St. Clair Shores has entered into a purchase agreement with MMD Acquisitions LLC for lakefront property it owns south of Veterans Memorial Park.

St. Clair Shores has entered into a purchase agreement with MMD Acquisitions LLC for lakefront property it owns south of Veterans Memorial Park.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Purchase agreement approved for Jefferson property

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 9, 2021


ST. CLAIR SHORES — A parcel of land along Lake St. Clair is closer to being developed after members of City Council approved a purchase agreement from MMD Acquisitions LLC.

The 1.89 acres of land was given to the city by the Holzhauer Trust in December 2016. The approximately 100-foot-wide by 550-foot-deep piece of property was signed over to the city at that time with an agreement that the city could sell the property to be developed as it sees fit and use the money to improve Veterans Memorial Park or Blossom Heath Park.

Since that time, the city first developed a marketing plan and then listed the property for sale for $1.2 million with a local broker. Initially, several residential properties south of the property were also included in the offer, for a total of $1.6 million, but those residents have since removed their properties from the parcel for sale.

City Council members said no offers had been made on the property until the $800,000 offer by MMD Acquisitions LLC, of Royal Oak, made in December 2020.

At the Jan. 19 City Council meeting, City Manager Matthew Coppler said the item had been on and off the City Council agenda as city staff and City Attorney Robert Ihrie worked through the details of the purchase agreement.

“The key sticking point on this particular offer to purchase was the amount of time in which the purchaser had to accomplish their due diligence,” Ihrie said at the Jan. 19 City Council meeting. “They wanted 10 months. We have reduced it down to a period of five months.”

The purchase agreement states that MMD Acquisitions will deposit $10,000 in earnest money into an escrow account upon the execution of the purchase agreement and then have five months for due diligence before the sale goes through.

The time will allow the developer to get plans moved through the Planning Commission, City Council and, perhaps, the Zoning Board of Appeals, Ihrie said, noting that environmental issues, the seawall and groundwater concerns are also minor matters that may need to be addressed.

“They’re concerned, recognizing how sometimes things can get moved and adjourned. They want the opportunity to put their development before the Planning Commission, and the Planning Commission put it before City Council,” he said. “It’s very possible that could be accomplished prior to the 150 days.”

Councilman John Caron said that explanation made him more comfortable with the due diligence period, when the city is essentially taking the property off of the market without it being formally sold.

“We’re just kind of making this agreement, rather than making the sale go through ... (knowing) what the plan is going to be before we actually sell it,” he said.

Councilwoman Candice Rusie said she was happy with the offer since it was the first one the city had received for the property.

“I think this is a pretty nice offer to receive, and I’m looking forward to seeing that property utilized,” Rusie said. “And for us to see the benefit we were hoping for.”

The property’s current zoning is residential lakefront, but Community Development and Inspection Director Chris Rayes said the developer will be able to propose conditional rezoning, since the intent is to construct some type of residential condominiums. In 2018, before any offer was made, City Council had approved a conditional rezoning of the property from single family lakeshore residential district to multiple-family residential district high rise to allow for developers to submit plans for a condominium project on the property.

Rayes told City Council members that the amount was a solid offer.

Because the city will still own the property during the transition period, it will still be responsible for maintenance until the sale goes through.

City Council voted 7-0 to approve the purchase agreement.

“This is our first offer; it’s been a number of years,” Mayor Kip Walby said. “It will be nice to finally move it forward, so let’s hope we’re able to do that. (There is) more work to be done, but it’s a good step.”