Oleson’s Plaza East includes multiple retail units

TRAVERSE CITY – Third time was the charm for Oleson’s and East Bay Township.

Within days of getting the green light for Oleson’s Plaza East at the corner of Hammond and Three Mile Road, construction began in earnest. When the East Bay Township board voted 6-1 on Sept. 12 to approve a compromise plan, Oleson’s got the ball rolling to meet the targeted spring opening.

The proposed grocery store and other retail buildings will be situated on the southeast corner of a busy intersection near four area schools and Centre ICE plus a variety of housing and commercial developments. The intersection is also along high-volume commuter routes to and from East Bay Township residential communities.

With two plans already rejected by the township board this year, Oleson’s and the township planning commission hammered out one that aligned with the township’s village center vision. The compromise plan deleted one retail site and separated some of the retail buildings from the Oleson’s store. Outdoor seating and enhanced walkways are also included.

“It’s close to what we were looking for,” noted Mike Nickels, East Bay Township planning commission chair, of the final plan. “Because of PUD [Planned Unit Development,] the planning commission can work with the developers and make minor changes. It’s a back and forth process.”

The almost nine-acre parcel in question had been designated a Planned Unit Development zoning district about five years ago when the township updated its master plan. Officials tied this plan into a zoning ordinance that had previously been redone. Oleson’s and other businesses on the parcel will be an anchor for future development in the village center.

The family-owned Oleson’s targeted the eastern townships adjacent to Traverse City as ripe for expansion based on demographics and growth patterns in the region. The 89-year-old business has two other stores in Traverse City, plus ones in Charlevoix, Petoskey and Manistee.

“The East Bay side of town is a high-growth area with an awful large traffic count on both Three Mile and Hammond and it made sense a few years ago to purchase the property,” said Jack Smith, director of real estate and development for Oleson’s. “Therefore, we started planning with East Bay Township last July 27 and got approval September 12 and immediately started progress on construction.”

In addition to the supermarket, the planned Oleson’s Plaza East will include two parcels that will be sold for development, with the potential for businesses such as a restaurant or bank.

Two other buildings will feature multiple retail units of approximately 2,000 square feet each.

The food store will be just over 47,000 square feet and will include an eat-in deli, pharmacy and other amenities.

Oleson’s Plaza East will be 6,000 square feet larger than the Oleson’s Plaza West, which was built in 1999 at the corner of North Long Lake and Cedar Run Roads in Garfield Township.

Patrons will be able to access Oleson’s and the other businesses on the site from both Three Mile and Hammond roads. BN