There could be a new gem at the gates of Novi.
Tapper’s Jewelry has submitted plans to the city to build a brand new showroom at the northeast corner of Eight Mile and Haggerty on the site of the old Big Boy restaurant, which closed last year.
Plans call for the demolition of the old restaurant building and the creation of a nearly 8,500 square foot building that would house the space of the high-end jewelry retailer at the busy intersection on the border with the Township. from Northville.
“It’s the first thing you see coming north on Haggerty,” said Ed Doyle, vice president of Southfield-based JGA, a branded environments company working with Tapper’s on the project. “The same with Eight Mile coming from the east. We think it’s a very, very important site.”
The plans would see several trees added to the property, with the new building being constructed closer to the intersection to give it more visibility.
The plan was submitted to the Novi Planning Commission at its August 25 meeting held at the Novi Civic Center. The commissioner recommended approval of the plans at his meeting, sending it to city council.
Katrina Barbey, president of Tapper’s and resident of Novi, said they hope to get the proper approvals so the company can begin construction on the new building in October.
“This project is close to my heart,” she said. “We are very happy to become the landowner of this incredible property.”
Tapper’s currently operates several showrooms in the Detroit Metro, including West Bloomfield Township, Somerset Collection in Troy, and the Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi. A smaller one, shop by appointment also recently opened in Birmingham city center.
Several planning commissioners said they weren’t sure about the plans originally, but changed their minds when they saw the renderings and what was planned at the site. This included Commissioner Gary Becker, who said it was a better option to introduce visitors to Novi than the usual corner deals.
“I think it’s an absolutely perfect use,” he said. “It is a magnificent bridge building.
“It’s really better than another Big Boy, a fast food restaurant or a gas station.”
The site has remained largely vacant since the restaurant closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The restaurant parking was used as a transit area earlier this summer for a demonstration organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition to protest the defeat of former President Donald Trump to current President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. This protest, which has continued weekly, has since moved to a other vacant land at Seven Mile and Farmington in Livonia.
While he agreed with the plans and thought it was a good fit, Commissioner John Avdoulos pointed to potential safety issues being so close to a major highway.
Given its location near the Interstate 275 interchange, Avdoulos said safety should be a priority in the event of an incident in the store.
“It’s easy access to the freeway. I just want you to be aware of that,” he said. “Whoever did the damage will be long gone before anyone else gets there.”