EastpointeOctober 17, 2012
City looks at potential uses for old Colonial Dodge sites
By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer
EASTPOINTE — The city of Eastpointe is assessing uses for two commercial properties included in this year’s tax reversion purchase that feature a wide variety of possibilities for redevelopment.
The old Colonial Dodge lots at 24200 and 24211 Gratiot, positioned on the east and west side of Gratiot, at Stephens, made up the bulk of the cost of this summer’s tax reversion purchase. The list featured 100 properties at a price tag of $1.5 million, and the two Colonial Dodge properties accounted for $1.3 million of that purchase cost.
It’s a lot of money for the city to spend on two parcels at a time when finances are still tight, but they did so with a confidence in profitable resale that has continued to grow since the decision to make the purchase in July.
“It’s certainly clear we can flip these things and get our money back and make a little money,” said City Manager Steve Duchane.
The property along the east side of Gratiot, considered the more marketable parcel due to lot shape, has already received interest from potential buyers throwing out numbers that cover the cost for the entire tax reversion purchase and then some. However, the city has remained dedicated to looking into every marketing and selling possibility before making a decision in hopes of finding a buyer that will use the property in a way that attracts people to the city and increases pedestrian traffic in the area.
“I’d like to see something on the east side that is a little more contemporary commercial that would draw interest and create a higher volume traffic pattern there that would draw shoppers or customers; a place for people to go that is fairly active 24-7; if possible, something that is fairly sustainable and unique and not in competition with any of the other immediate businesses,” Duchane said.
Councilman Ron LaForest also wants to see development that encourages more people to come to the city — to visit and to live.
“I would like to see something along the lines of a microbrewery or a restaurant. I just want anything that would enhance the city, whether it be a restaurant or a brewery or some other showpiece,” LaForest said.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to see another Walgreens or CVS, but the bottom line is money and if a CVS came in and offered us $2 million, we might have to take it,” he added as an example.
Residents seem to feel the same way.
Resident John Hoffman said he’d also like to see a microbrewery.
“I would like to see a microbrewery like the WAB on Woodward or a dance club to attract 20-somethings to the area,” Hoffman, 26, said. “If not something like that, maybe a satellite school.”
Resident Veronica Klinefelt, whose street butts up to one of the lots, said she would like to see some type of eatery come in to one of the lots.
“Not a chain, but a unique restaurant,” she said. “Cloverleaf is famous for its pizza; it’s not a chain and it brings people to the area. Something like that, that would complement and not compete with Cloverleaf. We have enough pharmacy-type stores and dollar stores. I’d like to see something unique and unusual.”
A comprehensive property analysis performed by CRESA, a division of Plant Moran, didn’t note the sites as being marketable as restaurant locations but offered further insight into the possibilities for the properties.
“Aside from the auto sale use, we believe you could consider a couple different repurposing concepts, including: mixed use concept of office and small market, Salvation Army/Good Will retail, automotive education facility and office,” the report stated of the property along the east side of Gratiot, noting the downside of converting the existing garage space into traditional indoor space as part of the reasoning that helped develop their list of marketable options for the property.
On the west side of Gratiot, the property is a little trickier with a lot that extends 800 feet back behind the building, bordered on each side by residential housing, and because of that, building would have to be limited to single-story structures. CRESA suggested an open-air farmers market, medical office condos or self-storage units.
The property analysis was based on current economic trends and area demographics.
Their report on industrial and business vacancy rates showed improvement from 2011 to 2012 with industrial vacancy rates dropping from 13.8 percent in 2011 to 12.2 percent in 2012, and office vacancy rates dropping from 19.2 percent in 2011 to 18.7 percent in 2012. However, a table included in the report of commercial properties for sale in Eastpointe showed only three sales of similar properties on a list of 34 properties total.
Still, the CRESA report wasn’t negative.
“Up until recently, vacancy rates for almost all land uses in the Detroit metro region were at levels where demand for new developments was close to zero. Aside from the retail and residential sectors, which still suffer from high vacancy rates and negative absorption, other real estate sectors are starting to see positive absorption.”
The news overall is positive, but the hope for a fancy new development might have to be postponed. Duchane explained that the average median income of families within a five-mile radius of the property dictates marketability.
“Whatever (is) the median family income is what generates the most retail opportunity,” he said. “It couldn’t draw anything too upscale because of the median family income.”
The median family income for the area is $51,000-$59,000. Duchane said with that median income for the area, something like an ALDI would fit well, but that’s not necessarily what he’d like to see there.
“I have no practical reason to be against an ALDI’s or something like that, but I was looking for something that was just not found in this immediate area,” Duchane said.
He is going to continue to look into other options, and he mentioned a few, ranging from a new Department of Public Works location, or police impound yard and farmers market, or public pavilion on the property to the west of Gratiot, to a mixed-use office and retail plaza on the east side of Gratiot.
For now, the city will look at the pros and cons of holding on to the properties for a short while longer in hopes of further market improvement, hiring a listings broker to sell the properties or requesting proposals for speculative or proactive redevelopment of the properties by area firms.
“It’s exciting,” Duchane said. “I’ve heard all types of suggestions, from pawn shops to a mass transit hub. It’s certainly got me stimulated about options and alternatives. The next thing we need to do is decide how we want to approach those options and begin talking with the council about what they want, and the Planning Commission about any restrictions, but zoned commercial as they are, I don’t think there will be anything much to worry about there.”
What would you like to see at the old Colonial Dodge lots? Email Staff Writer Sara Kandel at email@example.com with your name, age and suggestions/hopes for the two properties, and your opinion could be included in future stories on the development of the properties.
- Last 7 Days
- Last 30 Days
- Missing woman found dead - West Bloomfield
- BHS Orchestra selected to perform at Carnegie Hall - Berkley
- Emagine scraps plans for Roseville location - Roseville
- All in the family - Clinton Township
- Man robs Roseville bank - Roseville
- Christmas Wonderfest brings holiday wonder to Novi - Metro Detroit
- Police seek help in fatal hit-and-run - Clinton Township
- Shelby boy battles rare form of cancer - Shelby Township
- Lions Thanksgiving halftime show spotlights WLC band, cheer teams - Walled Lake
- Mom, man she met online to stand trial on child sex charge - Warren
- Macomb Home Depot creates college scholarship in honor of deceased employee - Macomb Township
- East Detroit student dies following pool accident - Eastpointe
- Attorney dies in Harper Avenue crash - St. Clair Shores
- CVHS students to stage production of ‘Hairspray’ - Clinton Township
- Sterling woman hurt in shooting - Sterling Heights
- Christmas comes to the Shores - St. Clair Shores
- County board considers regional water authority proposal - Macomb County
- Shelby boy battles rare form of cancer
- Lions Thanksgiving halftime show spotlights WLC band, cheer teams
- BHS Orchestra selected to perform at Carnegie Hall
- Macomb Home Depot creates college scholarship in honor of deceased employee
- Child prodigy becomes youngest artist exhibited at Park West Gallery
- All in the family
- Christmas Wonderfest brings holiday wonder to Novi