Downtown Okemos Development Could Soon Get Spark of Energy

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A meeting next week could soon get the ball rolling for what seems to be a stalled development project in downtown Okemos.
Douglas J Salons had planned to open the doors on a new mixed-use building this year on the corner of Okemos and Hamilton Roads. Meridian Township Manager Frank Walsh says construction on the building has not started, because the plans call for it to be too close to the power lines. “The hold up right now, is that the building has been designed, and the high tension wires from consumers energy are too close to the top of the building. And with Douglas J wanting to use the top of the building for fitness and other programs, it makes it a real challenge."

Walsh says the township is working with Consumers Energy and the Weaver family, which owns Douglas J to figure out how to get the project moving forward. “There are options available. We can either move the building, away from the lines, they could have no activity on the top floor, or the lines will be buried. Those are really the three options at this point and obviously there's a hefty price tag with burying the lines." Walsh says it could cost up to $3 million dollars to bury the power lines, but he adds the number is not firm. He also says its unclear who will pay the price.

A Douglas J representative told us the Weaver family was not available for comment on this story today. Walsh says, “All we know is that we really are behind this development. It's going to have a huge impact on downtown Okemos. It will give us a shot in the arm that we need for future development. and we're going to work hand in hand with Consumers Energy and the Weaver family to make this happen."

Walsh says a meeting is planned for next Wednesday, for the utility, the township and the Weavers to discuss the project. We’ll keep you updated on what happens.