The proposed Cannon Town Square development on which Ric’s Food Center sits-and not much else-is in the process of foreclosure. Independent Bank will likely become the owner of the property, and is asking Cannon Township to reduce the amount of the bank line of credit against infrastructure requirements.
According to Supervisor Pete MacGregor, the development will “plug and play” for anyone in a position to start building on the site. The infrastructure-roads, sewer, curbs, etc.,-are complete, with the exception of rain gardens.
“Everyone loves Ric’s,” MacGregor said. “This board very much wants Ric’s to be successful. When they went in, they expected a whole community to be built around them and those would be their customers. That didn’t happen. They are an island.”
MacGregor said the Planned Unit Development at the northwest intersection of Myers Lake Road and Belding Road is slated for 85 single homes, town homes, retail and office. A bank, cafe and restaurant were already approved and one of those businesses could build tomorrow.
The proposed development was also slated to boast a clubhouse and park. As it stands, anyone who purchases the development would have to adhere to the conditions of the original PUD. “They can come back and ask for changes,” MacGregor said.
The Town Square was designed to be a walkable, neighbor-friendly community. Original developers, Tol Companies Incorporated, planned to have a mix of residential and commercial-a mini-town where residents could virtually do all their shopping without driving their cars.
Robert Tol said in December of 2007 that he believed the public was ready for the project, based on the principals of New Urbanism. That concept features walkability, connectivity mixed-use diversity and the theory that people enjoy a pedestrian-friendly design.
The project was pushed back by years with changes and negotiation with the township. By the time they were able to build and sell residential and commercial spaces, the economy had tanked.
Now the 40-acre center is undeveloped except for the Ric’s Food Center. MacGregor hopes that won’t be the case in the long-term.
“I’d love a developer to drive by and say, ‘Wow! This is an opportunity,’ “ he said. “I want this to be a beautiful, vivacious, thriving corner. I want it done and done right.”