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Developments grow on 8 Mile and Woodward

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Developments grow on 8 Mile and Woodward

Progess is marked in city and suburbs

April 23, 2004

BY BILL LAITNER

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Two of metro Detroit's biggest, best-known and -- on some stretches -- grittiest highway corridors are poised for a comeback, say their promotional groups.

Moves include:

  • On 8 Mile, the state armory that languished empty for decades in Oak Park now has a future. Pooling it with land on Greenfield near Northland Center, a developer plans 100 acres of stores, offices, light industry and residential units.

  • On Woodward, the nonprofit Royal Oak-based Woodward Avenue Action Association, which boosted the avenue's decade-long revival in Oakland County, voted April 8 to absorb its counterpart group from south of 8 Mile, called Woodward Heritage Organization-Wayne.

To spread the news, Carmona's group and one promoting 8 Mile are preening for their annual show-and-tell sessions, when community and business leaders praise each other for progress while asking for more.

Gathering today at the State Fairgrounds in Detroit -- on Woodward at 8 Mile, near a planned 100-store outlet mall -- is the Eight Mile Boulevard Association, hosting its fifth annual luncheon with the top four local leaders. This year they are Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Macomb County Commission Chair Nancy White, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano and, standing in for Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Deputy Executive Doug Williams.

Meeting Wednesday at the Radisson Kingsley Hotel in Bloomfield Hills -- at Long Lake Road, center of Woodward's peak affluence -- is the Woodward Avenue Action Association, holding its fifth annual recognition breakfast and newly welcoming luminaries from Detroit, Highland Park and Wayne County.

This month's armory land sale on 8 Mile was huge for Oak Park, which counts on seeing the 80-acre eyesore that paid no property taxes become a bustling center of economic vitality that will go on the tax roll Dec. 31, said City Manager Jim Hock.

"We've been waiting almost 20 years for this," Hock said.

Elsewhere are hard-won signs of improvements, said Tami Salisbury, executive director of the Eight Mile Boulevard Association.

She's proudest of new stores, offices and 200 renovated bus stops going in this year. But Salisbury doesn't shrink from talking about the Coliseum, a topless bar to seat more than 400 and cost about $4 million.

"It's a major investment," she said.

Contact BILL LAITNER at 248-351-3297.

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that's great news for the horrible eyesore in oakpark,

maybe they should name the development "the armory" and keep one of the tanks.....

hopefully its tastefully done though......

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