Farmington officials review new courthouse property plans

Three developers presented plans Monday that seem closer to what Farmington officials want to see on the former 47th District Courthouse property.

City council members have over the past few years rejected several proposals for the 3.8-acre property on 10 Mile Road west of Raphael, ranging from single-story houses to duplex rentals. The latest group – from Boji Development, DS Homes, and DA Building – all focus on owner-occupied homes but will be marketed to different demographics.

Boji Development

Boji Development’s plan targets “Baby Boomers” with 14 detached, single story condos priced in the mid-$300,000 range. The company has also incorporated the adjacent Farmington Public Schools property, which is not yet on the market, adding 37 homes. The proposal preserves the sledding hill south of the Lewis Schulman Administrative Center and would create a pavilion, firepit, and parking at the bottom of the hill, with the intent of deeding that back to the city.

The company “would be open” to building those homes with an eye toward attracting families, company representative Mike Sarafa said.

“However, around southeast Michigan, the 55 and up restricted communities have been kind of popular,” he added.

DS

Brian Duggan of DS Homes said his partner Steve Summers had the opposite experience with a 55 and older development and found them more difficult to sell. Their proposed 13 single-family detached condos or site condos would be marketed to a wider audience.

Duggan stressed flexibility in the way of home designs, which he said could be one- or two-story in a variety of styles, with a full basement and garage. Purchase prices would range from $270,000 to $290,000. The company offered $250,000 for the property, a big step up from Boji’s $50,000 but still not close to the city’s $450,000 asking price. DA Building offered $275,000. All three offers included demolition of the empty courthouse.

DA Building

Mike Fellows of DA Building said their proposed duplexes also target more than one demographic. The owner-occupied homes could be modified as a 2-bedroom ranch or 4-bedroom colonial, with eight to 10 floor plans and a price range of $220,000 to $290,000.

“We see possible empty nesters,” Fellows said. “We would love to get a couple young families…Our dream here would be to create these duplexes…to look like one big house.”

The company’s proposal includes a stub road that would connect to the school property, but the plan is not dependent on future development. It also preserves the sledding hill and provides a strong landscaping buffer out of respect for neighbors to the west, Fellows said.

City Attorney Thomas Schultz said next steps, dictated by resolution, would have developers refining their proposals, which will be formally reviewed at a future meeting. Officials will select one and direct city staff to negotiate a development proposal presented at a public hearing.

“All three proposals have met the criteria that council members have continually kicked back to the market,” Mayor Bill Galvin said. “I think it really validates where the market is.”

“It’s gonna be a dynamic development and I truly believe it’s going to set the tone for what happens on the rest of the hill,” he added.

Related: ANALYSIS: FARMINGTON COURTHOUSE PROPERTY NO EASY SELL