Farmington city council members on Monday authorized city staff to negotiate with Farmington Hills-based Boji Development over a $250,000 offer to purchase and develop the former 47th District Court property.
Three developers who presented proposals on Sept. 19 for the 3.8-acre property on 10 Mile Road were invited back to fine tune their offers. DS Homes planned 13 homes and upped its offer to $275,000. Mike Fellows of DA Homes did not attend Monday’s meeting, but submitted a revised proposal with 11 buildings and 22 units, slightly lower in density than the previous plan.
Even though Boji’s purchase price came in $25,000 under that offered by the other two, council members said they had more confidence in the organization.
The plan for what spokesperson Mike Sarafa called a “more standard residential neighborhood” includes five colonial and ranch style models with different types of brick facades, square footage, and other details. The company also backed off its original plan to target “Baby Boomers.”
“This is a single family development in the true sense of the word,” Sarafa said.
Finances played heavily into the selection discussion. Because previous proposals have fallen through, council member Jeff Scott suggested requiring a nonrefundable deposit. Developers said they were willing, but questioned circumstances and timing.
Serafa pointed out that the city can impose requirements as part of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process.
“They can’t do a hard money deposit without knowing what the city’s going to want from them,” Sarafa said. “I’m not sure too many lawyers would advise them to do that.”
City Attorney Thomas Schultz said an earnest money deposit would be part of the purchase agreement.
“I think we can be a little more responsive having been through the process a few times,” he said. “We’ll come back with a little bit different version of the deposit.”
Council member Greg Cowley voted in favor of Boji, but initially said he wanted to see the company’s financial records before making a decision. To select the strongest proponent, he said, “I’d be looking for a balance sheet. I want to know who’s the strongest organization… I don’t see the information here to help me make a decision.”
Schultz said that information could be presented when administration comes forward with a purchase agreement.