The Southfield City Council recently approved a plan to place new condos geared toward seniors in an empty lot at Lahser and Duns Scotus.

The Southfield City Council recently approved a plan to place new condos geared toward seniors in an empty lot at Lahser and Duns Scotus.

File photo by Donna Agusti

New condos on Lahser get green light

Development is most ‘significant’ residential project of its kind in decades, officials say

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published January 9, 2019


SOUTHFIELD — The Southfield City Council recently approved a local development company’s plan for a new condominium complex geared toward the city’s aging population.

At a Dec. 17 meeting, the council voted 6-1 to approve a site plan for the complex, which will be built east of Lahser Road, at the northeast corner Duns Scotus Street.

Councilman Don Fracassi voted no on the site plan.

According to the site plan, put forth by Kalabat Engineering, the construction will consist of 30 condominium units in eight buildings and nine detached condominium units.

Iden Kalabat, the president of Kalabat Engineering, said in a previous report that his company has been working with the city for months on the project, which is geared toward the city’s senior population.

“The single-family homes are meant to resemble and really mirror the existing homes on the other side of Duns Scotus and across the street from them,” Kalabat said.

City Planner Terry Croad said the development is the first of its kind in quite some time.

“I’d like to point out this is one of the first significant residential developments that the city of Southfield has seen in at least a decade — not including the apartment complexes,” Croad said.

The new development will have ranch-style homes to accommodate seniors.

“The target of having master bedrooms with the ranch units and the first-floor master units on the entry-level floors is really key to the market here in Southfield and many other local communities surrounding Southfield,” Kalabat said.

While the units have been designed with seniors in mind, Kalabat said they can accommodate people of all ages.

“We feel that these units not only service a specific, targeted demographic, but they also service other demographics — the emerging, starting families still enjoy first-floor master units, so they’re not so exclusive to an aging community,” Kalabat said. “We understand that our residents here in Southfield are trying to settle down on a property they can own and retain ownership of a property, rather than just a rental unit, as well as being able to avoid going up and down stairs on a daily basis.”

Kalabat said the goal is to seamlessly blend in the new construction with the existing homes that surround it.

Included in the plan are nine different architectural styles for the buildings, Croad said.

“It’s not going to be cookie-cutter exact. It’s up to the private market to decide what they want to pick, but we worked closely with the developer in coming up with different alternative architectural elevations and building styles for the Duns Scotus property,” Croad said.

Councilman Dan Brightwell said he was impressed with the project, but he wanted to know more about a plan for stormwater runoff.

Kalabat said a stormwater retention pond is planned for the east side of the site, which will have a pump system that connects to the road drainage system on Lahser.

“(The road drainage system on Lahser) is more capable of handling large volumes, so we’re cognizant of the dangers here with the stormwater runoff, and I assure you we are engineering this thing to make sure it’s able to handle a large amount of water,” Kalabat said.

Fracassi said he voted no because he wanted to make sure the city follows up on how the property will handle the stormwater.

“I am very concerned. When we have a wet spring like we had last year, and the people on the east side of the city got water in the basement, it got really messy,” Fracassi said. “If the water comes down like it did and you see the amount of roofing you have over the land — there isn’t that much vacant land to absorb the water.”