The wheels are in motion at Bloomfield Park

By: Elizabeth Scussel | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published October 22, 2014

 Bloomfield Park plans are finally moving forward.

Bloomfield Park plans are finally moving forward.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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After ages of inactivity at the desolate 87-acre complex known as Bloomfield Park, things are happening.

Plans for the original development came to a screeching halt years ago due to a decline in the economy, and the property has sat deserted since 2008.

The complex — which is located on the east side of Telegraph Road, north of Square Lake Road — straddles the border of Bloomfield Township and Pontiac.

During the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting Oct. 13, Matthew Gibb, deputy county executive of economic development and community affairs, addressed the Bloomfield Park issue.

“I can’t wait until we can move this thing forward and create a positive impact on what we’re doing here,” Gibb said during the meeting. “We’re getting very close. The nuts and bolts are being pieced together to put this in place and move forward.”

The development — which currently consists of a slew of skeleton buildings and  half-erected parking structures — now has a new buyer.

Earlier this week, Southfield-based REDICO, a national real estate investment and development company, acquired the foreclosure judgment and mortgage rights of the Bloomfield Park project.

It is the company’s intent to gain possession of the site through the foreclosure process. That could take anywhere from six months to a year.

In a prepared statement, REDICO explained that until possession is gained, there is little that can be done to move the development forward, but the company believes the site will ultimately be a mixed-use development.

“Oakland County has given us guidance relative to the Bloomfield Park project, both from a historic and potential use perspective,” Dale Watchowski, president and CEO of REDICO, said in the statement.

For nearly 50 years, REDICO has offered services in real estate development, investment, asset management, property management, capital partnering and leasing.

“REDICO has an exceptional reputation as a developer. I am confident they will bring the right tools to the table for the Bloomfield Park site,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson Patterson said in the statement.

Bloomfield Township is also feeling positive about the recent developments.

During the Oct. 13 meeting, Gibb requested the appointment of a township representative to sit on the development council for Bloomfield Park. After some legal battles over who controlled the land, Pontiac and Bloomfield Township joined a “425 Agreement” in 2002 to share jurisdiction of nearly all of Bloomfield Park’s property. The deal also created the development council.

With a unanimous vote, Township Supervisor Leo Savoie was appointed to the council to represent Bloomfield Township in the Bloomfield Park project, a position he will hold for three years. Savoie will replace township Treasurer Dan Devine, who has held the position since 2002.

Also sitting on the council will be one representative from Pontiac, as well as a neutral party — both have yet to be chosen. 

“This project is so important to the township that I want to do it. (Bloomfield Park) has been sitting there with no work being done since 2008. It is so important to the community that I want to be involved with it,” said Savoie, who has a background in real estate. “I have the knowledge, I have the time and I have the desire to do it, as it is important to this community.”

Savoie said the township is thrilled that things are moving forward on the project.

“We’re looking forward to putting this eyesore in the distant past,” Savoie said. “Our No. 1 hope for Bloomfield Park is something that is economically vibrant and viable. So many places over the years don’t make it because they don’t make economical sense. We hope for a mixed use here, with a strong residential component — a city within a city — that will have a strong contribution to the region.”

Savoie explained that structurally, most of the current remnants of Bloomfield Park look salvageable, as  concrete and steel are made to be exposed to the elements.

He also explained that in the past, other companies were fighting a bad economy nationwide, and it wasn’t the location that made Bloomfield Park fail, it was bad timing.

“This isn’t yet a time to pat ourselves on the back,” he said. “It’s a time to roll up our sleeves and work hard to make this a success.”

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