DETROIT (WWJ) The parking lot is paved and the shelves are being stocked — part of last-minute preparations ahead of the July 25th grand opening of Detroit’s Gateway Marketplace shopping center at Woodward and Eight Mile.
This project is notable for several things, including the fact it brought plans for one of the first chain grocery stores to Detroit in decades; a Whole Foods opened in Midtown to much excitement a few weeks ago.
The Gateway Marketplace will have a Meijer, a Petco, K&G and Marshall’s clothing stores and about a dozen other retailers as part of the $72 million project.
The Meijer store alone will employ 400 people on the site that was formerly fairgrounds that housed the once-annual Michigan State Fair. Robin Later, who lives nearby, said her husband is one of the 400 new hires.
“It’s not the first time they had a major shopping center in the city, they had a Kmart that used to be at 7 Mile and Meyers and it used to do pretty good, I’m sure this will probably do the same,” Later said.
A Ferndale woman, who lives just on the other side of 8 Mile, the dividing line between Detroit and the suburbs, said she’s excited to have retail so close by for the first time.
“If the traffic goes insane it’s going to be hard, I dealt with the State Fair every summer for a long time and that was a miserable time for me every time,” she said. “It’s not Meijer’s fault, it’s whatever the Department of Transportation does.”
The Meijer gas station there is already open for business ahead of the official store opening.
So what are residents most looking forward to? The Ferndale resident said she appreciates Meijer’s reputation for having the cheapest gas around — which she hopes spurs other gas station owners to lower their prices.
“I would love to be able to walk to Meijer … I would love that during the summer,” she said.