Dearborn Town Center Groundbreaking April 29

An artist rendering of the new medical center planned for completion in 2010.

An artist rendering of the new medical center planned for completion in 2010.

We’ve written a lot on these pages about the development planned at the corner of Michigan and Schaefer. While we were sad to see the Montgomery Ward building destroyed, it’s now time to turn the page and make way for a new medical center that is set to open in 2010.

On Wednesday, April 29, officials from the City of Dearborn, Oakwood Healthcare, Midwest Health Clinic and Redico Development will join to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Dearborn Town Center development — a $70 million mixed use development that will offer medical care, retail and, later down the road when the economy improves, senior living.

Among those scheduled to take part in the groundbreaking will be Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr., Brian Connolly from Oakwood Healthcare, Dr. Mark Saffer from Midwest Health Clinic and Dale Watchowski from Redico Development Company. 

The event begins at 11 a.m. with speeches at the Arab American National Museum, just across the street from the development site. The group will then move across the street for the photo op at the actual site and future home of the Dearborn Town Center.

During these tough economic times, seeing such a development get underway in our city is a good thing. We wish it well. welcomes your views and encourages lively -- but civil -- discussions. Comments are unedited, but submissions reported as abusive may be removed.

4 Responses to “Dearborn Town Center Groundbreaking April 29”

  1. Howard Roark says:

    This project has enormous potential to be a significant activity-generator for that area. And while it seems to be a reasonable project under “typical” economic times, I am doubtful we will ever see the senior living component of the project develop. Let’s face it: this project is about Midwest Health consolidating their operations in one convenient location. They are not in the senior living business and probably don’t want to be.

    But the City, in it’s infinite wisdom, wanted a “mixed use” development and so, voila, we add senior apartments. Never mind the fact that Grandma cannot sell her home in this market so that she can move to this spanking new development. We seem to have this “Field of Dreams” attitude: if we build it, they will come. This is reminiscent of the Burton Katzman development in downtown west Dearborn with all its’ second-story office space vacantly staring out at Michigan Avenue and vacant condos south of the tracks: another heralded “mixed use” development that didn’t fulfill its’ promise.

    My other concern is the parking deck (this development game sounds like a broken record – er, scratched CD – doesn’t it?). If I read the synopsis of the 10/20/08 Council Meeting minutes correctly, the land for the deck will revert back to the City at some point wherein the City will be obligated to construct the deck. Yikes, what is it about the City leaders and parking decks? They are just like tornados and trailer parks! At least it sounds like the City won’t have to build the deck prior to the office building being fairly far along (learned their lesson from Burton Katzman). However, are we now in a difficult situation of having to deliver a completed deck in a time frame that cannot be acheived? Hmmm.

    Anywho, can someone please ‘splain to me why the City feels the need to control either the construction, the ownership, or the management of the parking in the downtown areas? I am sorely confused.

  2. Johnny Cakes says:


    I think the parking deck is kind of a deal-sweetener that makes it more palatable for a developer to do work with the public sector and all of its bureaucratic red tape. As for this specific deck, yes, the city is building it with the intention that tax capture revenue pays down the debt obligation, just like in the Burton-Katzman fiasco. However – and this is important – unlike the Burton-Katzman deal, the REDICO developer’s agreement has a provision that makes the developer responsible for any tax capture shortfalls that may arise – not the city. In essence, REDICO is making use of a low-interest loan from the city of Dearborn and in turn the city is passing up tax dollars for it.

    It does sounds like, at least in a dollar-to-dollar analysis, the city is getting a raw deal. But the underlying goal of offering this kind of incentive is that the development will help to spur economic growth thereby strengthening the value of surrounding properties.

  3. Michael D. Albano says:

    Hopefully this time, the city will make sure he building is built first, before the garage is built and that the responsible business parties are either not an LLC or if they are, they have contingencies built into the contract with the city.

    We’re already sitting on 2 mostly empty garages in west downtown Dearborn that are probably the biggest blunder the city has made in a long, long time with the Burton-Katzman LLC fiasco…

  4. John says:

    The parking deck is free. The taxpayers are paying for it.