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NorthCoast

Plainfield Twp. PC Denies Spartan Stores

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http://www.mlive.com/grandrapids/stories/i....xml&coll=6

Even though this is the company that currently employs me, as a student of land use this amused me. In our company newsletter they've been discussing this project for months as if it was pretty much set in stone. It just seemed as if they assumed that they were going to be approved with no problems. Of course, it still has to go to the Twp. which could overturn the planning commissions suggestion. Look for the same thing to happen in Georgetown Twp. Spartan's development arm owns a couple of farm houselots on the NW corner of 28th and Baldwin and rumor has it that they are looking to develop the site, which includes the Georgetown Little League fields into a similar development as proposed in Plainfield. Yet, they have not even approached the Township Board for site approval much less a re-zoning.

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Rest assured, the attitude of "assumed approval" did not go unnoticed by many residents of... and everyone connected to community development in Plainfield Township.

What hasn't been widely discussed is that Spartan has had numerous opportunities to pursue expansion in their current location - they simply ignored all those options when they assumed the 7 Mile Rd site was a slam dunk. While it is widely known that Spartan has had a contentious relationship with Daanes (their current landlord on Northland Dr) and the vanderKoois (former partners of Daanes) for decades - the option to revitalize that site has indeed actually been available to Spartan for a while. Furthermore, Pietro's has been looking to get out of - or (as we're now seeing) reinvent the Pietro's site. That would have given Spartan plenty of room to build a larger (in their words "neighborhood) grocery store. Bottom line is that if Spartan weren't so bent on having a gas station, convenience store, strip mall and several other out buildings being part of their plan, they could have found a way to expand and reinvent the existing store where it is.

I'm suspicious that Spartan is feeling unnecessarily paranoid about the grocery store that is being built on Belding Rd in Cannon Twp. It continues to boggle my mind that Spartan believes that 70 percent of their customers at Family Fare come from north of the Grand River. That would mean that every single person in the south half of Plainfield Township is shopping at Meijers (their only other option all the way to Leonard Street!). That simply seems a huge stretch of the imagination... and leaves me still bewildered as to why Spartan has no desire to serve an arguably underserved and densely populated area that already exists from the Grand River south to 3 Mile... especially when they already have a major presence in Rockford's D&W.

I should point out that we shop loyally at D&W - and that it is my opinion that BDR does very nice residential development work. I simply think they've collectively made some serious miscalculations regarding their presumed destiny at this site. And alas, this attitude of "assumed destiny" does not help their cause.

And finally, it is my understanding that there are decades of township precedent that stand between Spartan and this site... not to mention a total evaporation of housing starts in the area. Doesn't smell like much of a "growth" opportunity to me.

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Why can't Spartan simply move into the old Handy Andy's store. That should be more than big enough to house a pretty darn good sized supermarket. Sure they'd be very unnervingly close to Meijer. But the Spartan store on Lake Michigan Drive is not that far away from a Meijer store ether and that store is always busy to the max. Meijer is not Wal-Mart. Sparten does have the ability to compete against them. Besides if Sparten and Meijer competed head to head, the winner would be customers as competition would keep prices in check.

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Why can't Spartan simply move into the old Handy Andy's store.

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Spartan I think has its sights set on being a hybrid of Meijer and SuperValu. Although it is not quite the same (Spartan completely butchered the logo) I still really like the D&W brand. The Family Fares do absolutely nothing for me. You can tell though how proud Spartan is of the D&W's because whenever they are talking stock prices, profit, and future growth it is almost always centered around the the D&W stores. There is hardly ever a mention of Family Fare, Glen's, The Pharm, or the most recently acquired Felpausch. I don't know what brand they plan to label the Farmer Jack stores they acquired. It wouldn't surprise me in the next few years to see the company acquire what remains of West/Central Michigan's medium sized supermarkets; Martin's (which owns a couple of old D&W's) and Harding's.

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Spartan I think has its sights set on being a hybrid of Meijer and SuperValu. Although it is not quite the same (Spartan completely butchered the logo) I still really like the D&W brand. The Family Fares do absolutely nothing for me. You can tell though how proud Spartan is of the D&W's because whenever they are talking stock prices, profit, and future growth it is almost always centered around the the D&W stores. There is hardly ever a mention of Family Fare, Glen's, The Pharm, or the most recently acquired Felpausch. I don't know what brand they plan to label the Farmer Jack stores they acquired. It wouldn't surprise me in the next few years to see the company acquire what remains of West/Central Michigan's medium sized supermarkets; Martin's (which owns a couple of old D&W's) and Harding's.

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Rest assured, the attitude of "assumed approval" did not go unnoticed by many residents of... and everyone connected to community development in Plainfield Township.

What hasn't been widely discussed is that Spartan has had numerous opportunities to pursue expansion in their current location - they simply ignored all those options when they assumed the 7 Mile Rd site was a slam dunk. While it is widely known that Spartan has had a contentious relationship with Daanes (their current landlord on Northland Dr) and the vanderKoois (former partners of Daanes) for decades - the option to revitalize that site has indeed actually been available to Spartan for a while. Furthermore, Pietro's has been looking to get out of - or (as we're now seeing) reinvent the Pietro's site. That would have given Spartan plenty of room to build a larger (in their words "neighborhood) grocery store. Bottom line is that if Spartan weren't so bent on having a gas station, convenience store, strip mall and several other out buildings being part of their plan, they could have found a way to expand and reinvent the existing store where it is.

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Spartan should get Dykema to be a part of their development since everyone knows that Plainfield Twp will rubber stamp anything he wants to do.

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I don't believe Spartan bought any former Farmer Jacks outright. They are most likely the wholesale supplier for the independents that did buy those locations.

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Filmmaker,

What is the situation regarding the widening of 7-Mile/Rogue River at Northland? Is that happening regardless of Spartan, or was that planned to accommodate traffic generated by the Spartan Store. It sounds like that might get contentious on the Rogue River Drive side. Can you share?

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Why would you park another Spartan store in the exact same location that the last one failed?

That entire corner needs to be scrubbed and rethought. A do over, if you will. It's a major eyesore of vacant buildings and asphalt as far as the eye can see. There has to be 75% vacancy on that corner.

What is it going to take to spark some life back into Plainfield? And good lord, don't say that Meijer is going to do it.

FilmMaker - I remember a news report awhile back that said Plainfield Township had purchased (or were in the process of purchasing) several buildings along Plainfield. Which buildings did the township purchase?

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:rofl: So very true.....

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Filmmaker,

What is the situation regarding the widening of 7-Mile/Rogue River at Northland? Is that happening regardless of Spartan, or was that planned to accommodate traffic generated by the Spartan Store. It sounds like that might get contentious on the Rogue River Drive side. Can you share?

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FilmMaker - I remember a news report awhile back that said Plainfield Township had purchased (or were in the process of purchasing) several buildings along Plainfield. Which buildings did the township purchase?

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