2015 Michigan Idea Exchange & Alliance Conference speaker

Jim Stokas kicks off ‘Retail Runway’

Last week the area’s top players in commercial real estate came together for education, industry updates, and some fun. The 2015 Michigan Idea Exchange & Alliance Conference, held at Suburban Showplace in Novi, had over 600 attendees – a fantastic venue and an amazing turnout!

The real estate market is changing so fast that if you don’t stay on top of new retail development you’ll be eating the dust leftover from all the new construction. Last year’s economy still seemed too risky for retailers that wanted to expand, but those that rolled the dice hit the jackpot.

2015 Michigan Idea Exchange & Alliance Conference guests

Todd Burton shares news from True Value

Average asking rent in the Detroit Metro area is $12.72 per square foot, which is 1.4% higher than they were at this time last year. Demand is high and inventory is low – talk about an expensive combination for those that missed the boat on 2013-2014’s killer deals. But the conference provides an opportunity for us commercial realtors to find new tenants for our properties, and new properties for our clients. We get in at the ground level. Literally. We score spaces for our clients long before developers even break ground at the site.

New retail development projects that are currently in the works are slated as far out as Fall of 2017 for delivery. Get ready Bloomfield Township, because an 87-acre mixed use development is coming your way. The ‘Village at Bloomfield’ located on Telegraph between Orchard Lake Rd. and Square Lake Rd. will replace the monstrosity of an incomplete project that was vacated nearly 7 years ago.  We are looking forward to watching the progress as the planned grocer, theater, hotel, office, retail, and residential components take shape. You can read more about it here: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20150617/NEWS/150619858/redico-takes-control-of-failed-bloomfield-park-site.

The former women’s prison in Northville is definitely the most unique development site in the works. The 50-acre mixed use project is quite a bit smaller than the Bloomfield Township project, but there will also be a change of scenery across the street with the developing Northville Technology Park. Chesterfield Township will also be seeing big changes in 2017. A 1,000,000 square foot outlet center is planned at I-94 and Hall Rd. ‘The Crossway’ will have 50-70 stores, along with restaurants and possibly a movie theater.

Even though replacing a corn field isn’t nearly as cool as replacing a prison, an outlet mall scheduled to open in the Fall of 2016 in that area has everyone wondering, “What took so long?!” Located directly across the freeway from the Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, the 365,000 square foot center will house Nike, Gap, Old Navy, Under Armour, and Express, just to name a few. Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) sees over 32 million passengers every year. All signs point to SLAM DUNK.

One of the partners in this retail development project was slated to open the outlet mall in Canton Township, but instead moved their interest to the ‘Outlets of Michigan’ project in Romulus. Our guess is that the residents who live along the Ford Rd. corridor in Westland and Canton are relieved. Many people were concerned that the already congested area would become impossible to navigate. Check out more information about the outlet at http://nedevelopment.com/projects/outlets-michigan.

Although we may be waiting a few years on some large-scale developments, many others in Metro Detroit will be open by the end of the year. Troy, Warren, Sterling Heights, Woodhaven, Monroe, Ferndale, Allen Park, Clarkston, Belleville, Brighton, Farmington, and Ann Arbor will all see new centers with a variety of retailers. And by ‘variety’ we really mean “We hope you like pizza!” Can you really ever have enough options for pizza? New joints breaking into the market include 1000 Degrees Pizza, Blaze Pizza, MOD Pizza, Pie Five, Pieology Pizzeria, & Project Pie. We can taste a pizza face-off in our near future, how about you?

Stokas Bieri booth with client materials for ICSC conference

SBRE booth

It’s certainly an exciting time for commercial real estate. We’re looking forward to not only scouting the best locations for our tenants, but also researching which retailers we can help break into the Michigan market. We have already helped many of the clients you see in the photo to the left, but we’d love to help more great retailers find the perfect spot in our fair state.


What new retail development are you eager to see open? Are there any retailers you would love to see in Michigan? Let us know in the comments below.