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New timeline for "Village of Okemos" redevelopment project

(WILX)
Published: May. 27, 2020 at 7:11 PM EDT
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Work has stopped on the long-awaited "Village of Okemos" project, a $100 million development plan to turn the Okemos and Hamilton Road area from an eyesore into a downtown-style community.

"Everybody in Okemos wants to know what's happening," said community member Valdis Vitols.

Vitols says he's tired of seeing the empty buildings and feels fooled by the lack of work.

"There's grandiose plans and all that, but we have yet to see something," said Vitols.

True North Development plans to invest more than $100 million to reform the area into seven buildings filled with homes, restaurants, shops and office space.

Ken Lane, Meridian Townships's Director of Economic Development says a couple roadblocks popped up, pushing back their construction start date for this year.

"One of the buildings that has been removed was the dry cleaner. The contamination was more than was initially forecast, so the developer had to work with the state to do extra remediation efforts on that property... and then the coronavirus hit and that further delayed things," said Lane.

Lane says he's still waiting to hear what the timeline going forward will be.

The current Douglas J Salon will be the anchor business of the new commercial space. The CEO is working closely with the development team and is confident the project will get done.

"Of course there's anxiety around anything like that. It's certainly a bigger project. It's a lot bigger than anything that we dreamed of back in the day, but I'm very confident in the developer and Will and his team. They're looking to do it right," said Scott Weaver, CEO of Douglas J Companies.

North Development Investing says building construction will start Spring 2021. Demolition and additional environmental cleanup with resume in August or September of this year.

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