Township tracks Telegraph’s building progress with online tools

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 4, 2018

 New developments, like the Equinox Health Club that will replace the Erhard BMW dealership, can be tracked on the township’s website.

New developments, like the Equinox Health Club that will replace the Erhard BMW dealership, can be tracked on the township’s website.

Photo from the Bloomfield Township Telegraph Development project page

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Sometimes, like when it comes to Christmas presents, it’s more fun to be surprised and wait for a big reveal.

Other times, a sneak peek is preferable.

For instance, like when you see new developments coming up like spring flowers in your neighborhood.

With commerce on Telegraph Road booming more than ever, residents have been calling the township’s planning office to get the scoop on what’s being built in their backyard.

“The main reason we developed our project pages was to give residents a good overview of what planning projects are taking place. And instead of just telling people what they’re seeing as they’re developing, they can dive in and get some background to these (businesses) that have gone through our planning process with all the documents and plans they’ve submitted throughout the process,” said Andrea Bibby, development coordinator for the Bloomfield Township Planning Division.

While the township’s website has several pages devoted to various projects around the municipality, the interactive development page for Telegraph’s development is one of the heftier ones, giving visitors the ability to see what new businesses are being built along the corridor, where they’re going up, and perhaps most interestingly, the ability to see documents that track a business’s journey through the township’s Design Review Board, Planning Commission and onward.

“People can really see what’s entailed throughout the development of the project and give people insight into what the Planning Department does,” Bibby added.

For instance, Erhard BMW of Bloomfield on West Maple, east of Telegraph, is on its way to being the Equinox Health Club, featuring a complete facade renovation with metal coping, storefront glass, wood-grade planks and painted brick.

“That’s going to be a nice refacing job for that building, and it will continue,” Bibby said. “We’re really busy. Anytime there’s an opportunity for development, it usually (moves forward). There’s a high interest here for new business.”

That’s especially true when you take into account the transformation happening at the former Bloomfield Park site, known now as the Village of Bloomfield. The space, which straddles the township’s border with Pontiac, is nearly sold out, according to Township Supervisor Leo Savoie.

“The corridor has really come a long way in the last six years,” he said. “It started probably about 10 or 12 years ago with Target and Golling (Chrysler Jeep Ram), and Roadside (B&G).”

The Village of Bloomfield, purchased by Rediko, has been making its way through the planning process for some time to reinvent the formerly dilapidated space. A Menards home improvement store is planned to start building in the spring, along with apartments on the south side of the site. Each venture needs to make its way through a Joint Development Council on which Savoie and Pontiac Mayor Deidre Waterman are seated.

“(Rediko) isn’t ready to announce some of their big players, but they give us the indication that (tenants) are committed and ready to bring this to fruition. So you’re going to see a lot of changes in the next 24 months,” Savoie said.

Roads through the complex are being installed now, with even more work coming in March or April once the frost restrictions are lifted. Savoie hinted at a major announcement coming in about a week that will be made for a “destination” development.

Residents can keep track of the building on the project page, located on the Planning Division’s tab on the township’s website — that is, if they’re tech-savvy enough.

“I haven’t heard a lot of feedback on the interactive project page because you’ve got to be kind of a technical person to navigate that, and I think we’re an older community and kind of limited by our demographics as far as that goes,” Savoie added. “But people who want to know more can call my office, call the Planning Department, and we’ll give you as much information as we have available.”