Partners Land Three Big Retailers

December 3, 2004
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CASCADE TOWNSHIP — The largest remaining commercial property on the state’s second busiest street is filling up nicely, as a trio of Fortune 500 companies is coming to the development known as Waterfall Shoppes.

The three are taking up 315,600 square feet of the more than half-million-square-foot project going up on the former Showcase Cinemas site at 5100 28th St. SE, near the I-96 interchange. Two are buying their buildings, while the third is leasing.

The Costco Wholesale Corp. is opening a membership warehouse store there Dec. 9. The Costco building is 148,700 square feet and the company, based in Issaquah, Wash., will own it. Costco, which offers discount prices on more than 4,000 products, is the largest wholesale club operator in the nation and its 28th Street store is the first in this area.

Opening next June in Waterfall Shoppes are Target and Staples. Target Corp. is building a 141,900-square-foot “cheap chic” store, its fifth in the metro area, and Staples Inc. is putting up its first office-supply superstore here in a 25,000-square-foot facility.

Target is the country’s No. 2 discount retailer, behind Wal-Mart, and Staples is the office-supply selling leader. Target will own its building, while Staples will lease.

Jeff Hundley and Mark and Ed Finklestein, as Hund-Fink Acquisitions LLC, own the 120 acres that make up the Waterfall Shoppes property. Getting a “Big Three” in Costco, Target and Staples has been a real retail coup for the partners.

“We’re excited. What we’re doing right now is focusing on getting those three up and going,” said Hundley, also a director with Colburn-Hundley Inc., a commercial real estate firm. “We’re really not pushing for anybody else right now.”

Construction on the Target and Staples stores is underway. Work has to be going on if both are to open in June. But Hundley said the partners will be reviewing some letters-of-intent they have received from other potential tenants over the winter.

Hundley added that future tenants would be required to lease space in the development, as the partners aren’t interested in selling any more of the development.

“I think we’re going to end up owning about 300,000 square feet,” he said.

As for the name Waterfall Shoppes, the partners picked it because about 40 acres of wetlands are on the property and they hoped to get permission to do some attractions with those watery parcels. But the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said no, and now they’re planning to design a waterfall into the project. The total cost of the project could reach $100 million.

About 52,000 vehicles travel past the Cascade Township property each day according to the last traffic count, and 91,000 people with an average household income of nearly $65,000 live within five miles of the site, which is just west of I-96. Hundley didn’t feel the opening of the new M-6 would have a negative effect on consumer traffic to Waterfall Shoppes.

“I think Costco is a true destination. So if anything, (M-6) might make it easier because people coming from the west may find 28th Street not quite as busy,” he said. “People not shopping will use the South Belt. In a lot of cases, they’re just going from point A to point B.”    

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