planning Commissioner that it is an economic vehicle for funding. At the Aug. 8 meeting, company representatives said they would welcome another tenant like Truly Free if they were interested in self-storage or warehouse spaces and would reduce or eliminate their use in the building. said.

Still, many residents are strongly opposed to including self-storage on properties that are not normally permitted.Jim Goran, who owns a self-storage facility in Acme, is part of a group that opposes the proposal. . “Few hope e-commerce opportunities will come after a lucrative, low-investment self-storage transaction has been completed,” he wrote to Township Leaders. Other residents called on leaders to bring these parts of prominent commercial buildings to more creative or attractive uses.

The Planning Commission could consider approving Strathmore’s PD tonight. This is accompanied by a number of conditions to address the concerns of those and other residents and the board. One of these terms is to limit self-storage to 35,800 square feet and warehouses to 24,400 square feet, with the ability to convert that space to e-commerce or similar retail tenants as needed in the future. Separate conditions prohibit outdoor storage of materials and products and indoor storage of boats, recreational vehicles, ATVs, OTRs, automobiles, and trucks (other than those used by warehouse tenants).

Several potential conditions could address concerns about housing. Yes. A change from an apartment to another type of housing, including but not limited to condominiums, requires township approval as a major amendment to the PD. Separately, units must be rented for a minimum of 6 months and short term rentals are not permitted.

At its Aug. 8 meeting, the Planning Commission also considered implementing a “sunset” clause that would require all homes to be built within a specified time period. , to require Strathmore to pay a performance bond equivalent to the cost of four residential apartments. This must be provided before the company obtains a land use permit to redevelop his Kmart building. The township then returns the bond (or bonds) to the developer when the residential building is completed.

Whether the Planning Commission feels these conditions are sufficient and that their concerns have been adequately addressed will determine whether it proceeds to vote tonight to approve the PD or postpones a future meeting. Decide. Planning Commission Chair Carly Wentzloff acknowledged the review process took time, but told Strathmore representatives at a meeting on August 8 that the PD said, “It’s a very big project and we It’s a pretty small town,'” she added. I’ve said this a million times: Local government moves slower than molasses. Even if Strathmore has the planning commission’s backing, the company will still have to go to the township trustee for final PD approval.

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