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STERLING HEIGHTS, MI-Don’t tell contractor Gary Roncelli that the south end of Sterling Heights has been hit with hard times. Roncelli has joined forced with Macomb County new home developer Guy Rizzo to build one of the most aggressive entertainment-commercial ventures the county has ever seen. Market Place Center is located in the southern end of Sterling Heights.

The business partners are already building a 20-screen movie theater that will seat 4,200. The movie theater and parking lot are on 82,000 sf of land on the northeast corner of 15 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue. The new complex will replace the Showcase Cinema, which Roncelli built 30 years ago. Demolition started on Wednesday and will be completed in one week.

Hank Riberas, chief spokesman for Roncelli Construction, said his office has received several requests from former customers who want a piece of the memorabilia. He said customers want seats, candy counters, drinking fountains and more. The new theater will have stadium seating and locking chairs. Mike Mihalich of Oak owns the theaterPark. Mihalich also owns eight theaters in the Detroit suburbs.

Adjacent to the movie theater the developers are constructing condominiums and more stores. The nearby Target store also has plans of expanding toward the west. “The south end of Sterling Heights is alive and well,” says Riberas. “Gary and Guy are pretty shrewdbusinessmen and they believe this property has tremendous potential.” Riberas says Roncelli bought 60 acres on the south side and another 37 acres northeast of and including the Target store and Ruby Tuesday restaurant two years ago.

“Eight months ago we bought the south 25 acres,” says Riberas. “It was logical to complete the transactions.” Riberas says the new center will have a 200,000sf of retail space facing 15 Mile Road. Riberas said Roncelli just leased 37,000 sf of the old F&M store to an Inside Out Home Recreation Outfitters.

Also standing is the Baha Fresh, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant owned by former Detroit Lion Mike Lucci, which is next to Bellacino’s Pizza and Grinders, Coldstone Creamery and Achatz Handmade Pies of Armada.

A Country Inn restaurant, owned by Joe Vicari Andiamo is the anchor for the location just east of Van Dyke. Other stores already in are the Cellular One dealer, Bo Rics haircuts and H&R Block. General Nutrition Centers will soon open. Condos in the $140,000 to $200,000 range will also be built in the area. Roncelli hopes to construct up to 70 condos. Riberas says he isn’t sure if condos or more retail will be built east of the threater. “The area has mixed-use, from multifamily to retail shopping to dining,” says Riberas.

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