CASCADE TOWNSHIP — National alcohol retailer Total Wine & More plans to open its first Michigan superstore in the greater Grand Rapids area, MiBiz has learned.
An affiliate of Total Wine has leased the 34,250-square-foot former Babies R Us at 4923 28th St. SE in Cascade Township, according to filings MiBiz acquired in a Freedom of Information Act request. The company indicated in the filings that it plans to open an expansive beer, wine and liquor store at the site.
Total Wine is leasing the space from an affiliate of Grand Rapids-based Edmark Development Co., according to a lease agreement included in filings. Property records show Edmark has owned the location since 1998.
The store had been vacant since 2018 when the Toys R Us chain went out of business.
The strip mall also includes a Bed Bath & Beyond store.
A spokesperson for Total Wine did not respond to requests to comment for this story.
The Bethesda, Md.-based Total Wine operates 205 superstores across 24 states in the U.S., and employs more than 4,000 people, according to its website. Brothers David and Robert Trone started the company in Delaware in 1991.
Typical retail locations carry more than 8,000 wines, 2,500 craft and imported beers and 3,000 spirits. The nearest store to the West Michigan location is located in the Milwaukee area.
Total Wine is seeking state approval to purchase a specialty designated distributor license from Gilmore Collection affiliate Bostwick Lake Inn Operating L.C. for $150,000, according to the filings. The license would allow the retailer to sell packaged liquor for off-premise consumption.
The company also is currently seeking Michigan Liquor Control Commission approval to sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption, as well as offer Sunday sales and beer and wine tastings, according to agency records.
If the project comes online, it will mark a continued tight inventory in the key 28th Street retail corridor.
According to a third quarter market report from the West Michigan office of Colliers International, the 28th Street SE corridor had a vacancy rate of about 3.6 percent out of a total inventory of nearly 7.3 million square feet, the largest in the region.
Bob Lotzar, a senior vice president at NAI Wisinski of West Michigan, said it’s not often a national retailer will make its first move into Michigan in the Grand Rapids market, but there are many factors that contribute to the attractiveness of West Michigan for firms.
“Grand Rapids is always a good choice, but we typically aren’t the first choice because of the size and breadth of the Detroit area, and the sheer number of people,” Lotzar told MiBiz. “But we’re a very strong market and we have a lot of indicators going in the right direction. We have a reputation for stability and loyalty, so those are factors I hear from clients I work with that are national tenants.”