Construction delays are adding to list of problems a Holt resident says she has with a Holt redevelopment project.
But township officials and the developer of the Esker Square project say, except for delays caused mostly by the coronavirus pandemic, the project is meeting expectations.
The $12 million project, which was announced in 2017, includes two apartment buildings with ground-floor retail space for restaurants and offices at the corner of North Cedar Street and Veterans Drive.
Nancy Romig, who lives nearby, said she’s been displeased with construction delays, a reconfiguration of Cedar Street from four lanes to two lanes with a dedicated center turn lane and aesthetics of the project. Romig spoke about those concerns at a Sept. 29 meeting of the Delhi Township Downtown Development Authority.
“We’ve had a lot of adjustments in order to accommodate this project,” Romig said.
When it was first announced, the project was expected to be completed by spring 2019, although that later was pushed to fall 2021.
“If it ever materializes, there’s potential, but the question I think we’re all wondering as a community realistically will it ever materialize?” Romig said. “There’s a lot of promise that could be brought in with it, but it has been so slow going.”
In the meantime, Romig said the construction site site isn’t well-secured and it’s “absolutely horrible” to look at.
Esker Square developer Scott Gillespie, the owner of the Gillespie Co., said some people don’t like to see change, but the majority of the feedback he has received from the Holt community has been positive.
Gillespie said construction on the first building will begin in the spring and completed the following spring in 2022. He said the start and end of the second building will depend on the market.
But the biggest challenge was caused by COVID-19.
“It grounded us to a screeching halt,” Gillespie said. “There was a shutdown in construction, in all activity.”
He said the project will help will create a new urban core for the Holt community.
“My hope and my dream is that it brings another option to Holt and to the Delhi Township community,” Gillespie said. “My hope is that it invigorates the whole area and brings people together.”
DDA Executive Director Howard Haas said the authority wanted a mixed-use project that combines residential with commercial activities for the site.
“I think it’s an integral part for what we have planned,” Haas said. “Holt never had a downtown as such and we were trying to create a place where people live and shop and we’re almost there.”
Haas said he has no concerns with the construction timeline because he understands the reason for the delay. Haas said he would like to see the project complete within the next two or three years.
“I want to see construction underway or finished and occupied and buzzing with people, shopping and living,” Haas said.