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Monroe to purchase former La-Z-Boy headquarters, plans to redevelop site

La-Z-Boy Inc. has sold its former headquarters and surrounding 26 acres to the city of Monroe, which plans to demolish the buildings next year and then redevelop the area into housing and retail stores.

The sale was announced Friday and is the first step by Monroe to implement a “subarea” plan developed in March.

La-Z-Boy, which was founded in Monroe in 1927 and had remained in the same location along Telegraph Road for much of that time, moved out of its former headquarters and into a new $66.4 million building located nearby in 2015.

The 250,000-square-foot former headquarters had remained vacant the last four years, but last spring the city revealed a new plan to acquire the site, demolish the structures, and bring in a private developer to turn it into townhouses, lofts, single-family cottages, and traditional single-family homes.

The subarea plan, developed by city planners and officials, also envisions 60,000 square feet of strip retail and build-to-suit offices.

The plan states that “big box” retail is not preferred, even though there would be room for a large-scale retailer. “Big-box retail does not represent the highest or best use, and such uses would undermine the marketability of urban formats or uses on adjacent sites,” the plan states.

Instead, the plan calls on developers to seek smaller lifestyle retail anchors like a restaurant or brewery. It said anchors such as Westborn Market, Kirkland’s, Guitar Center, Party City, Sephora, Men’s Wearhouse, Gap, Old Navy, and Eddie Bauer should be pursued.

The city plans to begin demolition next spring and clear the entire 26 acres. Monroe said it is working to finalize an agreement with a private party who would redevelop the site.

Earlier, the city said it was approved for a $1.2 million loan from the Downriver Community Conference, a regional consortium, to assist with the demolition costs. Additional demolition costs will be paid through brownfield bond financing.

“For over 90 years, La-Z-Boy has built a profound reputation as a respected and generous corporate citizen in Monroe. We couldn’t be more pleased with the cooperation we have received from La-Z-Boy in our efforts to see the site redeveloped in order to achieve the highest and best use for the community’s benefit,” Monroe Mayor Robert Clark said. “Combined with our efforts to increase economic development and redefine the character of the Telegraph Road corridor, the transformation of this site will not only benefit our citizens, but also redefine the identity of the Telegraph Road corridor for decades to come.”

La-Z-Boy Chairman, President, and CEO Kurt Darrow said company officials are pleased that the site will be redeveloped for the benefit of the community.

“I am confident our founders, Edward Knabusch and Edwin Shoemaker, would be delighted with this move, as well,” Mr. Darrow said.

The subarea plan calls infrastructure, especially sidewalks, to be added first to make the corridor walkable. Once constructed, the site could potentially have 60 townhouses, 100 lofts, 50 cottages, and 50 single-family homes in five years. The plan also includes a park, bicycle paths, and green spaces within the 26 acres.


Posted By: The Toledo Blade on November 11, 2019.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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