The Sisters of Mercy chapel at 29000 11 Mile Road, known as Catherine’s Place, is being proposed to be renovated and redeveloped into a memory care center.

The Sisters of Mercy chapel at 29000 11 Mile Road, known as Catherine’s Place, is being proposed to be renovated and redeveloped into a memory care center.

File photo by Jonathan Shead


Sisters of Mercy PUD approved for senior living community

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published October 26, 2020

 The 15.57-acre Sisters of Mercy Farmington Hills parcel, 29000 11 Mile Road, has been approved to be redeveloped into an assisted senior living community by the City Council.

The 15.57-acre Sisters of Mercy Farmington Hills parcel, 29000 11 Mile Road, has been approved to be redeveloped into an assisted senior living community by the City Council.

File photo by Jonathan Shead

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Plans to transition the Sisters of Mercy parcel, adjacent to the Costick Activities Center, into a senior living community continued forward Sept. 28 as Farmington Hills City Council members voted 4-1 to approve the planned unit development for the site.

Mayor Vicki Barnett and Council member Samantha Steckloff were absent from the meeting. Council member Jackie Boleware was the opposing vote.

The Farmington Hills Planning Commission recommended the PUD approval to council in a unanimous vote Aug. 20.

The now-approved development will transform 15.57 acres of the 53.66-acre purchased by developers Edward Rose & Sons, of Bloomfield Hills, into a new senior living community, Rose Senior Living.

Edward Rose & Sons Land Acquisition and Planning Director Mark Perkoski said the site plan will include a four-story building with 170 independent living apartments and a three-story, 90-apartment assisted living building.

The chapel, Catherine’s Place, on the parcel will be repurposed as a memory care facility as part of a separate site plan application “when we’re ready to have that come online,” Perkoski said.

The rest of the property includes a 34.18-acre conservation easement, which is protected from development. Edward Rose & Sons plans to allow the city to use 3.91 acres south of the Costick Activities Center for detached senior residential housing, if they wish.

The developers sought relief through the PUD process for the proposed building height, the floor-to-area ratio and signage. Under the zoning district’s normal conditions, buildings are not permitted to exceed 30 feet; however, the proposed buildings will stand at about 42 and 54 feet, respectively.

Rod Arroyo, of Giffels Webster, the city’s civil engineering and community planning consultant, said the current floor-to-area ratio, 0.45, that developers are seeking relief on comes from condensing the building sizes to be taller rather than wide. This provides more separation from the development to the Farmington Meadows subdivision that sits to the east of the property, he said.

However, Boleware would have rather seen “something spread out a little more, rather than just going up.”

“My primary consideration was the fact that we’re going to a four-story building. That’s going to change the character of the neighborhood,” she said as the primary reason for voting against. “Although there is a church steeple that is about 60 feet high, it’s no comparison to a large building that they’re (proposing) there. That’s not even an equivalency.”

Arroyo explained that he felt the developers had approached the impacts of the building heights in a considerate and sensitive manner. Residents may see some of the building if they’re “looking hard” for it, he said, but he doesn’t believe it will be seen that much.

Disapproval of the proposed project didn’t only come from Boleware, either. A Farmington Hills resident spoke out during public comment, citing concerns that traffic is already an issue in the area while Mercy High School is dismissing students, and believed this could cause a bigger issue.

She thinks the city should take over the site and develop it as a park.

“It should be made into a natural place for everybody to share,” she said.

Council member Mary Newlin shared concerns of traffic increases brought on by the site’s new use.

Perkoski said Edward Rose & Sons did a traffic study and found there would not be a huge impact or increase. Additionally, with the city’s plans to move many of the Costick Center programs, aside from Adults 50 & Better Division offerings, to The Hawk, the city’s new community center at the former Harrison High School, Mayor Pro Tem Valerie Knol believes any issues with traffic would be diminished and transferred to that area.

The Sisters of Mercy purchased the land back in 1960. In 1984, they moved retired sisters from Iowa to the property. The city purchased half of the Mercy Center to create the Costick Center in 1993, and now in 2020, the sisters have decided to sell the property as membership numbers continue to decline and the financial obligations continue to burden the organization.

“We were looking to the future,” Sister Susan Sanders, of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, leader of the Sisters of Mercy West and Midwest congregations, previously told the Farmington Press. “Our community is trying to figure out how to respect the Earth and the carbon footprint on that building and turn it over to someone who could put it to good use for others. …

“We would never consider selling the property just to get rid of it. We wanted to make sure it was a reputable person, and we think Edward Rose is a fantastic partner in this. … We’re not a partner in any legal sense, but certainly a partner in values and trying to provide good care and residential housing for senior citizens.”

Perkoski previously told The Farmington Press that breaking ground at the site would likely occur in 2021, with the finished product open in early 2023.

For more information, visit fhgov.com.

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