Eastgate owner has eye on other sitesPublished 4:31pm Wednesday, November 23, 2011
With the old Eastgate Shopping Plaza in Niles Township slowly being taken down, the owner of the property is now looking to obtain a plot of property owned by the township near the plaza.
B.G. Green, a member of ML Developers, sent a letter to township board members last week requesting first right of refusal to purchase the property at 1945 Oak St., the site of the old Shell gas station.
Township trustees agreed to consult the township attorney regarding what they can do with the property.
“We don’t want to get in the situation that South Bend got into with the Family Dollar store they were trying to give to somebody,” Township Supervisor Jim Kidwell said, referencing the city’s controversial attempt to buy the store and then transfer it to St. Joseph’s High School for a dollar.
ML Developers could be in play to make the old Eastgate property the site of the new United Federal Credit Union headquarters. Kidwell said ML Developers have submitted a proposal to the credit union, which is looking for a property 15 to 40 acres for the new building.
Kidwell said the credit union office would be a boon to the township and believes the old Eastgate property is an ideal site.
“I think it’s a good spot. It’s on a well-traveled road,” he said.
Shelley Klug, executive director of Southwestern Michigan Growth Alliance, said she can’t comment much on the credit union’s search process.
“I am hopeful that some of the many properties submitted from the Niles-Buchanan area will be among the finalists,” she said.
United Federal Credit Union, which has nine branches in Michigan including two in Niles, expects to make more than 500 new hires by the year 2020.
Eastgate was a popular shopping center in the 1960s and 70s, featuring more than 20 businesses.
When the property was sold to MoorPark Associates in the mid-1990s, businesses began to vacate and the property began to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance.