Tennis House site plan vote moved to March

By: K. Michelle Moran, | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 15, 2017

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — A proposal to redevelop the Tennis House building and property — at 360 Moselle Place — into a small condominium complex will be in front of the Grosse Pointe Farms City Council for final site plan approval next month.

During a meeting Feb. 6, the Farms City Council voted unanimously to adjourn the public hearing on the Tennis House to a March meeting. Although that meeting was initially slated to take place March 6, City Manager Shane Reeside said that due to scheduling conflicts for some on the council, it will now take place March 13. He said neighbors living near the proposed development would be re-noticed because of the change.

“The city moved the Tennis House site plan approval request to March in order to allow the developer additional time to submit all required plans and documents, and allow administration additional time for thorough review of the same,” Reeside explained by email.

Developer Matt Kornmeier, director of property management for Birmingham-based ANK Enterprises, is a Farms resident who lives near the Tennis House and has been a member of the small private club for years. He said he and his family purchased the club in August 2013 and made a number of renovations to attract new members, but they were unable to attract enough to render keeping it open as a single-court tennis club “economically feasible,” he said.

Kornmeier’s proposal calls for 10 single-family condo units to be created inside the Tennis House building and another four detached units to be located in front of the building, to create a more natural transition from the adjacent residential neighborhood. During a Farms City Council meeting Aug. 15, the council voted unanimously in favor of conditionally rezoning the Tennis House property from community recreation to multi-family; creating a planned unit development, or PUD, overlay on the property; and giving approval for the preliminary site plan.

Although some neighbors have voiced opposition to the proposal — saying it will increase traffic in the area and hurt property values — others in the community have supported the concept, saying that this project preserves an important architectural and historical landmark while providing a needed form of housing for professionals and snowbirds who want to downsize but still stay in the Farms.

“Generally, I’m not opposed to multi-family (housing) in Grosse Pointe Farms … My concern is that 360 Moselle Place is not the appropriate place (for it),” Moselle Place resident Jon Strong said last year. “This lot simply was not designed in any way, shape or form … to accommodate this type of development.”

An independent traffic study conducted last year by Tappan K. Datta, a professor of civil and environmental engineering with the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group, determined that traffic wouldn’t be a problem under the condo proposal.

“The number (of vehicular trips) generated by (the proposed multifamily use) is very low compared to other land uses. … I believe that this is the best traffic scenario you can have (even) compared to the existing (use),” Datta said last year.

The dome-shaped Tennis House was built in 1935 and opened in 1936 as a private club for notable locals including Edsel Ford, Allan Shelden, Arthur Gardner and Ernest Kanzler. Dwindling membership and the high costs to maintain and upgrade the building’s single clay court are among the factors Kornmeier said led him to consider creating a new use for the Tennis House.

At press time, the site plan hearing was slated to take place at 7 p.m. March 13 at the Pier Park community building, which can accommodate a larger audience than Farms City Hall, where council meetings usually are held. An agenda wasn’t available at press time, but it should be ready online in advance of the meeting. For an agenda or more information, visit www.grossepointefarms.org.