New Retail Planned For Beltline

May 23, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — Planning commissioners recently recommended a zoning change for a new retail project that would sit on slightly more than seven acres at the southeast corner of East Beltline Avenue and Lake Eastbrook Drive.

But at the same time planners also tabled their review of the project's site and signage plans for a later date.

"I think it's an excellent plan and an excellent location. But I would like to see traffic take another look at it," said Planning Commissioner Janet Saunders.

The Retail Development Group (RDG), a Grand Rapids subsidiary of the Main Street Capital Group, wants to build a 64,000-square-foot retail center at 2500 East Beltline Ave., which was most recently the location of the Grand Olds Used Car Center.

The project features three buildings, with two lined up in an L-type pattern and one set across a parking lot from those buildings.

RDG plans to have 11 tenants in Woodpointe Crossings — just west of Centerpointe Mall and east of Woodland Shopping Center — including an office supply store, a home furnishings shop, a jewelry store, a hair salon and a bank branch. The company estimated the tenants would create 250 new jobs.

Site plan approval is being held up because the city said RDG has too many pylon signs designed into the project and the project's traffic study hasn't been completed. The water retention pond was also questioned at the project's public hearing, as the site has consistently sent rainwater pouring onto neighboring properties like Sensations at 3525 East Mall Drive and the Eastbrook Auto Wash at 3530 East Mall Drive.

But Planning Director Bill Hoyt said the design of the RDG project would retain the water and then release it at a much slower rate of speed than in the past. A project engineer told commissioners the pond would meet the city's 100-year retention requirement.

Another reason the reviews were tabled is RDG submitted two site plans. A revised plan includes a property swap the developers may make with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The firm has offered to give MDOT 17 feet of property that borders the project for a right-of-way in return for an entrance.

"It's a moving target," said Chad Bush, managing director of Retail Development, of the site plan, "and that's because we're working with planning and MDOT."

"I'm really uncomfortable ruling on a moving target," said Planning Commissioner Robert Zylstra.

Founded in 2003, RDG is a full-service real estate firm. Its services include brokerage, leasing, property management and the financing of projects.

The zoning change request — from community commercial to planned shopping center — now goes to the City Commission for its review. Centerpointe Mall is zoned under planned shopping center.

Concept Design Group is the project's architect, while Wade Trim is conducting the traffic study.    

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