05/17/2012 12:23 pm ET

Gateway Marketplace Breaks Ground In Detroit, Will Host Meijer And Marshalls Stores

Someone must've decided the third week of May would be good for ceremonial shoveling: Following the Whole Foods groundbreaking Monday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will join developers and officials in Detroit Thursday to throw some dirt at the site of the planned Gateway Marketplace, future home to a Meijer Superstore.

The 350,000 square foot shopping center on the southeastern corner of 8 Mile Rd. and Woodward Avenue will be anchored by the Meijer and a Marshalls clothing store. Other tenants of Gateway, set to open in spring 2013, include K&G Fashion Superstore, Dots, McDonald’s and PNC Bank.

The development, headed by Southfield-based REDICO, is expected to create 900 new jobs.

REDICO is getting some funding help for the project. The company will receive $6 million in Brownfield tax credits, is expected to get approximately $10 million in tax incentives and will also receive a $28 million construction loan from the city's General Retirement System, according to Crain's Detroit Business.

Retail development at the site has been in the works for more than five years, plagued by fits and starts. In 2008, the original developer, Chicago-based General Growth Properties, pulled out of the project, and planned anchor store J.C. Penney followed. (Fortunately, the original name, "Shoppes at Gateway Park," was scrapped before the latest plans were finalized.)

Last fall, the project drew the ire of residents and community associations who disapproved of the development's design and lack of green space, according to CBS Detroit.

Others have noted the negative impact it could have on independently-owned grocery stores, a question that also arose as upscale, natural grocery chain Whole Foods broke ground in Midtown earlier this week.

But many have shown excitement over new shopping options in the city. The Gateway Marketplace is the first plan of its kind in the city in more than 40 years and could bring back some of the $200 million Detroiters spend on groceries in the suburbs each year.

While the city is a long way from bountiful grocery retail options, there is another development in the works at the old Redford High School site on Detroit's west side. Grand Rapids-based Meijer, which has never had a Detroit store before, is supposedly interested in opening a location at that site as well.