Shopping center ready for future

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — Long-awaited demolition work at the Lincoln Park Shopping Center may begin as early as next month, city officials said. Once razed, $10 million worth of redevelopment plans include construction of a big-box retailer and an anticipated 600 jobs in the 22-acre complex at Southfield and Dix-Toledo roads.

The fading shopping center was purchased in September 2010 by Farmington Hills-based Grand Sakwa properties, with expectations of the property beyond the strip mall with the intersection serving as a gateway to Lincoln Park and Allen Park.

Mayor Patricia Diaz Krause said the intersection’s development includes the recent opening of Bread Basket Deli, 2011 Southfield, the eatery’s 10th franchise.

Progress at the site was delayed in part due to litigation filed by neighboring Sears, which reportedly opposed an easement given to Grand Sakwa. The developer was cleared to proceed, and plans include construction of an anchoring “big box” store, and realignment of the available strip mall space. The former Farmer Jack store will be partly demolished and redeveloped.

Development of the property required additional negotiations between Lincoln Park and Allen Park, as the acreage crosses the shared boundary. Former Mayor Frank Vaslo and city manager Steve Duchane anticipated progress in July 2011 before the Sears litigation stalled construction plans. The benefit for the city, Vaslo said, extended beyond the retail activity in the center.

“The ancillary development should be significant,” Vaslo said. “This kind of development spurs an economic stimulus and increased traffic.”

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)