Following a retail and housing market analysis, Keego Harbor Mayor Rob Kalman said the city has “tremendous potential.”

Following a retail and housing market analysis, Keego Harbor Mayor Rob Kalman said the city has “tremendous potential.”

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Retail, housing studies show Keego potential

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 20, 2020

 Local businesses are pictured in Keego Harbor. Mayor Rob Kalman touted two “great studies” that were conducted on behalf of the city.

Local businesses are pictured in Keego Harbor. Mayor Rob Kalman touted two “great studies” that were conducted on behalf of the city.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Bob Gibbs, of the Gibbs Planning Group in Birmingham, said Keego Harbor is a “greatly under-served area for restaurants and retail shops.”

Bob Gibbs, of the Gibbs Planning Group in Birmingham, said Keego Harbor is a “greatly under-served area for restaurants and retail shops.”

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Advertisement

KEEGO HARBOR — Mayor Rob Kalman recently touted the city’s “tremendous potential.”

What helped give Kalman an optimistic outlook were studies conducted by the Gibbs Planning Group in Birmingham. He said the studies were a “sizable investment” for the city, with $25,000 being authorized to perform research, conduct a series of focus groups with residents and business owners, and then produce the two reports.

Those interested in viewing information from the studies can visit keegoharbor.org.

The group conducted both a retail and a housing market analysis.

Kalman referred to it as a “wonderful project,” headed by Bob Gibbs.

The group shared the results of the study last fall, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were looking at how we can help develop not just the business district, but the residential area, as well,” Kalman said. “And then COVID hit. … They’re great studies. Bob Gibbs is a wonderful regional planner; he’s globally recognized. … That was something we’re (going to) talk about, as to how we move forward with that, given the reality of the new situation, this new normal.”

Gibbs said Keego Harbor is “a greatly under-served area for restaurants and retail shops. People are driving a considerable distance to go there because of the charm and the lakes. (We) found that people are driving maybe 15 to 30 minutes to get there, coming from Clarkston and West Bloomfield, Commerce. … We also found a really strong demand for upscale apartments and upscale homes, single family and condominium homes, especially from empty nesters who are living in the Bloomfields, that we think would like to have a new place to move.”

The wealth that surrounds Keego Harbor could be advantageous for the city.

“It does have a potential to tap into that fairly wealthy Bloomfield, West Bloomfield, Commerce crowd, and the lakes areas in the Waterfords,” Gibbs said. “Especially if it could morph itself into a walkable village, like a little Franklin Village or Harbor Springs or something like that. … It’s this interesting little pocket that’s surrounded by considerable wealth. I think it had the same incomes as what you would find if you did a 15-minute drive from Bloomfield to Birmingham.”

Kalman discussed what he would like to accomplish before the end of the year.

“We’re always looking at how to manage our finances extremely well,” he said. “For me, personally, it’s always manage finances, keep your city, staff and public safe. We’re going to work with the Planning Commission and start identifying some revised goals. We had some that we started with pre-COVID, if you will. We’re going to evaluate what we can do most efficiently for the remainder of the year.”

The wealth that surrounds Keego Harbor has grabbed Kalman’s attention, and he would like to take advantage of the findings from the Gibbs Planning Group.

“One of the goals we had pre-COVID was to follow up on these two studies,” Kalman said. “There’s tremendous potential in Keego Harbor, and even though we’re dealing with COVID, it’s not (going to) hold us back in the long-term. It’s something to aspire to.”

Kalman said he thinks the potential in Keego Harbor is “limitless in some ways.”

“We’ve got a tremendous community,” he said. “We’ve got great business owners, and I think we’re developing, at least my hope is, we develop a good public-private partnership in moving Keego forward. … I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

Advertisement