The state recently touted the $400 million Orchard Park projectin a set of brownfield redevelopments. The property is a formerapple orchard, at Interstate 96 and Walker Ave. NW. Proposed are1.4 million sf of retail, 135,000 sf of office, 325 apartments, 114townhomes and condos, a 150-room hotel and a 160-room resort/waterpark hotel, with the possibility of employing more than 3,600people.

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It's a unique situation for Walker--this property will not,technically, be considered part of the city. Because of howbrownfield laws are written, the city could not apply for statefunds to help redevelop the property. However, the city of Wyoming,eight miles away, could apply. To gain the $39 million, Wyomingwill transfer the property and will use the funds in a TIF to fundthe infrastructure for the development. "For all intents andpurposes, it will be in the city of Walker, they'll handle all theservices. We'll get the base property tax; on an annual basis alittle over $50,000," Wyoming's city manager Curtis Holt tellsGlobeSt.com. ""We're really doing it because we want to help bringin the jobs to the area."

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Urban Retail Properties Co., based in the Chicago area, andTrademark Property Co. had announced their joint venture to buildthe project in November 2006, with about half of the projectplanned today and with an opening date of 2009. However, Trademarkhas dropped out of the project, says attorney Zachary Bossenbroek,who represents Urban for Orchard Park. Ross Glickman, CEO of Urban,did not return a phone call for this story.

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Bossenbroek tells GlobeSt.com that it's not clear if Cabela's isgoing to make good on an earlier plan to anchor the developmentwith a 125,000-sf store. The company's wares have been verypopular, as another store in Dundee, MI has been the most populartourist attraction in the state. "We can't get into too much detailabout Cabela's. Back in January, they announced a delay in openingstores, that's the latest they've publicly announced. However,there's a lot of positive things going on behind the scenes." Hesays there's a lot of interest by retailers and other tenants forthe property, but they are all waiting on an anchor announcement."Our expectation is that, if an anchor is found, we can startconstruction in 2009 on the public infrastructure, and ultimatelyon the first phase in 2011," Bossenbroek says.

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A Cabela's spokesman did not return a call for comment, and apublished future store list does not show any Michigan properties.The company had pressed hard for a new store in 2006, submittingmarketing materials to the city of Walker that promised 3.5-millionannual visitors to the store, and sales exceeding $52 million inthe first year. Wyoming's Holt tells GlobeSt.com that he thinksthere will be good news soon. "We're waiting on Cabela's to makethe final commitments," Holt says. "The discussions have beenpositive. I expect there will be an announcement by the company inthe next month or so."

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