Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Midtown Whole Foods Brownfields Public Hearing - summary

So Sept 2, I was at the brownfields public hearing. I will try to remember correctly here what was shared. 


Location: John R & Mack, behind Ellington Lofts, where Starbucks, Kinko's, etc. are. Currently a closed Chase Bank and active Chase ATM. Site owner is working with Chase to find alternate location for ATM. 

Store Hours: 8am to 9pm

Size: 21,000 sq ft of shopping space

Access: Midtown Loop Phase II will go right by it (Phase II = Canfield from Cass to John R; John R from Canfield to Mack). Developer mentioned that John R and Mack in that area will be "improved."

Parking: There are 950+ parking spots in the closest structure, and currently around 700-750 of the spots are occupied daily during business hours. Parking will be validated with a shopping receipt. 

Total cost: $12 million

Public subsidy requested: $900,000 in Michigan Business Tax Credit

Reason for hearings: The proposed site is part of an area zoned as "Planned Development" (PD), which slates the area for a very specific type of development (mixed use apartment building). For Whole Foods to be built there, they need a modification to the PD. 

Brownfield Public Hearing: held today (Sept. 1) to take public comments back to the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, after which the project will go to City Council for public hearing Thurs. October 6 @ 10am. Present at today's meeting were (among others) several residents and nearby businesses, including Citybird, Raw Cafe, DSO, Atlas Bistro, Russell Street Deli. Comments today were 100% supportive of the project. 

Timeline: Plan to open doors at end of 2012 or first quarter of 2013. 

Public outreach: Once architectural/signage designs are ready, plan to have a series of at least 4 neighborhood presentations. Whole Foods has been reaching out to local businesses already as potential vendors/suppliers like Raw Cafe (whose proprietoress, btw, is a former City Planning Commission staffer) and Hacienda Foods. 

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