Detroit — The mixed-use development and Meijer Inc. store planned for East Jefferson is expected to open in fall 2019 and include affordable housing as well as underground residential parking, officials announced Thursday.
The project marks a historical point for the area that does not have a major grocery store and hasn’t seen new mixed development in decades.
There will be roughly 70 full-time job openings at the Meijer store as well as apartment leasing office positions and construction jobs, said Dennis Archer Jr., principal at East Jefferson Development Co. LLC, which is leading the project.
Hiring preference will be given to residents and contractors in Wayne County, Archer said.
Archer was joined at the vacant development site — located at 1475 East Jefferson Avenue — Thursday morning by Mayor Mike Duggan, Councilwoman Mary Sheffield and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.
The $60 million development aligns with the city’s vision of having “20-minute neighborhoods” where residents can walk or bike to essential places, Duggan said.
Duggan noted many Detroit residents on the lower east side are doing their shopping in the suburbs.
“It’s just another great day in Detroit,” Duggan said. “This is the kind of dense community that we’re looking to build.”
Other details of the project include 213 residential units, with 20 percent being subsidized affordable housing; 221 underground residential parking spaces; and 120 ground-level retail parking spaces.
The Meijer will be 42,339 square feet and is described as a “small format” fresh grocery market.
The developer also has plans to make capital improvements to the adjacent park.
Sheffield said the new development will help retain and attract residents.
“There is a central desire and theme to want to have a chain grocery store here in Detroit,” Sheffield said. “This development will help dollars recirculate in our community versus being spent in other municipalities outside this region.”
Evans commended the regional cooperation that is allowing investors to have success in Detroit.
“Fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t always things you find, historically, in downtown Detroit,” Evans said. “So that’s really big.”
Archer said developers have been working on site plans for the past four years. Construction would likely begin next year and last 12-14 months, he said.
The East Jefferson store would be Meijer’s third Detroit location. The company opened its first Detroit store in 2013 in the Gateway Marketplace at Eight Mile and Woodward. Its second location opened in 2015 at the former Redford High School at Grand River Avenue and McNichols Road on the city’s northwest side.
The Rev. Barry Randolph of the Church of Messiah said during Thursday’s news conference the new Meijer will attract a lot of shoppers entering and leaving the downtown area.
“I never thought I would see this much development happening in Detroit in my lifetime,” Randolph said. “This will give us an opportunity to have a chain store where you know that you can get merchandise at a much cheaper price than some of the community grocery stores.”