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Allan

Older suburbs struggle to erase vacant eyesores

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Kusai Haddo loads a purchase at Frank's Nursery at Majestic Plaza in Warren. Frank's, which is going out of business, is the last remaining anchor at the mall on Van Dyke.

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Warren bought the soon-to-be empty Majestic Plaza, which also lost an F&M store and JoAnn Fabrics, for $4.75 million and plans to convert it into offices and new retail space.

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Plans for the Majestic call for converting 42,000 square feet into offices for state and county departments.

Older suburbs struggle to erase vacant eyesores

Sputtering economy sends retailers packing

By Charles E. Ramirez / The Detroit News

An aging, half-empty strip mall in Warren soon may be recycled into government offices.

In Dearborn, the city hopes to turn an extinct department store into new housing and retail space.

And in Sterling Heights, officials have formed a task force to figure out how to fill gaps in shopping centers throughout the city.

Throughout Metro Detroit, communities are being forced to find creative ways to breathe new life into the spaces retailers leave behind.

The voids mean residents are inconvenienced by having to drive elsewhere to shop. In some places, the empty storefronts become neglected eyesores, especially in more mature communities where new development is slow to take their place.

Average retail vacancies here are expected to dip to 7.9 percent this year. It

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Upscale cities also combat vacancies

By Charles E. Ramirez / The Detroit News

Even upscale downtowns like Birmingham and Grosse Pointe aren

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