By BETH ALTENA
It was Master Zoned in the 1990s. The first developer began planning in 2004. The Ric’s Food Center went up in 2008, and a 40 acre residential and commercial development at Belding Road and Myers Lake Road has been sitting vacant the past 11 years. Now another developer is planning to start construction and is confident the homes will sell and commercial development along Belding Road will eventually follow.
The Cannon Township Board unanimously approved a minor PUD amendment during their regular meeting and public hearing Monday, March 12, clearing the way for Pendulum Group to begin construction on the property at 6655 Belding Road known as Town Square.
The 38 acre property will be built to 109 total sites with three different types of home, townhomes, single family homes and ally loaded villas. The price points will range from $190,000 to $300,000. The developers are in compliance with all the township’s requirements for the property, such as gabled roofs on all structures.
The PUD amendment was to remove a requirement to construct the commercial buildings before starting the building and sale of the residential portion of the development. Although the Ric’s Food Store has been successful despite the lack of movement on the residential properties, the current developer feels commercial sales will be greatly improved with the residential portion sold and filled with potential customers.
Pendulum Real Estate purchased the property in 2013 from a REO auction while the property was bank owned after the first developer went bankrupt. In 2013, Pendulum sought concessions to change two existing developments in the township with the agreement that they would develop the Town Square first. Since years have elapsed since those agreements were made, those concession (adding additional lots to Hidden Canyon and Settlers Grove developments) are now off the table.
Partner of the developer David Schermer represented the developers during the township meeting, which opened and closed a public hearing in less than a minute as no members of the public wished to comment on the project.
In 2006 The Squire reported on the pending development when Tol Group purchased the property with plans to build a walking friendly development and heavily invested in infrastructure, such as the septic system for the future homes. They brought in the Ric’s Food Store business, which was enthusiastic about the location and prospects for the Michigan family grocery store business.
The then public relations and marketing director for Tol Group told The Squire that they anticipated spending $44 million dollars for 85 residential lots, 41 town homes and 100,000 of retail space.
“It’s a rural area with not a lot of commercial development to compete with the new Town Square,” said Julie Shaw. “School districts in the area are desirable and we feel the development as a whole will benefit the community.”
Tol Group had been working with the township since 2004 on the project, and the type of development for the property had been identified as a village type plan since 1993. Christine James, zoning administrator for the township in 2006, said, “Then we wrote an ordinance to create a village. Ever since we’ve been waiting for the right developer to come along.”
The lead story in the first issue of The Squire in 2008 was the construction of the Ric’s Food Store, gearing up for a slated Grand Opening on February 1, 2008. The planned mix use community would feature the Ric’s Food Store, a variety of shops and offices, townhomes and single family homes for a traditional neighborhood, walkable community with the feel of an old fashioned village. The development was designed for minimal environmental impact without wasted space. A Central Park style greenspace is a highlight of the design.
Early steps to develop the property concerned neighbors with the mountains of soil on the acreage, necessary in the creation of the underground retention ponds, two of the larges in the state. 55,000 yards of soil were shipped off site and another 95,000 yards were moved to create the building sites.
Tol Group also invested $150,000 making required changes widening Belding Road and $110,000 on Myers Lake Road. The hard work and high pricetag did not deter the developer then, who told The Squire, “It’s exciting. You work on something like this building project for so long and you think it’s never going to happen. When it does, it’s a nice surprise.”
In that first week of 2008, Tol Group, The Squire, and all of America had no idea a crushing home pricing crash and a years long recession was about to happen. Tol Group built two sample townhomes which sat empty as the project finances failed to materialize and the property became bank owned.
In 2013, when Pendulum purchased the property, the country and Cannon Township were recovering from the recession and two developments in the township were projects of Pendulum. Today, the industry is much improved and development projects can be seen going up throughout the area.
Pendulum partnered with Eastbrook Homes as builder of the Village and plans to start construction of Phase I, the east side of the property near the Ric’s Food Center. They believe the development will appeal to millennials and “right sizing” baby boomers. Showcase homes should be completed by the fall of this year and those interested can find out more by calling the Pendulum Real Estate Team at 616 608 4201.
“We are excited as we have a vision for the community and now the market is ready, we have received approval and have teamed up with a premier local builder,” said Schermer. “The market has continually improved and inventory is at an all time low.”