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 The former site of American Legion Post No. 261 near the intersection of Utica Road and Gratiot Avenue is being developed by the city of Roseville as part of a continued push to build up the Utica Junction area as a downtown.

The former site of American Legion Post No. 261 near the intersection of Utica Road and Gratiot Avenue is being developed by the city of Roseville as part of a continued push to build up the Utica Junction area as a downtown.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Roseville accepting proposals for Utica Junction development

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 25, 2020

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ROSEVILLE — Roseville is taking applications from developers who are interested in developing two sites in the Utica Junction area that are owned by the city.

Roseville officials are hoping this will help efforts to revitalize the area around Utica Road and Gratiot Avenue.

The city also will be offering incentives for certain developments that could help improve the community and provide jobs.

“We have three individual parcels available along Utica Road,” explained City Manager Scott Adkins. “Two of the sites are the former site of the Tip Top Bar — which burned down — and the third is the former site of the American Legion building. They are all owned by the city, and the first two were acquired by the city in 2012 as a result of our redevelopment strategy with tax forfeiture funds, and the other was acquired in the same way in 2019 using community development block grants to buy the property.”

Roseville is working with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to help fund the incentives offered to potential developers and to organize the application process.

“The baseline of this is the properties qualify for a commercial rehabilitation district, so an abatement would be considered,” said Adkins. “Although environmentally clean, they also could qualify for brownfield redevelopment funds, which is for reclamation of obsolete sites. The partnership with the MEDC has led to them offering technical development funding, which will offset costs such as architecture and engineering expenses.”

Nate Scramlin, manager of redevelopment services for the MEDC, stated in a press release that Roseville is the exact type of community the MEDC was hoping to work with and that he has high hopes for the development efforts.

“The MEDC is poised to assist our Certified Redevelopment Ready Communities like Roseville who have created a predictable environment for developers to operate in and identify priority sites where they hope to attract investment,” he stated. “This particular site in the Utica Junction area is a great site — ripe for the mixed-use style of development the city hopes to see there. The MEDC’s Community Development division stands at the ready to assist any developers interested in this property.”

Roseville’s Downtown Development Authority also is happy that years of effort to bring revitalization to the Utica Junction area is finally taking shape.

“We are hopeful to bring in new investors to help us achieve a revitalization of this commercial corridor within our community,” DDA City Council Liaison Colleen McCartney said in an email.

Adkins said there are a variety of businesses that could go into the spaces. The goal is to improve the Roseville community and put the properties back on the tax rolls.

“This area is located within an existing town center district. This could mean they could be single-story buildings or multistory buildings, they could be a traditional business or a restaurant, so there’s some flexibility there,” he said. “Both sites are currently zoned general business and occupy 1.22 acres between them. The goal of all of this is to return the properties to the tax rolls through the redevelopment process, which will increase taxable value and provide more jobs in the community.”

Roseville officials hope to get development going as soon as possible.

“We hope we can get quality development proposals within the next several months and begin moving forward with development by the end of 2020,” Adkins said. “They can apply immediately, and up to Wednesday, April 1. They will go to a review committee with local officials along with professionals from the county and the state, and we hope to award the recipients of these properties by May 1.”

Adkins added that development could bring between $3 million and $8 million into the local economy, according to the MEDC.

Although those who want to bid on the properties can do so without submitting a formal proposal, Adkins said these bidders would be placed at the bottom of the consideration list, as officials want to guide the development process to ensure that whatever goes in is something residents want and need.

“There will be a minimum purchase option of a minimum of $400,000 (per parcel); however, if they bid that low, the incentives wouldn’t be there and they would be the last considered if it’s an outright bid,” he said. “We prefer a development proposal, which brings more value to the table and gives the city more control over the future of the property. We want to guide the future of this area to help determine what is better for residents and other local businesses.”

Roseville officials want to ensure that whatever goes into the Utica Junction area will be successful and agreeable to residents. Adkins described this as another step toward making that portion of the Gratiot corridor into a viable downtown for the city.

“We want to see a track record of successful projects,” he remarked. “Anyone can apply, but we want to see a promise of financial stability in regard to what would be going into these properties. We are hoping this will be a catalyst for other successful developments in the area.”

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