June 24, 2014 at 11:29 pm

State commits $1.5M to Macomb Mall redevelopment

Jared Feeback, 23, of Howell puts sealing rings on storm water pipes. The renovation project will create 295 full-time equivalent retail jobs. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)

Macomb Mall’s makeover is getting a $1.5 million lift from the state.

The board of the Michigan Strategic Fund approved allocating the money for the Roseville shopping center’s redevelopment as part of $15 million in entrepreneur assistance and company development projects it awarded Tuesday.

The money for the mall’s redevelopment will come from captured local and school taxes. Michigan Economic Development Corp. officials estimate the project will create 295 full-time equivalent retail jobs with an average hourly wage of $11.

Lormax Stern Development Co., the mall’s owner, is based in Bloomfield Hills. It owns more than 20 other shopping centers across the state, as well as ones in Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas.

Karl Zarbo, director of operations for Lormax, was unavailable Tuesday.

The $8.4 million project to redevelop Macomb Mall began earlier this year and included the demolition of a 127,000-square-foot, two-story building where a Crowley’s Department Store once was located. After Crowley’s closed, Value City occupied the space, but it’s been vacant for a few years.

On the same site, a 50,200-square-foot building for a Dick’s Sporting Goods Store is under construction.

The next phase, scheduled to begin later this year, includes renovations and rebuilding various mall sections in need of repair.

Macomb Mall opened as a 921,000-square-foot enclosed shopping center at the corner of Gratiot Avenue and Masonic in 1964. Babies R Us, Kohls, Old Navy and Sears anchor more than 80 stores.

Roseville City Manager Scott Adkins praised the strategic fund board’s approval. He said the project isn’t just a facelift, but a significant investment in the community that will create jobs once it’s completed.

“We’re not just talking adding a store or two,” Adkins said. “By the time they’ve completed all the phases of the project, it’s nearly a $30 million project in the long term. This is a good day for Roseville and the region, no doubt about it.”

Among the projects that also received money from the Michigan Strategic Fund:

■Invest Detroit — $1.3 million over two years for a business forum, competition and fellowship.

■Ann Arbor SPARK — $500,000 to fund start-up tech companies.

■NextEnergy in Detroit — $800,000 over two years for energy technology grant.

■Inforum Center for Leadership in Detroit — $367,281 for training and women-owned businesses.

■University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship — $582,376 over two years for best practices training.

The fund also awarded $1 million a $6.7 million project to renovate the historic Wright Opera House and adjoining properties into residential units and retail space in downtown Alma. The opera house was destroyed by a fire in 2010.

cramirez@detroitnews.com
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