Marquette gives initial ‘thumbs-up’ to new Shophouse Park with more approvals needed

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 6:29 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The concept for “Shophouse Park” got the first thumbs-up from the Marquette City Planning Commission on Tuesday, but more approvals are needed before the idea can become a reality.

Just east of the Kaufman Sports Complex is the lot of the planned “Shophouse Park”. It would be a mixed-use property with businesses and housing that look like shophouses. Shophouse Park founder, David Ollila said his 3.5-acre project could attract locals and newcomers.

“Shophouse Park is a mixed-use facility that’s going to blend multiple aspects of economic development and community place-making into a vibrant space that will serve both locals and their community, visitors to the area, corporations, and start-ups,” Ollila said.

One of the unique aspects of the property is the trails. Ollila said it’s something he wants to incorporate. The plan is to keep the trails but Ollila said that the trails could be adjusted for the project.

“There are all of these beautiful trees, there are trails on the property there are rock outcroppings. The desire is to maintain as much of that as possible and building an ecosystem around that, combining outdoor recreation with economic development while serving the local community,” he said.

There is still a long, complex road ahead for Shophouse Park. In a statement to TV6, City Planner and Zoning Administrator David Stensaas talked about the next steps for Ollila’s project.

“In brief, the proposal met the qualification criteria for a PUD (Planned Unit Development) and next there is another hearing for preliminary site plan review at the PC (Planning Commission) level. They will then make a recommendation to the CC (City Commission),” Stensaas said.

“The CC will hold a hearing and review the PC recommendation and materials that were submitted to them, and if the CC votes to approve the PUD the property will be rezoned as a PUD and the City Attorney will draft a PUD Agreement that includes the preliminary site plan. The PUD property owner has two years to submit a final site plan, which will be reviewed by the Planning Commission to ensure that the final site plan substantially conforms to the preliminary site plan that the PC previously approved and is incorporated into the agreement. Only after this step may the applicant submit for a Zoning Compliance Permit, which is required to acquire a Building Permit from the County Building Codes office.”

Ollila said he has put together a special team to make the project a reality.

“We’re working with folks like Brad Garmon of the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, we’re working with the Office of Future Mobility we’re working with Mich. Auto and most importantly from a Marquette perspective we’re working with the Innovate Marquette Smartzone,” Ollila said.

Ollila said that the best-case scenario for a building to open will be in the summer of 2023 but could be delayed due to the planning process.

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