GPP Development On Kercheval Avenue Could Halt Traffic From Detroit

A plan to turn the strip along Kercheval Avenue in Grosse Pointe Park -- which already has a number of restaurants and bars -- into an entertainment district contains an element that is bound to be controversial: Cutting off car traffic from Detroit.

A recent spate of land purchases along Kercheval Avenue could allow Beaumont Health System to expand into a new building and clear the field for a dining/entertainment district the Cotton family is planting in Grosse Pointe Park, report Chad Halcom and Ryan Kelly in Crain's Detroit Business.

The Cottons include father David, founder-CEO of Detroit-based Meridian Health Plan of Michigan Inc.; and sons Jon, Sean and Michael, all executives with Meridian, which has been a staple of the local insurance market since the mid-1990s through their Medicaid- and Medicare-based health benefit plans.

Since mid-2011, the family has branched out into civic pursuits and economic development initiatives far outside of health care, including a plan to reinvent the retail district in their hometown of Grosse Pointe Park.

Anchoring the district could be a 20,000-square-foot building the Cottons have discussed erecting just east of Alter Road, straddling Kercheval at the Detroit border. This would allow Beaumont to move its internal medicine outpatient center from a smaller space a few blocks east and free up new retail space on Kercheval between Lakepointe Street and Beaconsfield Avenue.

It would also effectively close off Kercheval and the Park commercial district to eastbound vehicles from Detroit, but would have a parking area accessible from Grosse Pointe Park as well as pedestrian access across Alter through an archway.

The Detroit-Grosse Pointe Park border along Alter Road vividly illustrates the stark economic differences on either side of the city limits. 

While the immediate few blocks in Grosse Pointe north of E. Jefferson contain mostly older frame homes jammed closely together, the Detroit side has significant abandonment and little commercial development along Kercheval. 

Census figures show wide differences in social and economic measurements. While Grosse Pointe Park has an increasingly diverse population, residents there are overwhelmingly white; residents on the Detroit side are mostly African American.

Grosse Pointe officials have closed a handful of smaller streets connecting the two cities over the years, and those moves ignited controversy. Halting traffic from Detroit along a major street like Kercheval is sure to raise eyebrows.  

In December, WDIV-TV aired a story about concern over break-ins on the Grosse Pointe Park side.  

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business

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