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Wednesday, November 28,2012

Filling in

Things are looking up for vacancy-plagued Colonial Village Shopping Center

by Sam Inglot
Excited neighbors at the opening of a new Family Dollar store in a vacant storefront of the Colonial Village Shopping Center have more good news coming: Sources say a grocery store will move into the former L&L Food Center next door that closed two years ago.

Jeff Sanders, store manager at Family Dollar, confirmed what a source told City Pulse that a Valu Land will be moving into the shuttered L&L next door. Sanders had learned of the news after speaking with contractors working on the L&L site.

“It’s in the developmental stages right now,” Sanders said, adding that it’s his understanding the news will be announced at a Colonial Village neighborhood meeting tonight.

It would be welcome news for residents in the area west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near West Mount Hope Avenue who hoped a small grocery store would return to the shopping center. Extensive neighborhood planning took place after L&L closed and residents worked with the property owner to fill the void of a local, mid-sized grocer. A Chinese restaurant, PNC Bank and a Rite Aid are also in the plaza.

The owner of the shopping center, Craig Singer, of Milford Singer and Co. in Bloomfield Hills, declined to comment on Valu Land in a phone message Tuesday morning, but acknowledged that he is working with a potential grocer.

“We currently have no lease executed with any supermarket for that space and are in negotiations with a prospective supermarket, so that’s all I can say at this point. We wouldn’t disclose who we’re negotiating with until we execute a lease,” he said.

A Valu Land spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, said he hadn’t heard about the Valu Land development until Tuesday at the Family Dollar ribbon cutting. 

“If that were true, it would only enhance business around them,” he said. “It would be very complementary. Clustering (of similar businesses) is key to economic development.”

Valu Land is a mid-size grocer that is part of the Spartan Stores brand, which include D&W, VG’s Grocery and Family Fare Supermarkets. Six Valu Land stores operate in Michigan, according to the company website. There is already one store in Lansing Township at 3800 W. Saginaw St. — the former site of an L&L.

At the ribbon cutting, city officials praised Singer for working closely with neighbors after L&L closed two years ago and went into receivership. 

“Rumors” is all Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero had heard regarding Valu Land. He said there is definitely a demand for a “mid-level” grocer in the area because Meijer and Kroger are not particularly close to the neighborhood. 

Although she didn’t know what the plans were for the old L&L, Anita Beavers, former president of the Colonial Village Neighborhood Association, said Singer is expected to make an announcement tonight at a neighborhood meeting. She speculated it might have something to do with the vacant L&L. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Grace United Methodist Church, 1900 Boston Blvd.

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