Growing Businesses

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Business continues to be big in 2018

If you need any indication that the Birmingham Bloomfield area is still desirable to businesses, look no further than Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace.

With anticipation rivaling a royal wedding, the gourmet grocery retailer will open its fourth location this fall on Telegraph Road, just south of Maple, in Bloomfield Township. Nino Salvaggio has three other stores in St. Clair Shores, Troy and Clinton Township.

The store is probably the most eagerly anticipated new business in the area, said Greg Kowalski, Bloomfield Township director of community relations. “People love that store.”

Even with the excitement that the Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace brings, it is not the only exciting thing happening in the business scene in the area.

There is, after all, the development of the property once known as Bloomfield Park. The property was first proposed in 2001 to be a $2 billion development on a 90-acre site on Telegraph Road, Kowalski said. It would have included 1,500 condominiums, parking structures and 100 retail shops. Almost as soon as it was proposed, a portion of the property was annexed to become part of Pontiac. A series of setbacks, the recession of 2008, and financial and legal issues halted any development on the property.

“A couple of parking structures were built,” Kowalski said, “but construction was halted and no one knew what would happen to the property as it look vacant and abandoned. The whole plan fell apart.”

Enter REDICO (Real Estate Development and Investment Company), a development company in Southfield. REDICO revived the plan and renamed it the Village at Bloomfield. The development, which started construction in 2017, will be mixed use with retail, office and restaurant space, as well as multifamily/residential housing. The project is set to be completed in 2019. Significantly, the new plans call for an Aldi and a Henry Ford Medical Center on the site.

Kowalski sees the development of the Village at Bloomfield project as part of a larger trend of continued business and economic growth in Bloomfield Township.

“Bloomfield Township continues to be an attractive site for businesses to locate,” Kowalski said. “Most businesses are concentrated along Telegraph and Woodward and at key intersections, like Maple, Square Lake and others.”

Bloomfield Township isn’t the only community seeing strong business activity. Neighboring towns like Bloomfield Hills have been enjoying a healthy year for business as well.

“Both commercial and residential construction is booming,” said Bloomfield Hills City Manager David Hendrickson. “From the commercial side there have been many new office developments and improvements, and most recently the old Kingsley Inn property is being completely renovated and will open in the spring of 2019 as a Double Tree by Hilton. The renovation is exceptional and will be a great destination for the city.”

These upward trends in area business mirrors Oakland County’s economic health, which has seen eight consecutive years of job growth. According to the county’s economic forecasters, although Oakland County saw greater employment loss during the recession than in Michigan overall, it is expected to rebound faster as well. The county as a whole is expected to add 42,000 additional jobs in the next two years.

Over in Birmingham, the business scene continues to be robust this year. City Manager Joseph Valentine credits much of the business scene’s success to the downtown area and the work of the city’s principal shopping district, known as the Birmingham Shopping District, which serves as a conduit to downtown businesses.

Birmingham Shopping District Executive Director Ingrid Tighe expects the success of the business scene to continue. “With an office occupancy rate of 89 percent and a retail occupancy rate of 96 percent, the Birmingham Shopping District anticipates that downtown will continue to thrive,” she said.

Valentine agrees, seeing the local trend follow national trends when it comes to business.

“Birmingham’s business scene continues to evolve and grow and we’re now beginning to see stores leave the malls and relocate into our downtown,” he said. “Historically, the opposite would be true, but as the dynamics of retail business continue to change downtowns are becoming the more attractive option. This is a national trend that seems to acknowledge the attractiveness for a downtown experience.”