M-32 West drawing lots of interest

ALPENA -As contractors work feverishly to get a large part of the construction of the new Meijer in complete, future development plans and ideas continue to simmer behind the scenes.

The new Meijer superstore is scheduled to be complete and in 2015, barring any setbacks, according to Alpena Township Marie Twite, will likely will spur announcements for other businesses, including big box stores that want to ride the momentum on M-32 West created by Meijer.

“I think Meijer is the first domino to fall and then we are going to see restaurants and other types of business spring up,” Twite said. “There is a combination of different types of businesses and restaurants, but nothing I can name at this time. We are having people coming to Alpena and looking all the time interested in developing.”

Twite said she hears the rumors circulating around Alpena, speculating what type of store or restaurant could be coming to Alpena and where it will be. She said although she is privy to some of the discussions and interest it is important not to reveal vital information and have the potential developer walk away from the project.

Twite said there are vacant properties ready to be purchased and developed. She said there also are properties that have small businesses that have been contacted by potential buyers and new development could take place in the future. There is also the Alpena Public School bus garage, which eats up a significant amount of real estate on the side of M-32, that could be a prime target for larger development opportunities.

“There are some empty lots on the southern side of M-32, and at least one is sold and the developer is waiting to develop until Meijer gets done and then they will come in,” Twite said. “I think if companies come in with the right price people are going to start selling their property and some of the businesses that are there will move to new locations.

“There are some homes and other businesses further down M-32 that may be interested in selling once more development takes place. You might see some of those small businesses that might relocate. I’m sure if they get offered enough money they would be willing to move somewhere else. The makeup of our community is changing.”

The potential construction of Potter Hill Road, which would run from Bagley Street, behind Walmart and the Home Depot and to M-32 via Crittenden Court. Twite said plans are slowly moving forward to make the road a reality and once it is built it will provide potential developers even more prime locations and easier access for customers to get to their businesses.

“I have said all along that I think Potter Hill Road is a good project. It addresses safety concerns and help us to be proactive for development that could take place years from now,” Twite said. “It is a good idea to have a plan in pace to have roadways planned before the stores go up.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.