Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 13, 2013

Dispute halts IMAX proposal

BY GLENN PUIT gpuit@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — A development proposal that called for an IMAX theater off U.S. 31 was halted Tuesday when owners of the property told township officials the plan was not authorized.

A redevelopment proposal for the Traverse City Outlets was submitted Nov. 5 to Garfield Township by local developer Jerry Snowden, but the owners of the property say the proposal should be withdrawn immediately because Snowden didn’t have the authority to submit it.

The development dispute centers around the shopping center at 3811 Marketplace Circle, which houses the Horizon Cinemas and several other retail businesses. The complex, previously known as Horizon Outlet Mall, has multiple vacant retail spots and has long been rumored to be a potential spot for new development proposals within the township.

Township Supervisor Chuck Korn said Snowden filed a proposal Nov. 5 with the township asking for a conceptual review of a new 59,000 square-foot building at the site. Korn said the application does not specify what the new business would be.

“It appears to be a new building,” Korn said of Snowden’s proposal. “It doesn’t state on the application, but I was under the impression it was going to be an IMAX theater.

“He (Snowden) dropped off the application but never paid the $100 fee for conceptual review so it’s not going to appear on the agenda of (tonight’s planning) meeting,” Korn said.

On Tuesday morning, Korn received a letter sent to his office from an entity identified as TC Center Partners, LLC that essentially said Snowden had no right to file the proposal and that it should be withdrawn immediately.

“TC Center Partners, LLC wanted to advise that they are the sole owner of the property and Jerry Snowden is no longer an agent of the property,” Korn said. “The application for a conceptual review for a new theater should be withdrawn and that it was done without the owner’s permission.”

Snowden could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Korn said TC Center Partners’ representative is Traverse City attorney Joseph Sarafa, who along with local school board member Erik Falconer, was sued recently by Snowden in 13th Circuit Court. Snowden accused accused Sarafa and Falconer of bullying him out of his interest in a long-planned Pine Street development that could include a downtown parking deck.

The suit seeks to wrest control of two limited liability companies — Pine Street Development One and 2JS Development — from business partners Sarafa and Falconer, a financial adviser who serves as treasurer for Traverse City Area Public Schools board of education.

Sarafa said Tuesday “the plan … was not approved or authorized by the owner.” He said he could not address whether Snowden’s application relates to the pending litigation, calling the situation “bizarre.”

A Record-Eagle article from 2012 identified TC Center Partners, LLC, as being “led by Traverse City developer Jerry Snowden, (who) won a Sept. 25 online auction to buy Traverse City Outlets, formerly called the Horizon Outlet Mall, on US-31 South.”

Korn said he simply wants to see the property developed so it serves the best interests of the township’s residents and the public.