Center Line City Manager Dennis Champine said an upgrade plan has been submitted for the Center Line Park Tower at 10 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue. The senior apartment tower also features ground-level commercial spaces.

Center Line City Manager Dennis Champine said an upgrade plan has been submitted for the Center Line Park Tower at 10 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue. The senior apartment tower also features ground-level commercial spaces.

Photo by Brian Louwers


Upgrades, new signage proposed at Center Line Park Tower

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published September 3, 2020

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CENTER LINE — Officials will soon be asked to approve elements of an immediate investment of nearly $14 million at the Center Line Park Tower, an upgrade set to improve building improvements and new electronic signage at the city’s most prominent intersection.

City Manager Dennis Champine said his office received the proposal in June from T. Van Fox of MHT Housing, owners of the senior apartment tower on the northeast corner of Van Dyke Avenue and 10 Mile Road.

“The elevators. The actual facade of the building is going to have some color added to it, bright colors, a more contemporary look that would be consistent with a downtown-type development,” Champine said in August about the planned improvements. “They’re planning on doing a crosswalk — a safe crosswalk across Van Dyke — if we can get MDOT on board with that.”

The work would include $250,000 for new electronic signage, with materials consistent with those used on the city’s new entryway signs along Van Dyke and 10 Mile.

“It’s really going to brighten up that corner,” Champine said. “We anticipate that they will begin construction on that relatively soon.”

The sign, as discussed, would feature two LED screens — one facing Van Dyke and the other facing 10 Mile — with the ability to display public announcements that the city would control.

Champine said City Council members would likely be asked in September to approve changes to the “payment in lieu of taxes,” or PILOT, ordinance and a municipal services agreement for the development.

Under the State Housing Development Authority Act of 1966, PILOT allows qualified property owners who provide housing for residents of low to moderate income to avoid paying some taxes. Champine and Fox said the service agreement with the city would help cover any loss in tax revenue resulting from a change to the ordinance affecting the amount of the actual payment. In this case, a reduction in the amount of 2% of the property’s taxable value was reportedly discussed.

Fox said the agreement would take into account the new economics with the efficiencies being proposed for the project, for a calculation that would be similar to the amount currently being paid.

“We’re still going to be maintaining the affordability for all residents with no relocation to do the renovation around the residents in-place,” Fox said.

He said the initial investment would be part of a $30 million redevelopment package to improve and maintain the tower over the next 20 years.

“There’s going to be, in total, about $14 million in immediate property renovations, from common areas to the interior of the apartments, updating all of the mechanical, updating all of the common areas,” Fox said.
Green efficiencies planned for the project include appliances, windows, the heating and cooling system, and the addition of rooftop wind and solar power.

“The property is not a gateway into the city of Center Line, but it’s a busy corner celebrating the city of Center Line,” Fox said. In addition to the new signage, he said the corner would feature a station offering water and bicycle repair materials.

“It will just be a nice beautification for the corner,” Fox said.

He complimented Champine and Center Line’s administrative team.

“There’s been full transparency,” Fox said. “It’s been a great partnership for 17 years as the owner of the Center Line Park Tower.”

Attorney Joseph Pagano of the Kienbaum Hardy Viviano Pelton Forest law firm, which serves as contracted legal counsel for the city of Center Line, said any requested PILOT changes and the municipal services agreement would be reviewed alongside state law and local ordinance ahead of a recommendation to the City Council.

Center Line Park Tower is one of two PILOT properties in the city. The other is the Lawrence Park Apartments.

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