Hazel Park City Council recently approved replacing the Days Hotel with a CVS drug store in a settlement reached with developers. The Days Hotel has been vacant after the operator defaulted on payments to the property owner. The 9-story former Holiday Inn had also been a Quality Inn, Guest House Inn, and La Casa Inn, as well.
Developers sued the city for refusing to change zoning for the 1.69 acre parcel to allow a drug store on the site. Since there’s already a shuttered former Rite Aid right across the street, building a CVS in place of the hotel doesn’t make sense. There are already two CVS stores in the 2.8 square mile city of 18,000. And there is a Walgreen’s just across the street from the city’s southeast corner. And the Kroger across the street has a pharmacy as well.
Having prevailed in the suit, why did the city settle? The obvious benefit is the removal of the hotel building which has been a troublespot, especially during the early part of this decade. Beyond that, the only change to the developer’s plan is to add a coffee shop. Big deal.
So, the city will get another strip mall at it’s heart, with the nothing unique about it, except maybe a coffee shop. This does nothing to add to Hazel Park retail traffic. The currently vacant retail storefronts will stay that way. And, in all likelihood, the two CVS stores already in the city will close, adding to the retail vacancies. Not to mention job loss, since a single store won’t need the staff from two stores. I’m thinking there’s a net tax loss here.
The city should have held out for something more appropriate for the site, located at the 9 Mile exit from I-75. Another strip mall won’t make Hazel Park the walkable, desirable city these guys talk about. Another case of government being penny wise and dollar foolish.