FLINT TOWNSHIP, MI — Morris Peterson couldn’t erase the smile from his face.

As architects discussed the preliminary designs and layouts of his new business, the former Michigan State basketball star realized he was fulfilling another dream come true on Tuesday afternoon.

Spring of 2017 is the projected grand opening for “Mo Pete’s Sports Retreat.”

Peterson’s upcoming sports bar and grill is located in the outdoor village of the Genesee Valley Center, between Bar Louie and Barnes & Noble.

The motto is: “Mo Food. Mo Sports. Mo Fun.”

“I grew up shopping here and coming to a lot of the stores here so to have something here means a lot to me,” Peterson said. “I’m blessed. I just want to bring good food, good experience and sports to the area.”

Flint-based Bill Carr Signs wrapped the building with Peterson’s logo early Tuesday. As soon as the sign was installed, a man on the street approached the former 11-year NBA veteran about a position.

Peterson’s goal is to create more jobs for local residents with his latest investment. Visitors can also expect to see plenty of sports memorabilia — including his personal MSU Flintstone keepsakes.

“It’s going to be about great moments in sports history,” Peterson said. “When you look at the Fab Five, us Flintstones, the Red Wings, the Tigers, the Lions … I’m a sports fanatic so this is a great opportunity.”

Peterson has partnered with Viktor Palushaj, owner of the Old Detroit Burger Bar, and has consulted in Luca’s Chophouse co-founder Nik Gjonaj to bring his business to life.

Nearly nine months of planning has gone into the preliminary process.

Palushaj sees Mo Pete’s someday growing into a bigger franchise with other locations around town. The menu will specialize in New American items with affordable prices.

“This is one of three that we want to do,” Palushaj said. “We’re excited.”

“This is going to be the place to be,” Gjonaj added.

Genesee Valley Center general manager J. Miles McFee and marketing director Cindy Frohriep were also on-site for the initial design meeting. McFee anticipates Peterson’s association being a wonderful collaboration for the shopping center.

“I was only surprised that we were the great space he chose right off the bat,” McFee said. “I only mean that because he had so many other great possibilities in the market, but this is a focal point.”

Peterson’s bar is a little over 3,000 square feet and was formerly identified as the Coldwater Creek women’s clothing store.

Although the local business is coming soon, Peterson will continue to work as a Toronto Raptors sports analyst for The Sports Network (TSN) in Canada, run his World Artist Refuge clothing company and serve the community through his Morris Peterson Jr. Foundation.

“It’s a good combination of guys,” Peterson said. “When you talk about doing business together, these guys are standup guys. Everything lined up with what they do.”


By Eric Woodyard | ewoodyar@mlive.com
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