Land Owner Hopes Whole Foods Has Positive Impact

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

After years of decline, the few people who remain in a mobile home park on Grand River Avenue were given 30 days to leave, last month. Troy Lovegrove wasn't surprised.

"We just didn't know when and now that the owner wants it gone, that's what's going to happen," said Lovegrove. "I'm just glad there's going to be something going in."

That something is a news, 35,000 sq. ft. Whole Foods. After two years of negotiations, land owner George Tesseris sealed the deal, last week.

"Back and forth trying to convince them that this is a good area to be in. Finally we convinced them to come," said Tesseris, Co-Owner of A & G Associates.

The Whole Foods will sit on land currently occupied by Velocipede Peddler and the mobile home park behind it. It's expected to create around 150 jobs, but Tesseris, who also owns several properties next to the site, says the impact will be much larger.

"It's a destination-type operation," he said. "People come from all over. I think it'll perk up all the businesses around here."

Local health food stores, like Foods For Living, which sits across the street, aren't convinced.

"It's good that the town's growing, but it'll hurt everyone [in the health food business]," said John Snyder, Founder of Foods for Living.

Tesseris says he expects the other stores to benefit from more people and traffic brought into the area by Whole Foods. Meridian Township hopes that will bring more developments to that particular stretch of Grand River Avenue.

"Certainly hoping it'll influence more business owners and other developers to come in and do other improvements," said Mark Kieselbach, Director of Planning and Development.

Tesseris says Whole Foods signed a long-term lease on the property; a minimum of 20 years. He hopes to have the doors open by this time, next year.

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