Douglas J to expand by two buildings

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By Lauren Evasic
Meridian Times staff writer

OKEMOS — Douglas J Salon and Day Spa is in the early stages of opening a new location in the heart of downtown Okemos.

The Meridian Township Board met at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 to discuss the addition of two Douglas J Salon and Day Spa buildings on the northwest corner of Okemos and Hamilton roads.

“This is really a success story for Douglas J and a homegrown Okemos success story.” — Meridian Township Treasurer Julie Brixie.

The Douglas J Housing Okemos LLC plans to construct a 24,132 square-foot, 3-story salon and spa building. The company also plan to build a 19,383 square-foot mixed-use building of retail space with 12 apartments on floors two and three.

Trustee Lynn J. Ochberg said the building was once a hardware store, and the architecture was “unattractive” but that she is impressed with the redesign.

“I’ve seen the project pictures. (They) will make a much more artistically valuable building for identifying and branding downtown Okemos,” Ochberg said.

She also stated some of the main issues discussed during the meeting: threats to existing businesses, traffic concerns and destroying old trees.

Ochberg said the Douglas J project will be an opportunity for new businesses to use the 6,000 square-foot in the mixed-use building.

She said most of the traffic runs north and south on Okemos Road and will not be as big an issue as some speakers thought.

As for the trees, Ochberg said they can be replaced.

While issues have arisen during the planning of the new location, Brixie said there were 79 petition signatures and 887 emails in support of the project, “a couple of which really moved (her).” Several were written by families whose disabled children have been hired at the current Douglas J Salon and Day Spa for decades, said Brixie.

“(It) shows (the) care of the entire community that’s going on at Douglas J,” said Brixie. “That’s the kind of business we need to be successful in our downtown.”

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