City OKs brownfield plan for Ferndalehaus development

Construction could begin in May

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published April 5, 2016


FERNDALE — The Ferndale City Council has approved a combined brownfield plan for a 90-unit residential structure that will be built on the site of the former Save-A-Lot.

The plan for the Ferndalehaus Lofts, which the council unanimously approved at its March 28 meeting, still needs final approval by the state to go ahead.

According to Brownfield and Economic Incentives Consultant Jessica DeBone, a brownfield plan allows for tax capture on any new taxes that are generated on the property following the investment being made by the developer, Designhaus Architecture.

Brownfield plans are for projects that have sites that are blighted, contaminated, functionally obsolete, or for historic properties that will be redeveloped. The Save-A-Lot property, located at 430 W. Nine Mile Road, was considered functionally obsolete.

The development, approved last fall by the Ferndale Planning Commission, will consist of a four-story structure with 90 units that will be studio apartments or two-bedroom units. There also will be 1,345 square feet of office space made available for lease.

DeBone said the important thing to know about a brownfield plan is that Designhaus will have to make the investment before it sees the benefit, and then following development, Designhaus will be able to capture new tax revenue generated on the property to cover its eligible costs.

“They most likely wouldn’t get anything back until the project is complete,” she said.

City Planner Justin Lyons said that going forward with the project without the brownfield assistance could have resulted in having higher costs passed on to the residents who will live in that building.

“That could result in higher rents and lower-quality materials,” he said. “When the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, when they reviewed this, that was a consideration.”

Designhaus Chief Architect Peter Stuhlreyer said the next step is to obtain a demolition permit to take down the Save-A-Lot building, as well as other permits for fencing and site fencing. The hope is to see something happen at the site in May.

“It should take about 16 months to build,” he said.

Lyons said the site plan for the project has remained the same since its approval in the fall, as any major changes to it would have to be sent back to the Planning Commission for approval