A SMALL, MOSTLY upscale, two story shopping mall just across Lakeshore Boulevard from Picnic Rocks. That’s the plan being designed by a group of Chicago-based investors.
It’ll be located alongside and behind the newly opened Nestledown Bed and Breakfast.
The project manager for the shopping center, Valdy Biernacki, is meeting with Marquette planning officials late next week, and hopes to the have the project before the Planning Commission within six weeks.
“Hopes” is the key word. These projects always take longer than planned.
If and when it comes about, it’ll be a big deal. Shoppers will love it. Those who want to keep commerce away from the lake shore will likely hate it.
Biernacki expects the mall to include at least one restaurant and about 15-20 stores. The buildings currently on the site will not be torn down, according to current plans. Instead, they’ll be revamped, modernized, and connected.
If Biernacki’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he and his Chicago-based partners are the same group trying to build the UP the Sky mall and hotel project in Marquette Township.
They’re also the same group that’s now building that small subdivision of homes just off of Lakeshore Boulevard on the opposite side of Nestledown B & B.
Apparently, they’ve got a lot of faith in Marquette’s future. And apparently they’re going to be very busy this year.
AFTER TWO YEARS, Meijer is still searching for a spot to set up shop in Marquette County.
A downstate official maintains they still have interest here but they just have not been able to find the right piece of property (presumably on or near US-41) at the right price.
At least not yet. It’s also got to be a piece of property that can be easily improved in terms of infrastructure.
The official says Meijer is regularly talking to private property owners and real estate developers here but they haven’t been able to swing a deal yet. Could happen tomorrow…could happen never. (Cue enthusiastic applause from Walmart and Target)
Sure seems like there’s a finite amount of available property on US 41 that would fit Meijer’s needs, and sure seems they would have identified those parcels by now.
Meantime, Meijer is ready to build in both the Soo and Escanaba. Those stores are expected to open in 2017.
SMALLER, LOCAL BUSINESSES are showing less reluctance to expand.
Case in point: 906 Technologies, the IT and software development company that’s become a major player here in the last ten years.
Some of its partners have just joined up with other investors to found a new company–906 Engineering. It’s located on US 41 west of Marquette.
906 Engineering offers electrical, mechanical and hydraulic services and it’s also developing new products.
The latest is a snow plow controller, reputedly more efficient and less expensive than others on the market. More exciting are three other products now in the works, said to be “industry-changers.”
Those 906 Technologies folks seem to be on to something. They’re just the kind of people that the SmartZone is hoping to lure here.
SPEAKING OF ENTREPRENEURS and software, the local Angel Investors group is getting together for its first official meeting on March 10th at the Landmark Inn.
Who are the Angel Investors? They’re people with a million dollars in assets (not counting their homes) or incomes over $200,000 who want to invest in local, start-up companies.
Ten have joined the group so far. They’re looking for more. The fee is $2500.
The March 10th meeting will feature entrepreneurs pitching their companies and looking for investors. Think “Shark Tank,” minus the celebrity, the TV contract, and the occasional, gratuitous meanness.
So we’ve got a SmartZone and Angel Investors. Geez, looks like Marquette is getting ready to join the major leagues. Okay, maybe not the major leagues. Maybe the minors. Not bad for a community stuck in the frozen boondocks.
TALK SHOW LEGEND Larry King is coming to town.
Well, not quite.
But North Coast Post (aka Superior Productions) on Third Street has scored a coup. They’re putting together King’s latest venture–“Secrets to Great Communication,” a series of classes that will soon be available on the Web.
BJ and Kristen Alden, who own North Coast, had an “in” with King in that BJ was a producer for Larry King Live for more than a decade. Still, it’s impressive that King and his people thought enough of this little video production and graphic design company in Marquette to give it the job.
Maybe more lies ahead.
The Aldens, after a year in town, are still getting the bulk of their work from outside the U.P. but local clientele is growing. Among them: 906 Technologies and James Surrell, the “SOS” doctor.
MUNISING’S NOT EXACTLY a dining mecca.
When many residents and out-of-owners tell you that a hot dog diner (Johnny Dogs) is the best restaurant in town, it’s fair to say that the town’s culinary scene could use an upgrade.
Sydney’s Restaurant is hoping to provide that. Cheri and Tony Goetz bought Sydney’s last year and have been revamping it.
New paint, new decor. The Australian (???) theme is gone. Cheri says the new look is warmer and more welcoming.
The food? They’re working on it. The menu has been changing regularly over the last several months as they see what works and what doesn’t. They hope to have things firmed up within the next couple of months, before summer tourist season.
Bottom line? They want to serve affordable, wholesome food. Can’t argue with that.
Maybe they’ll give Johnny Dogs a run for their money.
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