A 52-unit condominium project in West Bloomfield could be complete by early 2023. According to West Bloomfield Township Supervisor Steven Kaplan, a consultant recommended “different types of housing” within the township.

A 52-unit condominium project in West Bloomfield could be complete by early 2023. According to West Bloomfield Township Supervisor Steven Kaplan, a consultant recommended “different types of housing” within the township.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Housing options in West Bloomfield are expected to be more diverse in coming years

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 5, 2020

 Hunter Pasteur Homes CEO Randy Wertheimer said, “We just started construction on our first building” for a 52-unit condominium project near 14 Mile Road and Middlebelt. The township would like to diversify its housing options.

Hunter Pasteur Homes CEO Randy Wertheimer said, “We just started construction on our first building” for a 52-unit condominium project near 14 Mile Road and Middlebelt. The township would like to diversify its housing options.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 The Reserve of Beverly Crest in West Bloomfield was described as a “prestigious enclave of 11 new single-family homes.” An update to the township’s master plan could include “housing for all different types of people.”

The Reserve of Beverly Crest in West Bloomfield was described as a “prestigious enclave of 11 new single-family homes.” An update to the township’s master plan could include “housing for all different types of people.”

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Advertisement

WEST BLOOMFIELD — When it comes to the types of housing in West Bloomfield, residents may notice a more diverse look in upcoming years.

According to Township Supervisor Steven Kaplan, in 2018, the township paid a consultant $25,000 to conduct a residential housing study.

“We (want to) attract younger families, and we want families who have lived in West Bloomfield, but now children are no longer living at home; they might want to downsize. They want to stay in West Bloomfield, and we want them to stay in West Bloomfield. So the recommendation was you need different types of housing,” Kaplan said.

Diversification can help attract more than just those looking to own a home.

“We haven’t built a new apartment building in 40 years here,” Kaplan said. “But millennials are less interested in owning homes than their predecessors of 20 years ago. … There are people who would like to live in an upper echelon apartment building. … To that effect, one is being built as we’re speaking — 14 and Orchard Lake, behind Panera Bread. That’s a four-story, 192-unit apartment complex — probable rent would be $2,000 per month.”

The options for housing diversity don’t end there.

“The housing study also showed that we can use more cluster homes,” Kaplan said. “They’re built close to one another, promoting a neighborhood feel. People are desirous of cluster homes. People are desirous of condominiums. … That’s a very good example of what is occurring in West Bloomfield and will continue to occur.”

One of those examples is a 52-unit condominium project located near 14 Mile and Middlebelt roads, at the site of what was formerly Eagle Elementary School.

The project is being developed by Hunter Pasteur Homes.

Randy Wertheimer is Hunter Pasteur’s CEO.

“We just started construction on our first building,” Wertheimer said, and he anticipates the project will be complete by around the end of 2022 or early 2023.

“We’re developing a 52-unit condo project targeted at empty-nesters, with prices from about $475,000 to $600,000,” Wertheimer said. “They want something new, beautiful and nice, with a bedroom on the main floor. So, we’re providing a condo project to that empty-nester who can’t get a new construction condo in a great location in the high four’s or $500,000 range because everything’s 20, 30, 40, 50 years old. … There’s something to be said about brand new.”

Kaplan suspects that some of the ideas from the housing study could eventually be incorporated into the township’s master plan.

A master plan is a long-term planning document that provides a conceptual layout to guide future growth and development.

It includes analysis, recommendations and proposals.

The township’s last master plan review was in 2015.

“Under state law, a township is required every five years to review its master plan,” Kaplan said. “The reviewing body is not the township board, it’s the Planning Commission. …  Ultimately, the board votes on this, but the Planning Commission instigates it.”

Amy Neary is the township’s planning and development services director, which is a role she has been in for approximately two years.

“They have determined, the Planning Commission, that we need to update our entire master plan, that it needs to be updated to reflect the current conditions in the township, our current demographics, and make sure it’s in line with how we see the township growing in the next 20 years,” Neary said.

The housing study that was conducted for the township has also been on Neary’s mind.

“The Planning Commission really would like to see the results of that incorporated into our residential plan, within the master plan, so that we’re planning for the appropriate types of residential housing in the community, making sure that we have housing for all different types of people — young families, empty-nesters, seniors, etc.,” Neary said.

Kaplan discussed the next major step in the master plan review process.

“The township board considering the request of the Planning Commission for funding — in other words, to hire a consultant,” he said. “Ultimately, the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the township board on revising the master plan from 2015, and the board either says yes, no, or adopts some and not other proposals.”

Kaplan expects a vote to take place by the end of the year.

“The township board has not voted on the request of the Planning Commission to hire a consultant,” he said. “We think it’ll be near $110,000. Generally, a township board will adopt the Planning Commission’s recommendation because they are the experts.”

If the board approves the recommendation to hire a consultant, the process from there could be a somewhat lengthy one.

“Might take six to nine months for the consultant to complete his study,” Kaplan said. “This is a major undertaking. … Sometime in 2021, mid to later part of 2021, there (will) be a recommendation to the township board to amend the 2015 master plan.”

Kaplan is a proponent of diversifying housing options.

“Not only does it help with the tax base, but we’re enabling younger families to move into West Bloomfield, and maybe older members, older couples, to remain in West Bloomfield,” he said.

A more diversified housing market isn’t the only potential change coming to West Bloomfield.

“That’s why the master plan’s important,” Kaplan said. “Some areas are strictly earmarked for residences, for office buildings, others for retail, or you might have a combination thereof. That’s another area where we’re striving to attract, mixed-use development.”

A vacant Barnes & Noble building located between 14 Mile and 15 Mile roads, off of Orchard Lake Road, has the potential to be utilized for that kind of development.

“You might have a mixed-use development, which all communities now strive for,” Kaplan said. “So, what does it mean? … You might have retail businesses on the first floor, and then condominiums on the second, third and fourth floors. So, it’s a mixed use. That’s considered the Cadillac of land use.”

Aside from housing, there is also another facet of a potential master plan Neary is enthused about.

“The other thing that excites me is looking at these smaller commercial areas we have and, hopefully, identifying some creative ways that we can improve those areas and encourage new development,” she said.

Neary shared some specifics.

“We have some smaller commercial areas that haven’t seen a lot of investment in the last 10 years, along Cooley Lake Road,” she said. “There’s some commercial at the intersection of Middlebelt and Orchard Lake Road. There hasn’t been much investment in there over the last 10 years. How can we help attract investment in those areas and make sure that those areas are sustainable in the future?”

Neary’s position allows her to play a part in helping to shape the development of West Bloomfield Township.

“It’s an exciting process to go through, the master plan — updating the master plan and kind (of) thinking about what the possibility of future development could be in the township.”

Advertisement