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Shopping center wins approval from Detroit Council

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Shopping center wins approval from Detroit Council

The project at Seven Mile and Telegraph will begin in the spring; prospects include Home Depot.

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By R.J. King / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- A proposed city shopping center that drew community opposition because it would replace 81 homes was approved Monday by Detroit City Council after its developer bought additional homes in the area.

The project, named Seven Mile Crossing, will expand 30 percent to 350,000 square feetafter the development team of Eyes on Detroit LLC in Southfield bought another 25 homes.

Work on the $75 million center at Seven Mile and Telegraph will start in the spring and open in early 2006.

"We're very happy the developer listened to our concerns and worked with us," said Madeline List, a homeowner who plans to sell her home to developers.

On average, each homeowner will receive $150,000 for their homes, some of which were built in the 1940s. The homes will be demolished in the spring. Most residents plan to move nearby or to other areas of the region, said Steve Schafer, managing member of Eyes on Detroit.

City Council's 6-2 approval of the project sends a message to the retail community that Detroit is open to new retail business, said Jim Bieri, president of Bieri Co., a Detroit retail consulting firm.

Most urban retail sites are built on open land or replace aging or abandoned buildings. "This was a tough project because you had homeowners involved," Bieri said. "It's one of the largest retail developments in the city, and developers now know they can get city approvals if they offer fair and reasonable prices and follow community standards."

Schafer said he's scouting other areas of the city for future retail sites. "We're very encouraged by the city's approval," he said.

The center's prospective tenants include Home Depot, Fifth Third Bank, Starbucks Coffee and Dunkin' Donuts. The project took more than two years of planning.

Until recently, the city has experienced a long drought of retail development. A decade ago, merchants often passed on Detroit locations due to falling population and poor municipal services.

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