Exit 11 Rebirth
Rezoning could turn mall into industrial area
The shopping centers along LaPlaisance Rd. could become an industrial park in the next year.
Monroe Township officials and strip mall owners are looking to remarket 175 acres between LaPlaisance Rd., Dunbar Rd. and I-75 for light industrial use, which could attract warehouse and manufacturing operations.
“We’re told there’s a lot of demand for those places, and this is right next to the expressway,” said Monroe Township Supervisor Alan Barron. “It’s an ideal spot.”
The area is zoned C- 2 general commercial and would have to be rezoned for light industrial, which could happen by March. The township is working to amend the master plan to allow future land use in the area to be rezoned for light industrial to make it easier for potential developers to move in.
“Developers want a place to be shovel- ready,” Mr. Barron said. “ We want to make it easier for them and get some of the hurdles out of the way.”
Once the master plan is amended and has taken effect Jan. 1, the rezoning process would have to begin, which takes two to three months, said Kim Fortner, township zoning enforcement officer.
A strip of land on the north end of LaPlaisance Rd. still would be zoned for commercial use, which would hide the industrial park in the back.
Amicus Management, the courtappointed receiver of Monroe Factory Shops, where the Gap Outlet and Monroe City Fireworks are located, solicited quotes for demolition on two of the three buildings for potential buyers. It is selling the property for $1.1 million.
When added with the neighboring Harwood Plaza, which Monroe Bank & Trust is auction- ing Oct. 29, and the former Ilgenfritz Nursery, it creates 175 acres of land that can bring in a major corporation, said Marc Berry, project director for Amicus.
The land is being sold separately, however, and there is no guarantee an industrial developer or corporation will buy the properties.
The location still is advantageous for industries because of its proximity to I- 75, Toledo and Detroit, said Tim Lake, president and chief executive officer of the Monroe County Business Development Corp.
“The retail area has always struggled there for some reason … and we don’t have the demographic there for a big box store, but it makes sense for light industry,” Mr. Lake said. “ The concepts we talked about look like something you might see in Ann Arbor or Plymouth and you can’t tell there’s industry behind the strip mall. It will fit in the environment nicely.”