FLINT TWP. — Three vacant commercial buildings on Miller Road may soon be getting a new lease on life, according to site plans recently approved by the township Planning Commission. One of them is the former Fitness USA building at 4580 Miller Rd; near Genesee Valley Mall, which closed in September 2013 after some 33 years of operation.
Another is the former Citizens/ First Merit bank building at 3023 Miller Road and Ballenger Highway, which closed circa June 2014 after more than 50 years of business. A local dentist is now interested in it.
Also up for redevelopment is the former Talmer’s/First Place bank building at 4409 Miller Road, which is slated to become a Panda Express fast-food Chinese restaurant with a drive-through.
New tenants at the old Fitness USA site have not been revealed by developers, Lormax Stern of Bloomfield Hills, but several potential tenants have been lined up, said Matt Drozd. Director of Property Management.
“We have three tenants ready to sign leases and a fourth contingent,” he told planning commissioners.
The free-standing 10,780 square-foot building, adjacent to the Genesee Valley mall parking lot was built in 1979. Plans include adding a drive-through on the west side of the building and parking spaces on the south side lawn, facing Miller Road. A large portion of the asphalt parking at the rear of the building will be removed and landscaped with a green area. Directional signage at the northwest and northeast side of the property will direct cars to the drivethrough stacking area.
“This is a high-profile corner,” said John Gazall, vice chairman of the planning commission. “I think your development company knows what we would be looking for to make sure it looks nice. You have a track record in this township. We know you will do a good job.”
Flint Family Dentistry, currently located on Flushing Road in Flint, has filed site plans for the former Citizens Bank building. Alireza Daneshvar, the dentist, did not respond to a request for more information about his move-in target date or hiring plans.
Site plan drawings call for extensive renovation work including removal of the drive-up teller equipment on the east side of the one-story building. Plans also show extensive main floor and basement remodeling to transform the 4,672 square-foot building from bank use to its new use. Main floor plans include nine operating rooms, an imaging station, x-ray rooms, consultations rooms, a sterilization lab and offices.
Built in 1960, the building operated as a Citizens Bank branch until 2013 when it was acquired by FirstMerit, which in turn was bought last year by Huntington Bank. But the Miller Road branch closed in June 2014 and since has been vacant.
Less information is available for the Panda Express development. Last June, the Planning Commission approved site plans for a Panda Express franchise. It would have been one of two tenants in the former Town & Country bowling alley, 3282 Miller Road, which has been closed for about a year. That project has been put on hold, said
Tracey Tucker, township building director, adding that she believes the Talmer’s plan is an alternative location for that proposed Panda Express.