Developer Delays East Lansing Trowbridge Plaza Project, Considering Changes

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Plans to revamp a key piece of property in East Lansing won't be moving forward like originally planned, at least for now.

After significant push back from the community, the developer heading up the Trowbridge Plaza project pulled the item off the Planning Commission's Wednesday agenda.

Darcy Schmitt, the planning and zoning administrator for the city, said Kevin McGraw and DeWitt Township-based Caddis Development asked to have the item removed from the agenda in order to revisit the proposal and possibly make changes.

"It's a common scenario when there's a large project and there's controversy over the project," Schmitt said.

"It gives (the developer) an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and change their plans or decide to go forward with the opposition from the citizens."

Push back from the community came after people found out the proposal didn't include a future for Goodrich's, a long-time grocery store in the plaza.

"Redevelopment is lovely, I don't object to that, but I'm very heartsick about Goodrich's being driven away," said Nancy Dixon, an East Lansing resident who shops frequently at the store.

Goodrich's current lease is up at the end of August.

McGraw's $24 million plan for the aging shopping center on the corner of Harrison and Trowbridge includes new students apartments and storefronts.

While most everyone we spoke with agrees the strip mall could use some sprucing up, they all shared the same sentiment: hands off our grocery store.

"I've been coming here many years, it's great product, it's just unfortunate, it really is," said Bill Burns.

"I see the need for some kind of updating but I understand very much the store owner's position," said Elizabeth Moore.

The developer has conceded to some of the concerns raised in the original plans by increasing parking and the amount of non-residential space, but Schmitt contends there's still more that could be done.

"The density that has been shown in the other plan... is definitely a little high for an area of that size so it wouldn't be the balance that staff would be happy with," she said.

Schmitt said there's no timetable for when the developer must bring the project back to the planning commission for consideration.

McGraw did not return our calls for comment.

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