Orchard Hills

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, MI-A partnership of CBL & Associates, Robert B. Aikens & Associates LLC and BDR Inc. has announced it plans to build a 400,000-sf lifestyle center on 62 acres here at the intersection of East Beltline Avenue and Three Mile Road. The project, dubbed the Village of Orchard Hills, will be modeled after Aikens’ successful Village of Rochester Hills remake of the former indoor Meadowbrook Mall in September 2002.

The companies said the new center, going up on a former residential area, will have two main anchors, 50 more retail stores and restaurants and about 140 residential units, likely apartments or condominiums. Construction will begin in the fall, and the project is expected to open in spring 2009. CBL will hold a 50% interest in the project and co-lease the site with Aikens, which will share a 25% interest with development partner BDL.

Michael Lebovitz, chief development officer for CBL, says he cannot reveal the construction cost or the specific tenant makeup of the center. Lebovitz tells GlobeSt.com that he can say the venture is in “negotiations with a national book retailer, a well-known Asian sit-down restaurant and a number of higher-end apparel retailers.” He says the company will make tenant announcements in the middle of the summer.

However, other sources say some tenants are known, including a Barnes & Noble, a P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and a Biaggi. Spartan Stores is reportedly saying that it will debut a new grocery concept called D&W Fresh Market as one of the anchors of the Village of Orchard Hills.

Lebovitz also would not disclose the projected lease rates for the new center. According to a first-quarter Grubb & Ellis market report, the average neighborhood retail lease rate for the East Beltline corridor is $14.23 per sf. Officials at CBL say the demand is high in that area, with 135,000 households with average incomes more than $75,000, and that the area needs a downtown-type development. “It’s a great retail market, and has been underserved on retail for a number of years,” Lebovitz says.