New Adrian Mall proposal includes housing, self-storage, retail and dining

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The main entrance to the Adrian Mall is pictured Saturday. Last week, the Adrian Planning Commission heard a presentation on a concept of development at the mall consisting of multifamily residential housing, anchor business tenants that can draw customers back to the mall, various options for retail and dining establishments, a church and self-storage.
The main entrance to the Adrian Mall is pictured Saturday. Last week, the Adrian Planning Commission heard a presentation on a concept of development at the mall consisting of multifamily residential housing, anchor business tenants that can draw customers back to the mall, various options for retail and dining establishments, a church and self-storage.

ADRIAN — Another concept for redesigning the Adrian Mall is in the works.

The Adrian Planning Commission was briefed last week by Daniel Garno and members of the Adrian Development Group, along with mall ownership, on the planned unit development (PUD) for the mall. The plan proposes to redesign the mall into a mixed-use facility with multifamily residential housing, anchor business tenants that can draw customers back to the mall, various options for retail and dining establishments, a church and self-storage.

The commission did not vote on the proposal as the item was on its meeting agenda for discussion and a pre-application presentation. The concept for the mall was the first time the commissioners had been able to see the plans in a public meeting. Despite not voting on its specifics, some commissioners expressed their positivity toward the proposal.

This rendering shows one of two proposed site plans for the Adrian Mall, which were presented last week to the Adrian Planning Commission by the Adrian Development Group, along with mall ownership. The proposal includes multifamily residential housing anchor business tenants, retail and dining options, a church and self-storage.
This rendering shows one of two proposed site plans for the Adrian Mall, which were presented last week to the Adrian Planning Commission by the Adrian Development Group, along with mall ownership. The proposal includes multifamily residential housing anchor business tenants, retail and dining options, a church and self-storage.

“I’m very enthused about the concept you are showing here,” planning commission chair Mike Jacobitz said. “For me to get on board with this, there would have to be some assurance of completion or some progress.”

Adrian Mayor Angie Sword Heath was in attendance at the meeting and spoke briefly during public comment, noting her enthusiasm toward the proposal.

This rendering shows one of two proposed site plans for the Adrian Mall, which were presented last week to the Adrian Planning Commission by the Adrian Development Group, along with mall ownership. The proposal includes multifamily residential housing anchor business tenants, retail and dining options, a church and self-storage.
This rendering shows one of two proposed site plans for the Adrian Mall, which were presented last week to the Adrian Planning Commission by the Adrian Development Group, along with mall ownership. The proposal includes multifamily residential housing anchor business tenants, retail and dining options, a church and self-storage.

“I’m very excited to see something more versatile and thinking outside of the box, which this group is doing,” she said. “Just to see retail, a church, self-storage and housing, just all of those mixed uses, and using those out-lots and getting rid of a huge parking lot and having more greenery; it’s very, very exciting.”

If the project is granted support from the planning commission, it would then move to the Adrian City Commission, which also would consider it. If approved by the city commission, the project would be a go.

Garno, a longtime Adrian and Lenawee County resident who is a 30-year Michigan licensed general contractor, said he has completed several housing and redevelopment projects in and around the Adrian area. The mall project specifically, he said, is both personal and professional to him.

“We would like to see something good being done for Adrian,” he said. “We want to do it right.”

The Adrian Development Group, he said, is comprised of individuals in the community who are invested in the success of the city and the mall. There are already some establishments and businesses, which he did not name at the meeting, who have purchase letters of intent ready.

“We already have several pieces that are ready to get off the ground,” he said.

A major component of the project would be to demolish the portion of the mall that is currently affected the most by water damage, mold and other issues, which have resulted in the mall being condemned for almost two years now. This area would be remodeled into a boulevard between Dunham’s Sports and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. The boulevard would consist of the planting of greenery, the possibility for food and retail establishments and expanded parking.

Businesses at the Adrian Mall, include from left, Ollie's Bargain Outlet, Hobby Lobby and Buffalo Wild Wings. These businesses have been credited with keeping the condemned mall relevant, according to a presentation last week to the Adrian Planning Commission. Because of their exterior-facing signs, the businesses are able to attract customers.
Businesses at the Adrian Mall, include from left, Ollie's Bargain Outlet, Hobby Lobby and Buffalo Wild Wings. These businesses have been credited with keeping the condemned mall relevant, according to a presentation last week to the Adrian Planning Commission. Because of their exterior-facing signs, the businesses are able to attract customers.

New Life Church, which used to meet at the mall but has been meeting in Tecumseh for most of this year, has an agreement in the works with the development group and mall ownership to construct a worship and community center. According to the proposal, it would be on the side of the mall facing Winter Street in the former Elder-Beerman location.

The former JCPenney location would become a 100,000-square-foot self-storage facility, which would also accommodate a loading and unloading dock for the other mall businesses and office space for employees.

At least 200 family residential units would be constructed on the northeast corner of the current mall layout. These could potentially be low-rise apartments or possibly two to three stories tall with one or two bedrooms.

The proposal indicates the possibility for 160,000 square feet of retail and dining businesses both in and around the mall, utilizing the out-lots — those businesses that surround the mall’s permitter parking lot. The proposal shows the possibility of at least six businesses being constructed over five acres. The parking lot would also be smaller than it is now and it would be refurbished.

Something Garno and others expressed was the openness of flexibility the Adrian Development Group has regarding planned uses of the project. What they presented Tuesday is merely a blueprint, which has the ability to be changed and tweaked, if needed.

The parking lot of the Adrian Mall near the Hampton Inn and Suites and the former JCPenney location is pictured Saturday. A proposed plan would refurbish the mall into a mixed-use facility with multifamily residential housing, anchor business tenants that can draw customers back to the mall, options for retail and dining, a church and self-storage.
The parking lot of the Adrian Mall near the Hampton Inn and Suites and the former JCPenney location is pictured Saturday. A proposed plan would refurbish the mall into a mixed-use facility with multifamily residential housing, anchor business tenants that can draw customers back to the mall, options for retail and dining, a church and self-storage.

Garno also said work on the mall would be completed in phases and not all at once. The first phase of the project would be demolition of the condemned portion of the mall and then construction of the boulevard. In order to make sure all necessary work on the mall would be completed, commissioners suggested a performance completion agreement be signed by all involved parties. Jacobitz said the core of the mall — the proposed boulevard — would need to be the first thing constructed, as it would give the project some working capital.

Members of the design collaborative said there is healthy development around the Adrian Mall, citing the new Hampton Inn and Suites as well as the success of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Dunham’s Sports, Hobby Lobby and Buffalo Wild Wings. What hasn’t been working for the mall over the years, according to the presentation, has been the interior businesses. Outdoor facing retailers, however, have been more successful.

The future of the mall should be more of those exterior facing businesses, which customers can see as they make their way around Adrian and through the mall’s parking lot, according to the presentation. If the plan is ultimately approved, smart design and advertising principles would be implemented moving forward, presenters said.

There would also be the opportunity for an outdoor lifestyle area, something along the lines of casual outdoor seating and perhaps a children’s playground.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Proposal for the Adrian Mall seeks to add housing, storage and more

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