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DEARBORN, MI-Scrape it and start again. Maybe not a corporate motto, but a business model that one key local real estate developer and owner sees some success in.

Robert Schostak, the third generation of his family to lead Schostak Brothers & Company, says with brownfield tax credits and other incentives in certain areas of Detroit and its inner ring suburbs, creative re-use of property makes sense.

“You may have a building that is obsolete for the purpose it was designed for, the demographics around the property may have changed,” says Schostak, co-president and CEO of the family firm. “With brownfield or other incentives, you can scrape the site, build new and start over. You might be surprised at the marketability of what you know have.”

Schostak is working on a project along those lines in Livonia. The company is in the process of “de-leasing” the Wonderland Mall it purchased a couple years ago and creating a series of “village shoppes” in several retail pods on the property, while maintaining Target and a couple of other anchors in detached buildings.

Demolition on the project is to start in late summer or early fall, Schostak tells GlobeSt.com. So far, about 40 retailers are lined up to locate in the Village Shoppes, with stores in the 1,500 sf to 3,500 sf range. Schostak says the project is on schedule and expected for completion in late 2005 or early 2006.

“People are looking for alternatives, a fresh retail environment. There is still a market for your destination malls, but your plain vanilla mall is not as attractive as it once was,” Schostak says.

In Detroit, Schostak says his firm still has about 30,000 sf left to rent in its planned Lofts on Woodward project, two city blocks with retail on the ground floor and lofts up above.

“We’ve got a couple of restaurants lined up for that, a few local retailers,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “We’re anxious for that project to join the mix on Woodward.”

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