The former Our Lady of La Salette School will be redeveloped into a 55-unit apartment complex after developer 2219 Coolidge LLC received a site plan approval from the Berkley Planning Commission Nov. 26.

The former Our Lady of La Salette School will be redeveloped into a 55-unit apartment complex after developer 2219 Coolidge LLC received a site plan approval from the Berkley Planning Commission Nov. 26.

File photo by Mike Koury

La Salette School renovation gets site plan approval

Developer hopes to begin construction in spring

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published December 3, 2019


BERKLEY — The redevelopment of the former Our Lady of La Salette School will move forward after the city of Berkley’s Planning Commission approved a site plan for the project.

At its Nov. 26 meeting, the commission approved a site plan for façade and site changes at the former school, located at 2219 Coolidge Highway.

The developer of the site, 2219 Coolidge LLC, will redevelop the current 22,923-square-foot structure into a multifamily residential building with 55 living units on three floors.

The units will include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, and according to city documents, “the structure will maintain the existing footprint and will not be expanding in area or increasing in height. The façade of the building will include additional windows on each side of the northern part of the building, that was formerly occupied as the gymnasium.”

“We think we’ll probably get a fair amount of people that are working at the hospital,” said developer Steve Friedman, as to the type of occupants who the development might attract.

“That’s what we’re hoping for, and probably existing people that are moving out of their house in Berkley. They want to get out of their house, but they want to stay in the area,” Friedman said.

The developers are hoping to begin the project next year.

“We had hoped to be able to start in the spring, and that’s what we’re shooting for,” Friedman said.

As for what it might cost to live in the apartment complex, Friedman said the price probably would be anywhere from $1,400-$2,200 a month, depending on the size of the unit.

“In terms of price point, we really got to be competitive to the market,” he said. “So everyone is talking about new buildings or renovated buildings roughly $2 a square foot. The smaller units will be more than $2 a square foot. We have some units that are 475-500 square feet. Those are small units. Those will be way higher than 2 bucks, just because of the way it works out.”

The parking requirement for a multifamily residential development is two parking spaces per unit. With 55 units, 2219 Coolidge’s project would require 110 parking spaces. In their site plan, the developers provided 109.

Because the developers are proposing to include bike racks at the site, Community Development Director Erin Schlutow said that they have met the parking requirement.

“(The bike racks) would then satisfy two vehicular parking spaces,” she said. “Therefore, their parking requirement is reduced to 108 parking spaces. So with the proposed 109, they have met that parking requirement.”

The site plan approval obtained by 2219 Coolidge was the last it needed to go ahead with the development, unless it makes substantial changes to the site that would require the project to be reviewed again, Schlutow told the Woodward Talk.

There also were some minor conditions as part of the approval, she stated, dealing with engineering and site improvements to a dog run.

“Those will be reviewed administratively,” Schlutow said. “Once that has been approved administratively, then they can apply for their building permits, and then they can start construction.”

Over the last couple of years, there were plans brought to the city that included tearing down the school building in favor of constructing a new complex. These plans did not receive a positive reception from residents nor from the majority of the commission.

Planning Commissioner Mark Richardson called the project, as it is now, “more in line” with some of the original concepts that were brought to the city when there was first talk about redeveloping the school.

“I was enthusiastic about renovating the old school building, and I think it’s very much aligned with the neighborhood,” he said. “It’s very contextual with the neighborhood. I think it will mostly bring new people to town, which is not a bad thing.”