Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

November 24, 2013

Center set for upgrades

TRAVERSE CITY — The new owner of the Cherryland Center in Garfield Township wants to attract more businesses to the property with exterior upgrades and an improved parking lot.

“We are looking at bringing other businesses in, and we are talking to several people,” said Developer V. Kumar Vemulapalli, who described himself as the property manager on behalf of its new corporate owner, Darga LLC.

“We want to make improvements to the property, including fixing the parking lot, to help bring in new business and customers,” Vemulapalli said.

Darga LLC purchased Cherryland Center in an online auction for $3.1 million, and took control of a property that for years languished in bank ownership.

The property is anchored by Kmart and Sears and houses a diverse set of tenants including a GameStop, Quiznos and the Armed Forces Recruitment Center. Some tenants told the Record-Eagle they are encouraged by Darga LLC’s commitment to garner more commerce at the center, noting the property has huge potential. It’s already in a solid location hemmed by vehicle traffic on Garfield and South Airport roads.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Paul Barbas, owner of the popular Opa Coney and Grill restaurant at the center. “We shouldn’t be afraid of change. If we could fill more spaces the whole complex survives ... and the more of a village feel we create.”

Rick and Lisa Foytik own the Nogginz hair salon at the center, which opened in February. Rick Foytik said “so far so good” when asked what it’s like to do business in the shopping center. He said he sees the new ownership as an opportunity to improve the complex and increase business.

Rick Foytik said he’d like to see increased road signage on Garfield and South Airport, letting motorists know exactly what businesses are in the complex.

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