At its Jan. 23 meeting, the Roseville City Council approved the rezoning of the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church in an attempt to make the site more attractive for redevelopment.

At its Jan. 23 meeting, the Roseville City Council approved the rezoning of the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church in an attempt to make the site more attractive for redevelopment.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Roseville City Council votes to rezone former Sacred Heart church property

By: Brian Wells | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 6, 2024


ROSEVILLE — After a self-storage company that once promised to have the bells of the former Sacred Heart church ringing pulled out of the deal, the Roseville City Council voted Jan. 23 to rezone the property from R-1 to B-3 in an attempt to make it more marketable.

At the Roseville City Council’s Sept. 26, 2023, meeting, council members approved the rezoning of three properties — the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Christian Financial Credit Union and a vacant lot — to allow the properties to become indoor self-storage units, enclosed outdoor storage and retail space. However, when Roseville Storage, the developer proposing the plans, pulled out, the conditional zoning reverted back to single-family residential.

Holly Fournier, associate director of communications for the Archdiocese of Detroit, which owns the property, confirmed in an email that the property is back on the market. However, she did not say whether there had been interest in the property since the potential buyers backed out.

“We will have more to share if it comes under contract once again,” she said.

Roseville City Manager Ryan Monroe said the city currently does not have any plans submitted for the property. He also added that he couldn’t say why Roseville Storage backed out.

“I cannot speak with any certainty as to why the storage company made their decision to withdraw from the development plan,” he said in an email.

The Roseville Planning Commission voted Jan. 8 to present the rezoning to the City Council. Initially, the property was zoned as R-1 residential; however, council voted to rezone it to a B-3 business district. According to a report submitted by McKenna, the city’s planning consultant, the rezoning classification is common for properties along major corridors.

According to the report, the property is classified as a “retail gateway” in the future land use map within the city’s master plan. The report defines a retail gateway as “a zone that signals to the users that they are approaching downtown through mixed-use, higher-density development that is designed for all users, (with) slightly larger parcels that (form a) downtown, (with) parking in the rear.”

Land uses designated for this area include bars and restaurants; clothing, apparel, food and beverage stores; art galleries; general retail and personal services; and multifamily residential units.

While the zoning classification would allow for some businesses with a special land use permit, Paul Urbiel, a senior planner with McKenna, wrote that some of the businesses that would normally be allowed — businesses such as car washes, car sales, storage facilities, mortuary establishments and vehicle service stations — should not be permitted.

“We do note that rezoning the parcel would enable all of the uses allowable in B-3, which raises the possibility of conflict between the Master Plan policies and eventual use of this property,” he wrote in the conclusion of the report.

In an email, Monroe said the city has a moratorium on any new car washes, which was passed by City Council in 2023. He said a storage facility would have to go through the planning process and receive approval for any new buildings or alterations of existing businesses, though he didn’t expect it to happen.

“I believe a storage facility at that location is very unlikely to happen,” he said. “Two different proposals were ultimately found to be undesirable by a storage unit developer.”

Monroe said rezoning the property will make it more attractive to any potential developers while also saving potential buyers from having to go through the rezoning process.

“The rezoning will save whoever ends up purchasing the parcel the rezoning process,” he said in an email. “This can take several months. Expediting this portion of the redevelopment could mean the difference between a development starting this year or the next.”

This wasn’t the first time Roseville Storage, a company related to MySpace Self Storage, presented plans for the property. In 2020, the company presented plans that received “broad community support” and all necessary approvals, according to the agenda packet item from the Sept. 26 meeting. However, some council members were concerned about preserving the architecture of the church.

A representative of Roseville Storage did not return a request for comment.

Many of the council members’ concerns were addressed when Roseville Storage presented new plans in 2023, Roseville City Attorney Tim Tomlinson said at the Sept. 26 meeting.

Since being closed in 2017, the church has become the site of frequent break-ins and other forms of vandalism, Tomlinson said.