Old Save-A-Lot building demolished; causes damage to nearby park

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 19, 2016

 The demolition process is expected to continue until the end of the month as debris will be cleared from the area.

The demolition process is expected to continue until the end of the month as debris will be cleared from the area.

Photo by Mike Koury

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FERNDALE — Demolition of the old Save-A-Lot building, 430 W. Nine Mile Road, has commenced and will continue until the end of the month, according to the city.

The Save-A-Lot will be replaced by Ferndalehaus Lofts, a four-story, 90-unit residential structure with studio apartments and two-bedroom units, as well as 1,345 square feet of office space.

Demolition began this past week, while some work underground was done the previous week, according to City Planner Justin Lyons.

“There’s work kind of scheduled to be done through the end of the month, as far as demolition,” he said.

As far as what’s next with Ferndalehaus, Lyons said the building plans are in review right now, with the electrical and mechanical aspects of it being looked over, and once those plans are approved, work on the foundation and any underground work can begin.

“Those are being finalized and making sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed,” he said. “And so they’re expecting to be done with the project probably early fall 2017.”

Part of the demolition process damaged some of the land at Henry A. Schiffer Memorial Park, which resides next to the land currently undergoing construction.

Schiffer was a former mayor and city councilman for whom the park was named in the 1980s after he was diagnosed with cancer, from which he died.

Schiffer’s daughter, Liz Schiffer Trombley, saw the damage done to the park named after her father on Facebook, and said it made her a little sad.

Her concerns about the damage were heard by Mayor Dave Coulter, who replied to her on the social media site and said the park will be repaired.

“I hope it happens,” she said. “I’ll kind of wait and see. I’m not skeptical. I’m just not, like, going to get over-excited right now.

“But if what Mayor Coulter said happens, then I’m OK with it. I understand sometimes you have to take a step back for progress to happen,” she said.

Lyons said the park actually touched one of the walls of the Save-A-Lot building, so the damage to the park was something for which they already had prepared.

“That was always going to be something that the developer was going to be required to rebuild,” he said. “And, throughout the process, we’ve been working with the developer on improvements to the park. And so those will be to come as part of the process. But anything that’s been damaged in the park is all scheduled to be replaced and potentially updated.”

The repairs to the park, Lyons said, won’t come until later in the development process.

“I would say that it probably will not completely be done in the short term this summer, but once the plans are solidified, it’s just a matter of does it makes sense to do it while the building is being done, or waiting until it’s further ready to open,” he said.

As for the Ferndalehaus project as a whole, Schiffer Trombley said she’s sort of on the fence about it, as some previous city projects have sounded great but didn’t turn out to be so, but she thinks it’s better than what was there before.

“I’d rather have something there than a vacant building and a parking lot,” she said.

She also was curious as to how the project will affect the downtown’s parking situation and whether it will cause more congestion. Lyons said he doesn’t think the new apartments will cause congestion.

“It may not eliminate the parking issues the downtown has, but if it doesn’t add to the problem, then I guess I’m OK with it,” Schiffer Trombley said.

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