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Published: Saturday, 6/30/2001

Canal-side residences foreseen near LaSalle

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Gladieux: He seeks partner. Gladieux: He seeks partner.
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LaSALLE, Mich. - A 240-acre parcel that Toledo businessman Tim Gladieux and a Vancouver-based company once planned to develop into a casino and theme park will instead become canal-side homes and a golf course, Mr. Gladieux says.

Mr. Gladieux would not disclose the purchase price, and the transaction, which he said closed on Thursday, had not yet been filed yesterday afternoon in the Monroe County recorder's office.

However, county officials estimated that the transaction would be in the neighborhood of about $8,000 an acre, or nearly $2 million.

Sungold Entertainment Group, of Vancouver, had optioned the land and planned to build a casino with the help of a Native-American Michigan tribe. When those plans disintegrated, a proposal called for a theme park and family entertainment center.

Sungold, of which Mr. Gladieux was a member of the board of directors, was unable to obtain financing to buy the parcel by a June 15 deadline and moved on to other ventures, a spokesman for the company said.

“My interest [with Sungold] was seeing them develop an entertainment complex at Toledo Beach property. As more time went by, I realized that [wasn't going to happen],” Mr. Gladieux said.

Mr. Gladieux said he resigned from the board shortly after it announced it was moving into the online gaming arena.

Mr. Gladieux said he is advertising for a “national developer” who specializes in similar projects to transform the area into something that will complement not only his marina but the surrounding neighborhood.

He said he hopes to bring on a partner by the end of the year.

“Our goal would be to build canal-front homes and perhaps even a golf course. If they build canals, there would be ancillary benefits to the marina through gasoline sales, storage fees, etc.,” Mr. Gladieux explained.

Mostly, he said, he “just wanted to make sure a manufactured housing developer didn't take control of that area and put a [mobile home park on the land].”

Mr. Gladieux said his plan is an extension of a dream his late father, Virgil, had of restoring Toledo Beach.

Instead of relying on tourism to boost the area, it would attract permanent residents who have an overwhelming interest in boating.

“My father really had this vision 20 years ago, and we were finally able to talk to the Gaynier family about acquiring the land only after the kids said they didn't want to farm it,” Mr. Gladieux said.

Because no design work has been done, Mr. Gladieux said he did not know how many homes would be built or what they would look like. He said he hoped the developer would put a mix of homes on the land, with prices from $175,000 to $500,000, and that those residents would become part of a larger Toledo Beach community.

The land is served by city water and natural gas, and sanitary sewer service could be obtained by building a small, closed treatment plant or expanding a treatment plant in use in neighboring Luna Pier, Mr. Gladieux said.

LaSalle Township Supervisor Larry Rutledge said he felt Mr. Gladieux's proposed use likely would be welcomed by neighbors in the adjacent North Shores and Grandview Beach subdivisions.


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