NORTHFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI-Developers here planning multi-million-dollar office and retail projects along the heavily traveled US 23 corridor don’t want to wait for the state to complete a traffic study. Golden Mile LLC of Plymouth, Meijer Inc. of Grand Rapids, Kirco Development of Troy and Carnegie Management and Development of Cleveland all want to build projects at an interchange of US 23 and North Territorial Road.

The companies have hired Midwestern Consulting of Ann Arbor for almost $400,000 to complete an environmental study to expand the interchange.

Jerry Sosnowski, project manager for the consulting firm, tells government isn’t responding quick enough to the desires of the developers.

“Typically what happens is that if an area has grown, and an interchange is needed to handle the overcapacity, then the section of highway gets added to a list by the Michigan Department of Transportation,” Sosnowski says. However, it could take 15 to 20 years for the state to get to the Northfield US 23 quadrant, Sosnowski adds.

“The state’s highway projects are funded by the federal government, which has already announced that contributions will be significantly lower than in the past because of the problems with the economy. This year the state will be getting $400 million less,” Sosnowski says.

So the developers got together and paid for the new study that would begin the process to make the interchange.

Sosnowski says the township plans on financing the interchange through its Downtown Development Authority. The DDA section includes the US-23 quadrant in question.

The consultant says the interchange could be expanded by 2004, if all approvals are earned.

Among the proposed projects:

* Carnegie wants to build a strip mall on 75 acres.

* Kirco is negotiating to buy 55 acres on the northeast corner to build a 450,000-sf retail project, with additional office space.

* “Meijer wants to build one of its retail stores, of course,” Sosnowskiadds.

* Golden Mile’s plans to follow through with its property’s zoning for research/technology and manufacturing. Sosnowski says the company would follow the zoning on 60 acres.

Also, another developer wants to rezone more than 35 acres nearby for commercial use, the consultant says.

“All of this development is being supported by the township as part of the commercial district that is part of the community’s 20-year master plan,” Sosnowski says.

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