ASK ELi: Why Parking Lots Ballot Question Is NOT about the Blighted Corner
This week's Ask Eli tackles a question we've gotten in conversation with several readers one that can be summed up this way:
Does redevelopment of the blighted area at Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road depend on the parking lot sale ballot question passing?
The answer: The answer is an unequivocal "no." That is simply a different project.
While this article was in press, the City Pulse got this very fact wrong, writing that the ballot proposal is about DTN's "proposal moving through the planning process to develop the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road." (They have told me they are running a correction which will come out in print after the election.)
The blighted area at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road is an entirely separate development project from the one which requires the sale of the parking lots. The "big bank" building at the corner of Grand River and Abbot and the vacated old commercial building just west of it (near Peoples Church) are privately owned by a company called PDIG and that area is being privately developed. Planning Commission has approved the plan for that corner already. That project does not depend at all on the parking lots' sale. It is an entirely separate project.
The project that does depend on the parking lots sale is a project put forth by DTN Management and involves buildings that are all north of that area. The buildings DTN will knock down and replace, if that project is approved, are all currently in good enough repair to be in use. Indeed, they are all in active use. Because DTN talks about fixing the blighted area, many people mistake their project for being about the boarded-up buildings at the corner of Grand River and Abbot. DTN tried to arrange to have those properties in their plan, but they failed, and so the projects are entirely separate, with the one owned by PDIG already moving steadily though the City's approval process.
Want to see graphically what we're talking about, block by block? I asked our reporter Chris Root to take us on a tour of the area to explain who owns what and which building is in which development plan. Just before Chris gives us the tour, I provide a little bit of a visual overview of what is written above. Take a look:
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