Business growth on Tittabawassee Road ‘a great sign for the region’

KOCHVILLE TWP, MI — Changes are coming to Kochville Township’s Tittabawassee Road corridor as businesses invest in and redevelop commercial properties stretching from Kokomo’s Family Fun Center to the shuttered Gander Mountain store.

“That’s a great sign for the region as a whole,” said Kochville Township Manager Steve King, noting that the Tittabawassee Road corridor is one of the area’s busiest. “It’s important that people see those obvious investments in the community. It helps drive other people to want to invest in their properties as well.”

In the last year, companies have invested in the township’s three largest formerly empty storefronts: Art Van, now Gardner White; former Gander Mountain, soon-to-be Planet Fitness; and Toys R Us, soon-to-be Value City Furniture’s Designer Looks.

Together, these three properties represent approximately 160,000 square feet of retail space in Kochville Township that’s “all now being reinvested in and occupied by great, stable, apparently growing companies on Tittabawassee Road,” King said.

Related: Kokomo’s celebrates 25th anniversary with new owner, new plans for growth

Planet Fitness is planning to open a new location at the shuttered Gander Mountain store, 2270 Tittabawassee Road, later this year, King said. The sporting goods store closed in 2017 after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“The Planet Fitness project is exciting. That facility is 40 years old now,” King said, noting that plans for the site include a reconfigured entrance and new landscaping. “This is an opportunity for somebody to take an older shopping center property and make it greener, more appealing for everybody.”

Nearby, Value City Furniture is refreshing the former Toys R Us store, located at 2800 Tittabawassee Road. The building, one of Kochville Township’s oldest commercial sites, dates back to the late 1970s and was home to Toys R Us for decades before permanently closing in 2018.

In addition, Kokomo’s Family Fun Center, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, is now operating under new ownership and undergoing renovations.

Late last year, Chicago-based Memorable Experiences Group, which owns and operates family and location-based entertainment centers throughout the country, purchased Kokomo’s. The fun center, located at 5200 Kokomo Drive, off Tittabawassee Road, offers an arcade, bumper boats, go-karts, laser tag, mini golf, a cafe, and party packages for birthdays and other special events.

General Manager Irene Mapes said Memorable Experiences Group officials are reimagining the property.

“They’ve got a really solid plan to make this come back,” Mapes said. “Every week, we’re changing, we’re renovating, we’re in the process of making this better than ever.”

Now, King said, Kochville Township and neighboring Saginaw Township are watching and waiting to see what will happen with Fashion Square Mall at the intersection of Bay and Tittabawassee roads. The indoor shopping center, which remains open for business, will be available in an online auction beginning Monday, Aug. 22. The opening bid is $2.3 million.

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