Livonia, Mich., to See New Shopping Center

Jun. 9--Demolition of the Wonderland Mall in Livonia began Thursday, making way for a 500,000-square-foot shopping center.

A crew started work by knocking down what once was a Kmart garage.

The demolition of the 74-acre site at Plymouth and Middlebelt is expected to take up to four months, according to Schostak Bros. spokeswoman Linda Busse.

The $100-million Wonderland Village -- including a Wal-Mart, Target and a third not-yet-named big-box store, plus 40 shops and restaurants -- should be ready to open next spring.

The project is expected to bring 500 to 1,000 full- and part-time jobs to Livonia.

Wonderland's redevelopment saga has taken years, because of city meetings that lasted as long as 6 1/2 hours, racially charged public get-togethers, a lawsuit between Target and the Southfield-based developer, and multiple site-plan drafts.

Mall neighbors fought a 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter for months.

In November, the City Council approved a plan that allowed the store to stay open from 6 a.m. to midnight.

Some residents who live near Wonderland worried about increased traffic and crime, parking, and whether Schostak Bros. would be able to lease the space.

Contact ZLATI MEYER at 248-351-3291 or meyer@freepress.com.

<<Detroit Free Press (KRT) -- 06/12/06>>

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