Older, dilapidated and vacant structures in St. Clair Shores have had a date with the wrecking ball in recent months.
And city officials, who now have development-ready properties, are working to find investors to bring new businesses in the city.
"People who build restaurants, build retail, condos and hotels for a living are proactively receiving visits from Mr. (Christopher) Rayes (Community Services Director) and I," said Ben Hughes, St. Clair Shores city manager, at a recent city Council meeting. "They did in 2011, and they will even more in 2012."
The update followed a question by Mayor Kip Walby during Monday's meeting regarding construction projects throughout the city.
Rayes and Hughes shared the status on projects including:
- The former Ponderosa restaurant on Harper, south of 13 Mile Road, will be an Auto Zone. Rayes said there were issues regarding shutting off the utilities which should be resolved shortly.
- The former Family Treat on Jefferson, south of Nine Mile, was razed during the last week of 2011 following an anti-blight court case. The debris was removed and crews were leveling the property Thursday.
- The state and Charter One Bank are working out brownfield issues with the property at 11 Mile and Harper prior to the construction of a Biggby Coffee shop. Rayes was hopeful construction could begin in April.
- The city will work with the owner of the future Butter Run Saloon on the southeast corner of 11 Mile and Harper to remove the fence as construction continues on the interior of the building. "They had some setbacks with the project and it is taking a little longer than (the owner) anticipated," Rayes said
- The city reached out to the receiver for the former Manzella Fruit Market and several developers to find businesses to occupy the building. Additionally the city is working to market the property where the former Shore Crest Lanes was located on Harper.
"We are still in that iffy kind of mode in the economy," said Rayes, who added the city is even "doing more than we are asked to do" to attract businesses.
"It is taking everybody a little longer to get things done than they would like, but we are involved," he added.
Additional projects include construction of a dental office in the former Magic Touch salon building, a second Tim Horton's locating in the city, expansion of Charlie's Restaurant and the possible expansion of Pegasus restaurant. Those are good signs for St. Clair Shores, Hughes said.
"This is not a city on the downswing," Hughes said. "This is a city that people who don't even live here are investing. We want to build on that momentum for 2012."