After 40 years on the corner of South University and South Forest Avenues, campus mainstay Village Corner may have to relocate, leaving students living in the area without a place to go for late-night food runs or alcohol purchases.
Plans for a student high-rise in Village Corner’s location have been in the works for the last few years, putting the store’s location in limbo. In the last few weeks, Village Corner’s owner Dick Scheer and developer Ron Hughes have been discussing a lease buyout that would allow Hughes to begin constructing the apartment building in the store’s space and force VC to move.
Scheer said any rumors that the store is closing are unfounded, adding that he’s not planning on relocating until he is positive that Village Corner won’t be able to stay in its current location.
“Well we’ve had this high-rise shadow over us for four years,” Scheer said. “And another project was projected for four years before that. We’re essentially carrying out until something is certain.”
But Scheer added that the developers of 601 South Forest Ave. — the high-rise planned to be built in Village Corner’s location — are getting more serious about moving their project forward because it’s supposed to be ready by fall 2012.
“I can’t be certain but it seems the developers are going to move forward with a bit more urgency than they have for at least two years,” Scheer added.
Hughes said now that he’s begun to get construction permits, he hopes to break ground this fall.
If developers make moves to begin construction this fall, the store might be forced to close, leaving students in the area without a place to pick up various items.
LSA junior Emily Gold, who lives on the corner of Church and Hill Streets, said if the store disappears, she’ll miss the convenience Village Corner provides.
“I love having Village Corner around the corner,” Gold said. “I go all the time for things I need and there’s nothing else like it nearby.”
Despite the pending urgency, Scheer said he hasn’t seriously begun his search for a new location for the store.
“Two years ago when it looked like this was a certainty, I could’ve wasted time doing just that instead of keeping the business in good shape, and I’ve chosen not to speculate,” Scheer said. “Obviously we’re thinking but we have not been in active contact with realtors at this point.”
Moreover, Scheer said he hasn’t made plans to scale back the store’s inventory to prepare for a potential move because its high season for the store’s offerings. With the Michigan State fotball game this weekend, homecoming next weekend, and Halloween soon thereafter, this is one of Village Corner’s busiest times of the year and Scheer plans to keep his business going as usual until the lease buyout is finalized.
Scheer said he has been in the process of negotiating a lease buyout since 2008, when Hughes made moves to get full approval for the originally 26-story, but now 14-story, student high-rise.