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Proposed Trowbridge revamp leaves out Goodrich's

November 17, 2013

For almost 80 years, Goodrich’s Shop-Rite Inc. has had a distinct presence in East Lansing, providing a family-owned grocery shopping experience since 1936.

That run may be coming to an end.

A new development in the Trowbridge Plaza area of East Lansing could push the store out, something that has some community members and the Goodrich family concerned.

The Trowbridge Plaza project is a proposed $24 million mixed-use development update that would be located at the corner of South Harrison Road and Trowbridge Road. The project would redevelop the area next to University United Methodist Church, which currently consists of the Goodrich’s Shop-Rite store, a Wendy’s and a Subway.

Kevin McGraw, president of Caddis Development Group, LLC, told the East Lansing Planning Commission at its Wednesday meeting that the project has three anchors: a housing complex, the Wendy’s and a grocery store. The project would redevelop the plaza and includes a five story apartment complex and the redevelopment of the Wendy’s.

McGraw said he has had two offers of stores that also want to be a part of the development. He said he doesn’t want to evict Goodrich’s, but said they would have to go if they didn’t meet his terms of the development project.

“What we did is give Goodrich’s the exact same terms and said if (they) can match those terms, we would work with them instead,” McGraw said. “We also told them if they can come close to those terms we would work with them.”

Goodrich family lawyer Bruce Brown said Goodrich’s wants to be a part of the new project.

“The current status of what is being presented is very stressful to them — this community is a part of them, and they feel they are a big part of the community,” Brown said. “(The store) would like to stay (but) they are accepting, as hard as it may be, that maybe in this world that won’t work.”

Brown said the family feels pushed out of the project in some respects.

“This community is not only an entrance to MSU, it’s the community that’s there right now. Goodrich’s has been a long-standing part of that, and would like to still be a part of that. In some ways they feel pushed out of this thing,” he said.

McGraw said at the meeting that the store’s ability to modernize will be the way they can stay in the project.af

“I’ve gotten to know the (family) in the last couple of months. They are a great tenant, great people, my family shops there, but if they are the reason this project can’t be re-developed (that’s not good),” he said. “You need modernization, there are very successful entities that want to come in and revitalize the area.”af

McGraw said the grocery store will help East Lansing retain and attract young professionals.af

“The grocery store needs to be modernized, that’s what people want. Without that, we can’t redevelop the site,” he said. “If it’s it not Goodrich’s, it is going to be someone else that you guys will be very pleased with.”af

East Lansing resident Brendan Boyle spoke at the meeting and said the lack of public input has been a problem with the development.

Boyle said the public has had meetings on the development and does not think the removal of Goodrich’s would be a benefit for the community.af

“At the second meeting, we learned there would be no continuation with businesses in the current commercial strip during renovation, in effect killing Goodrich’s store,” Boyle said.af

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