The Plymouth City Council this week gave the go-ahead for a mixed-use redevelopment project for the site of the Four Seasons Mall, which has sat vacant since 2011.
The 17-acre property near Hwy. 169 and Rockford Road has been difficult to develop, primarily because the area was wetland before the mall went up in the 1970s.
Dominium plans to build three affordable apartment buildings — two for families and one for seniors — as well as four commercial buildings and a park-and-ride ramp.
The City Council also approved $5 million in tax-increment financing for the apartment buildings. The project cost was estimated at $130 million in June; developers couldn’t be reached Thursday to see if that figure had changed.
Walmart, the site’s current owner, failed to develop the property, and a 2017 mixed-use redevelopment plan called Agora also fell through.
The Agora proposal included two four-story hotels, office and retail space, a senior apartment building and a ramp with more than half its spaces for park-and-ride. The plan received city approval, but the developer didn’t secure funding.
“It’s a horrible message for Plymouth to have people drive through our community and see a strip mall that’s been abandoned,” said Planning Commissioner Bryan Oakley at a meeting last month. He said he remembered discussing the same site at his first planning commission meeting nine years ago.
Dominium’s proposal includes two four-story apartment buildings with a total of 163 units and a separate independent senior living building with 255 apartments.
Rents in the proposed complex would likely range from $915 to about $1,800, city officials said.
A lighted and landscaped walkway to connect the two family apartment buildings is planned, along with a trail and boardwalk around a pond and wetland area at the property’s south end.
The proposal also calls for a 229-spot park-and-ride ramp for the public and four buildings for commercial uses, such as retail or coffee shops.
Judy Johnson, a former Plymouth City Council member and now a member of the Metropolitan Council, spoke at the council meeting in support of the project and its tax-increment financing. City leaders had high hopes for the site back in 2009, she said, but it’s proven difficult to redevelop, and several options have fallen through.
“The neighbors in this area have been on a roller-coaster ride,” she said. “We all know it’s been a long-term blighted site and that’s wearing on people.”
Council Member Jim Davis said he’s heard complaints from residents in other Dominium properties. Speaking to a Dominium representative at the council meeting, he said: “I’m going to stay on top of you guys to make sure you guys run this thing as you are promising us.”
Construction is expected to begin this spring.