Goodwill store plan fails for second time

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — A secondhand store may not open in Dearborn after a tied Plan Commission vote.

In the 4-4 vote the commission was unable to move forward with the approval or denial of the request by Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit to set up shop in west Dearborn during its meeting Feb. 13 at City Hall. This is the commission’s second time voting on the issue.

Five “yes” votes are needed for the special land-use permit request to open the resale store.

Commission Chairman Gary Errigo and Commissioners Susan Binder, Will Skora and Christine Sickle voted for the proposed store.

Commissioners Nancy Siwik, Nasser Alrayashi, Said Deep and Chris Forsyth all voted against the proposed store.

Commissioner Tawfic Hassan was not present at the meeting.

The commission will revote on the issue March 12. Goodwill Industries is to attend the event.

The secondhand store is looking to move into the former Inca Computer store at Michigan and Military avenues owned by Dearborn-based Newman Building Group.

The building has not been used for more than 10 years.

Goodwill Industries wants to renovate the 15,000-square-foot building and spend $500,000 for the remodeling project. During the meeting LeRoy Asher, attorney for Goodwill, spoke to the commission about why Goodwill could be an important aspect of Dearborn.

“Working with Goodwill provides direct employment for local residents,” Asher said. “This is going to draw people.”

Asher said Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit added 2,400 new jobs in metropolitan Detroit.

“We are a solid community-based business,” he said. “Not everyone can be a Nordstrom’s or a Macy’s.”

During the public response segment a handful of Dearborn residents addressed the commission — with some for and against the opening of the Goodwill Store.

West Village Dental Care Owner Chris Mei questioned whether a Goodwill store is the best use for the vacant building.

“Will (the store) make surrounding areas less desirable?” he asked the commission members.

Mei also asked if other business would want to be located near a resale shop.

Deep said that the location of the Goodwill store was his biggest concern.

“You can’t predict the future,” Deep said, adding that there might be an opportunity for a store other than Goodwill to come in.

Goodwill Detroit Director of Donated Goods Jeffrey Ukrainec said the resale store is a re-branded upscale place to shop.

“Thrift store: that is what we are not,” Ukrainec said. He added that there will be a gate or a screen to shield the donation drop-off section from the road and traffic, addressing resident concerns about theft.

After the meeting, Errigo said the next step is for Goodwill to petition the commission body for another hearing.

Errigo said if he was a business owner he would want to be near the property, estimated to bring in 60,000 to 70,000 people to an area a year.

“I would want to be near that business because … I can sell coffee to them, I can sell a sandwich to them whatever it may be…” he said.

Errigo added that area college students would want to shop resale.

“We have colleges in this community and college kids shop resale,” he said. “Its fun and it is kind of en vogue.”

The commission also approved a law office to be located in a residential structure in the 20000 block of Garrison. The proposed site is located on the north side of Garrison between Military and Howard in a Business Zoning Classification.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com)

Tags: