WARREN, MI-General Motors Corp. is accepting design proposals for a mixed-use retailand residential Downtown area across from its vast Warren Tech Center complex. The company owns the 312-acre parcel and plans on partnering with a developer, or selling the land outright, to create a destination area for the city.

Warren does not have an established downtown, and this area would correct that, says GM spokesman Gerry Holmes.

“We’re looking for upscale type shops and fine eateries. It should be a quality development, where people would want to live and walk to it,” says Holmes says, adding he was unable to reveal a projected development cost at this time.

The land is directly across Mound Road from the Tech Center, which is undergoing a $1-billion renovation.

The automaker had originally planned to work with the city to create a similar development, with 100 acres of the property set to become a city park. However, Holmes says that plan died.

“The city had an option on the property, but never exercised it, so GM rescinded the development offer,” Holmes says.

The current plan includes mixed housing types with retail, with the possibility of a recreational use, most likely a golf course, thrown in, Holmes says.

The company hired Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh, he says, to come up with recommendations for the best use of the land, and what would be economically feasible.

A deadline for proposals has been set for Dec. 5, Holmes says. After that, the city and GM will examine the proposals and go from there.

“We’ll see what kind of preliminary plans come in,” he explains. “If there’s a one or a couple we like, we’ll stay small, but if there’s many we’ll have to cull the number down through a semi-finals sort of thing.”

The land became well-known about this time last year after GM announced it would move a herd of 150 deer off the property. Animal rights groups protested the relocation.

“We moved them off last November to a private deer farm up north, to an undisclosed location for their protection,” Holmes reports.

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