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Shopping Center Planned In Area

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ff S If the lmd is rezoned Meijer [nc. of Grand Rapids plans to Duild and open a $5.5 million shopping center by the spring )f 1972 on a 74-acre site in Pittsïeld Township. Several Meij3r executives met with town;hip officials yesterday to discuss the project. The land is on Carpenter Rd. north of Ellsworth. Located just south of the Topps Shopping Center the land runs from the railroad tracks south to Ellsworth. The parcel is owned by the Bell Development Co. but Meijer has had an option and will buy the land when and if it is rezoned. One piece of the land is presently zoned for mobile home park and the other is zoned for multi family dwellings. Pittsfield Tonwship Supr. Robert Lillie estimated that the proposed commercial project would replace 600 projected living units. No attempts were made to come to any decisions. This was just an informational meeting to acquaint township officials with how Meijer builds and operates their projects, Lillie sadi. "Everybody wants to look and listen." The next step is the filing of a formal rezoning request. And company president Fred Meijer said that would be done immedia tely. Lillie said at the moment it all looks very favorable since the commercial project would help solve one of the township's most pressing problems, school density. More of a tax base would be provided without any more children being put into the schools. But Lillie also pointed out that other possible problems such as traffic flowl would have to be investigated.l "One problem can be solved! but other may arise. We. are notl going to make Lny snap deci-l sion because the Meijer pro-l ject would mean a substantiall economie gain to the communi-l ty." Meijer said when an optionl was taken on the land inl December company officials 1 assumed that the land would be I rezoned and therefore plannedl to open the store in August of 1971. "We like to acquire sites ahead of time. If we waited until we were ready to build houses would have poured all over the land. As it is now the Ann Arbor area will spread its growth out to the site." The initial base store to be known as Meijer Thrifty Acres would be 220,000 square feet with satellite stores such as a gas station, restaurant, automobile accessory store, a bank, a laundry, an auto wash and several offices also planned around it. Plans are so designed that the capacity could be doubled, if the situation called for it, Meijer said. About 15 months ago Meijer bought a 55-acre tract of land in Scio Township on the corner of S. Zeeb and Jackson. The opening of that proposed shopping center will be farther into the future than the one in Pittsfield, probably three to five years, according to Meijer. It will take longer for the city to grow in that direction and therefore provide enough traffic for such a center, he said. Also it would take longer for sewer and water facilities to be provided.