DETROIT (WWJ) – After 8 years of planning, ground has been broken on a highly anticipated new shopping center in Detroit. The Gateway Market Place will open at 8 Mile Road and Woodward Ave., north of the old state fairgrounds.
The center will be anchored by a Meijer Supercenter, a Marshalls department store and a K&G Fashion Superstore. There will also be a McDonald’s.
It is expected to feature 350,000 square feet of retail space and will be built on 36 acres of land.
About 900 permanent retail jobs and 300 construction positions will be created.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is hailing the groundbreaking as a major accomplishment in a city where a lack of available shopping, especially for groceries, is a major problem.
“This was a dream and a vision that started several years ago,” said Bing. “And I think a lot of people who were naysayers and non- believers thought that this would never become a reality.”
“Detroit really is starting to come back. This is just one more indication of how many people wanna see our city become great again,” he said.
Also present at the groundbreaking was Gov. Rick Snyder who said the city needs such shopping centers to encourage young people to stick around. “We are creating that environment. So … I always say you can be another yuppie in Chicago or you can make a difference in Detroit,” Snyder said.
Meijer co-chair Hank Meijer, thanked the city and the project’s partners for persisting through the recession and many other stumbling blocks.
“We had a lot of stumbles — a lot of places where things might not have come together. And this team persevered and brought it together,” Meijer said.
A JC Penny had been planned at the site, but the retailer dropped out during the recession. The Meijer is expected to open in a year.
Thursday’s groundbreaking was the second this week for major retail developments in Detroit. Work has started on a Whole Foods Market in the city’s Midtown area which is scheduled to open in 2013.