A 500-unit high-rise apartment building proposed for the intersection of South University and South Forest avenues, several local businesses are likely to move – for the time being, at least. While at least one of the stores will return to a rejuvenated storefront at its current location, managers and customers alike said they were annoyed by the construction proposal’s impact.
A manager at Village Corner, a popular grocery store located at the construction site, declined to comment, but was handing out paper slips yesterday reading, “NEWS FLASH!! VILLAGE CORNER CONTINUES TO CONTINUE!” The leaflets, written and distributed by the owners, said Village Corner will be displaced for an indefinite amount of time, but “rumors of its passing are greatly exaggerated.”
The store has stood at the corner of S. University and S. Forest avenues for 37 years.
The Village Corner note ends by saying, “We look forward to serving, well into the future, both the Washtenaw County community and our worldwide clientele of wine lovers.”
The store’s owners could not be reached for comment.
University Village, the construction project proposed last week that would be located across the street from University Towers apartment complex, is slated to open by the fall of 2010. It would include 26 stories luxury apartments with a capacity of about 1,750 residents and retail stores on the complex’s first floor.
Once completed, developers hope University Village will give the neighborhood and retailers in the neighborhood a boost.
The complex will include 16,000 square feet of new retail space on the first floor and will also add 380 parking spaces and about 300 bicycle parking spaces to the area.
LSA junior Kevin Kinney said he would be inconvenienced by the changes.
“It’s generally the first place I shop. I live on North Campus, and it’s close to the bus stop,” Kinney said. “They have most of what I need.”
Robert Kesto, the owner of Champions Party Store and Laundromat, located at 609 S. Forest Avenue, said his store will move during construction and then return to the same location. Kesto said many customers are not yet aware of the city’s plans.
“It inconveniences customers,” Kesto said. “Now, if a customer wants to buy a pack of cigarettes, he’s got to walk four blocks,” he said, pointing his thumb out the window. “I think it sucks. It’s a loss of income. We’ve been here 18 years.”
Kesto said he would carry on business as usual wherever he goes. He said he plans to make use of the increased space upon the store’s return by expanding the store’s grocery section. He said he would eliminate the laundromat because all the apartments upstairs will have laundry units.
“I think it sucks,” Kesto said. “This is not our choice, but we have to go with the flow.”