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Design, Sign Plans for New Dollar General OK’d

Plans are moving forward for a new Dollar General store in the space vacated by CVS Pharmacy on Detroit Avenue.

with the new tenant, but Dollar General’s design plans were approved for the Detroit Avenue building that .

The city’s architectural board of review gave the go-ahead for the proposal after requesting a few changes at last month’s meeting.

William Trahan, the building contractor for Dollar General, said the among the upgrades are a new façade, new front and rear doors, a new parking lot, tuck pointing and new lighting.

“I am going to present two pictures, and you get to select A or B,” he told the board.

Board chairman Michael Molinski responded “what if I like C?”

The board ultimately agreed on a plan — with conditional approval on exterior issues such as paneling and materials.

The proposal for the store’s sign — also a point of contention — was also approved. The sign on Detroit Avenue will be white (not yellow like typical Dollar General stores), and the sign at the rear will not be illuminated.

Ian Andrews, the executive director of , said among his economic development organization’s functions is to “revitalize the downtown-shopping district.”

He said he’s “pleased to hear” that the building will get a makeover, but said he was “unimpressed” with parts of the plan. 

“This isn’t the kind of development (we’d like to see downtown), but we understand that that point is moot,” said Andrews. “This is a private transaction.”

Tom Bullock, the Ward 2 city councilman, said after the meeting that the board’s decision was “mystifying.”

“I don’t see too many changes from what they originally proposed,” he said. “I, like many residents, have been heartened by the development downtown … Our job as city leaders is to protect the investments that are already in place.”

“I have concerns with this plan. We’re putting ourselves on a footing where we’re not conforming to the highest standards.”

Bruce Schultz, who recently bought the plaza, attended the meeting and noted that he plans to “make several improvements” to the property.

“We’re in this for the long-term investment,” he said.

“We’re excited about coming to Lakewood,” he added following the meeting. “We’re hopeful that Lakewood is excited to have us. We’re excited to have a tenant like Dollar General. They’re a great tenant and a great retailer.”

ian king July 13, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Odd that this generic, inexpensive, unimpressive signage and facade gets approval, while the new, ground up Drug Mart at Grace and Detroit - at least a building with far more attractive exterior/facade and signage - gets shot down and sent packing. Not sure what are the priorities/standards of new development/new business in Lakewood these days?
Melinda Schwab July 13, 2012 at 01:56 PM
A nice awning or covered sidewalk would really make it shine up like a new penny though, you think? I hope it is a consideration... it wouls "tone down" the generic appearance a bit...
Judith Szentkiralyi July 13, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I think that the photo above is just a stock photo of another Dollar General and the one coming to Lakewood will be slightly different... the article says that the front sign will not be yellow (like they usually are), but white instead and the rear sign will not be illuminated. It would have been nice though to see some drawings or plans like they have shown for other projects in Lkwd.
Joe Hildebrandt July 13, 2012 at 06:31 PM
wont get my business... so disappointed in the property owner not to work with the city on a better tenant for downtown. We already have two dollar stores in lakewood... no reason for a third
xv July 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Ian again you demonstrate your lack of knowledge. Drug Mart did not get approval form the the Planning commission, and not the ARB. They are are two different approval boards.
MrTwotimes July 13, 2012 at 08:36 PM
If you weren't complaining when the crappy CVS was there, why would you be griping now when the samre building is used and improvements will be made?
Real Guy July 13, 2012 at 08:50 PM
While I agree that the location is prime and should be used for something a little more aesthetically pleasing than a Dollar General, I think that it is merely a reflection of the times. Dollar stores are mainstream because of the consumer choices and the economic situation. I wish it wasn't that way, but it is.
ian king July 13, 2012 at 10:52 PM
or is it a reality of the decline of Lakewood?
ian king July 13, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Hi Peter, I can see the Drug Mart development continues to be a very sensitive subject for you! My comment is not so much about which board gets approval or not - I think most citizens of Lakewood could really care less about that - but more about aesthetic choices that get approval to proceed in the city. Do you really think this signage/building is more aesthetically pleasing than the plans Drug Mart presented recently for their new building in what remains an empty, decaying, blighted Ganley lot at Grace and Detroit?
ian king July 13, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I think this is a very good point. Also, while everyone is commenting positively about the exterior changes to the Drug Mart Plaza on West Detroit, does anyone know if they are going to do anything to the interiors - like a badly needed updating? When Marc's expanded into the JoAnn Fabrics space, they pretty much kept the same old floors, lighting, etc. in Marc's. A disappointment for sure!
ian king July 13, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Great suggestions! In fact, wouldn't it be nice if downtown Lakewood could promote/encourage a more visual thread through the use of hanging baskets of flowers in front of the businesses, or more benches, trees, etc. Many cities have utilized these relatively inexpensive visuals to help create a more unified sense of space to their downtowns. They reinforce a uniqueness to the streetscape while also being nice to look at too! A minor tax incentive is given to businesses is sometimes provided or a volunteer group offers the plantings/baskets to the city on a seasonal basis. Although the new signage/lights/lamp posts are helping a lot to update/unify the streetscape of Lakewood, downtown Lakewood is still is lacking a more welcoming and person touch that would invite people to walk, stroll downtown as a destination. The new signage is great for the car driver, now lets encourage downtown to be more pedestrian/stroller/cafe friendly!
Phyllis Vanderlin July 14, 2012 at 08:33 PM
grow up people...age is not a thing of the past...step up and enjoy what you have...I would love a good seafood restraunt like we once had...lol
Missy Limkemann July 15, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Dollar General is NOT a dollar store (where everything is only a dollar).
Mark Buckley July 19, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Mr. King, Just a point of fact, Peter is correct it was the Planning Commision not the ARB who stopped DM 's encroachment onto Grace. and I couldn't help noticing that you started this thread with a Drug Mart reference . So who's still sensitive about the subject/
ian king July 19, 2012 at 03:19 AM
HI Mark = thanks for noticing my comment about comparision of the Drug Mart fiasco and the Dollar General development plans. It just seems odd to a lot of Lakewood residents who don't live on Grace Ave/area why there is such strong opposition to a brand new building Drug Mart that is certainly not unattractive and adds great streetscape value, to the rundown and clearly seen better days former CVS storefront on Detroit. Just wondering where all the "sensitive" voices are that protested new development in Lakewood - that is really just another NIMBY approach to urban planning disguised within city code violations - regarding the proposed Dollar General whose storefront leave a lot to be desired. And whose mini-block of Subway, etc. has clearly seen better days. Mark, why not also protest these relatively eyesore also?
Mark Buckley July 19, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Ian, Are you the spokeperson for " the lot of Lakewood residents that don't live on Grace"? I'm assuming that you are purposely ignoring the reason why Drug Mart's encroachment onto Grace was oppposed since it's been stated numerous times in various Patch discussions. Finally you're really over playing the " sensitive voices" bit. Not to mention the knee-jerk NIMBY standby. Have a great day.
ian king July 19, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Hi Mark, Unfortunately actions speak loader than words! If a poll were taken of Lakewood residents, those of us who do not live on Detroit/Grace area would certainly approve a new Drug Mart and would think the city officials would encourage more business in population declining Lakewood than scare it away! I guess I will just have to send my ever increasing tax bill to you Mark, since you seem to support no business development in Lakewood, and yes, not in your back yard! Again, the facts speak for themselves - another business leaves Lakewood for another suburb. Sad in these really difficult economic times, and when the city will soon be asking us all to pay more in taxes!

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