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Old 08-12-2003, 06:10   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.A.:Ford unveils $120 million Allen Park shopping center

By R.J. King / The Detroit News

ALLEN PARK -- Ford Motor Co.'s real estate division plans to use environmentally friendly practices at a $120-million shopping and recreation complex to be built next to the former Veterans Administration Hospital in Allen Park.

Ford Motor Land Development Corp. is set to break ground next spring on the 600,000-square-foot retail center at the Southfield Freeway and Oakwood Boulevard, currently home to the automaker's Allen Park Clay Mine. A clay quarry and landfill since the 1950s, the 243-acre mine will be closed next spring.

At 600,000 square feet, the shopping center would be about half the size of a typical indoor mall such as Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi or Eastland Center in Harper Woods.

The retail project, scheduled to open in spring 2005, will use a system of swales, or landscaped ditches, along with retention ponds to manage storm water runoff, said Sean McCourt, Ford Motor Land chairman. In turn, the exterior walls of the shopping center will be covered by vines to reduce cooling costs.

The unique storm water system -- traditional shopping centers utilize underground pipes to connect storm water to sewers -- is not expected to save the automaker money, but it has launched similar efforts before.

Ford installed several environmental enhancements at its truck plant under construction at the storied Ford Rouge Center in Dearborn, where the automaker has been building vehicles since the 1920s.

"Our goal at the Rouge project was to embrace environmental stewardship, and we're looking to do that in our other development projects," McCourt said.

The shopping center is expected to include several big-box stores along with sellers of books, home goods and groceries. Several smaller shops and restaurants also will be added.

The 85-acre project, to be called Fairlane Green, received site-plan approval from Allen Park last week. A second shopping area, to occupy 71 acres, is being planned. Other acreage will be used for public space.
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