Driving home from work this week I saw a couple of things that got the wheels chugging in my brain. The first was earthmoving equipment across Gull Road beginning the demolition process on what was the Gull Road Automotive (or Mobil, most recently) service station (And even that's a dated term, as none has their gas pumped anymore.) There were an excavator and a backhoe starting to transform the former gas station into a credit union. And across the street, a for sale sign has gone up for the corner lot at Gull Road and Jennings Drive.

(Dave Benson, TSM)
(Dave Benson, TSM)

Speculating here, but with the mega car wash now open, may the property owner sees this as a chance to cash in on a possible development boom on Gull Road.

A Development Boom On Gull Road?

Think about it. While Westnedge in Portage and West Main on the west side of Kalamazoo are pretty much developed, there are still opportunities along Gull Road. The area around Gull and Sprinkle Roads pretty much has all the must-have major chains, (ie, Meijer, Walmart, a home improvement store (Menards) and the fast-food chains are well represented.

One interesting thing is chain restaurants have come and gone. The restaurant that is currently a seafood-boil place, was an Aubrey's, and before that a Bennigan's. There's an Applebee's down the road, and there's a Q-Doba in the immediate area, too. What's nice is there are some locally-owned eateries; North Eleven is good, as are several Mexican places, and the Asian Thai food is outstanding, too. Main Street Pub gets forgotten because it set back a bit.

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Could this area grow some more? Sure. There are more national stores on Westnedge, but here's the situation: Many of those chains have been struggling or have already thrown in the towel. Is there any point in building brick and mortar if everyone is going to buy from the Amazon's of the world? But, again, inquiring minds want to know - a corner of G Ave and Sprinkle has been cleared. Hmmm.

Careful what you wish for

As someone who lives in the area, be careful what you wish for. More commerce means more traffic and that means more traffic lights. No one wants that.

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