Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge partner on proposed $25M-$35M redevelopment project

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 26, 2017

FERNDALE/PLEASANT RIDGE — The cities of Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge are working together on a proposed project that would bring a market, a brewpub and apartments to a stretch of land.

The project, called the Iron Ridge District, covers about 13 acres of land, 25 parcels and 220,000 square feet of building space in the cities, spanning 3155-3351 Bermuda St., 3164-3350 Bermuda St. and 660 E. 10 Mile Road in Ferndale, and 400-404 E. 10 Mile Road and 660 E. 10 Mile Road in Pleasant Ridge.

The project is being proposed by Dennis Griffin, of Iron Ridge Holdings, with the development team of CG Emerson Real Estate Group; Griffin’s business partner, Greg Cooksey; and development partners Milford Singer Development Co. and First Holding Management Co.

“The proposal is to redevelop the whole kind of campus with kind of an interesting mix of uses — microbrewery, brewpub, some event space, and a long market where you’ve got food producers and kind of, like, a food market place,” Pleasant Ridge City Manager James Breuckman said. “It’s really kind of an interesting mix. And they’ve also got some apartments they want to build on Bermuda.”

Recently, both cities approved that the Oakland County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority would undertake the review of the project and its brownfield plan to redevelop the area.

“Given that it’s an old steel plant and that the building where ePrize was was on the railroad tracks, there are some environmental issues that exist out there,” Breuckman said. “The reason we’re using Oakland County for it is, for one thing, Pleasant Ridge, we don’t have a brownfield authority because we don’t have a lot of these sites. And given the fact that it’s in both communities, it’s easier for Oakland County to do the brownfield plan and to administer that so they can do a unified kind of counting and bookkeeping for it all.”

The land includes the former ePrize and Walker Wire buildings, which have since moved. The developers look to be investing anywhere from $25 million to $35 million on their part for the project, which would build “a market space, beer garden and brewery, and provide additional office and commercial space,” according to Pleasant Ridge city documents. “The campus will include the renovation of additional buildings that will be occupied by tech offices, professional offices, a fitness center, and commercial and manufacturing space. The construction of new apartment complexes to complement the site are also proposed in the eastern portion.”

The apartments include 105 units, Griffin said at a recent Ferndale City Council meeting.

“We’ve been really working together to make sure that we can attack this set of real estate and put it back into its next productive use in a more friendly way,” he said. “I say ‘friendly’ in that we want it to be activated with people in a pedestrian level.”

Griffin added that he and the developers “want this to be, really, a showpiece for everyone to enjoy. Bermuda is a gateway into Ferndale from the north … and we want to really be appropriate curators for the real estate and our clients that come into the buildings.”

During the meeting, Councilman Greg Pawlica asked if there was any chance of adding more green space to the land, as the site plan didn’t show much.

“I look at the renderings, and the renderings show, you know, some green, but I look at the site plan and I see a lot of concrete,” he said. “I see a lot of parking, and it would really be great to see maybe the conversion of one of your buildings into a parking structure and kind of greening some of those open spaces.”

Griffin said their goal is to “100 percent” add more green space.

“The plan that you’re seeing here is what we call our flat plan, and it’s more of an organizational tool instead of the final engineering,” he said.

Breuckman said the developers haven’t applied for any permits yet, but that getting the brownfield approved is the first major step they need to go through.

“They can’t really do much of any development work until the brownfield plan is approved,” he said. “Once that happens, they can start to pull their permits, they can start to go through the approval processes with us and with Ferndale.”