What Could Come in the Wake of MH and HP Save A Lot Closures?
(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 21, 2020)
Madison Heights, Hazel Park, MI- Two SE Michigan Save A Lot Stores closed permanently over the weekend, surprising residents who had been relying on the low cost chain for food and paper products.
When asked why the stores closed, a Save A Lot spokesperson said “We take the decision to close any Save A Lot location very seriously. We regularly review our stores on a number of factors, including financial performance as well as strategic alignment with long-term plans. Unfortunately, as a result of this review, and unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic, we closed our stores in Madison Heights and Hazel Park on April 18.
“We are grateful to our customers for their loyal support in these locations. Our team members look forward to continuing to serve customers at our nearby location in Clinton Township and on 8 Mile Road in Detroit.”
Madison Heights Mayor Brian Hartwell is hopeful that the property will not stay vacant long once the health crisis is past.
“When I was a councilperson, city developers said we should ignore 11 Mile,” Hartwell said. “One of the most important bases for me running for mayor was to change that mindset. 11 Mile is the heart of the city and represents the greatest potential to develop because it has the highest density of single family homes and shops, the commercial buildings are already built with zero set back, and we now have an active downtown board.
“So many people laugh at the idea of a downtown Madison Heights. Those people who underestimate our city, its residents and businesses are mistaken. In little time, we have kindled a slow burning fire with new restaurants and shops that will inspire more growth. The property owned by Sav A Lot has common ownership with one of the two city-approved medical marijuana facilities. Please, I must stress that the medical marijuana facility will be in a separate industrial district, not on 11 Mile. The marijuana applicant promised to support the development of mixed use commercial, office, and multi family residences at the northwest corner of 11 Mile and John R Road. Early plans included elements for affordable housing, senior housing, and an event space.
“This type of development is embraced by the city and the property owners but needed a little more private investment to make it a good deal. No taxpayer funds will be necessary. I’m not aware of this being reported anywhere else.
“Now, Sav A Lot provided much needed low-cost produce to the surrounding community and will be missed. Market studies demonstrate a strong demand for additional groceries. When BJ’s Wholesale surveyed Metro Detroit, they identified our city as prime for two new grocery stores. The market will answer this demand in due time. In my time as mayor, we have changed the culture and leadership at city hall to be pro-development, pro-southside, pro-progress. Businesses and families are looking to Madison Heights and Hazel Park because they are affordable options compared with the expensive communities along Woodward. Losing Sav A Lot is one temporary step back for the immediate food needs of the community, but we are poised to make giant leaps forward for the entire city.”
It’s not yet known what will happen to the Hazel Park building. City Manager Ed Klobucher said that the property is owned by a private equity firm in the midst of restructuring. “We are working with the property owner to fill the vacancy,” he said. He’s optimistic that the 8 Mile and Dequindre location will be appealing for the right investor. “It’s located right on the corner of the busy intersection of three different counties,” he said. The store had opened in 2017.
Since first publishing this article, we’ve learned that the 9 Mile and Coolidge location in Oak Park also recently closed.