Revised Maxfield Training Center plans expected in January

2017 Year in Stories

While plans for an apartment complex on the Maxfield Training Center site stalled in 2017, city officials expect to see revisions next month.

The property, purchased in 2016 by AC Acquisitions, became a lightning rod for controversy in April as neighbors in the adjacent Historic District objected to the initial four-story design. New documents were expected in December of this year, but city Economic and Community Development Director Kevin Christiansen said the presentation was rescheduled after principal Walter Cohen became ill.

“It looks like we will get them in early to mid-January,” he added.

The proposal has ranged from 155 to 189 units and remains “in flux” as the developer responds to community concerns. Cohen and city officials met in October with representatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to talk about whether the project qualified for assistance based on adding a public benefit – parking.

“It looks like we’ve exhausted that alternative,” Christiansen said. “That’s not the direction we’re going to go.”

AC Acquisitions’ purchase agreement with Farmington Public Schools depends on the project moving through the city’s approvals process. The planned unit development (PUD) will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and City Council, with additional opportunities for public comment.

City officials earlier this year purchased two houses, one on Thomas Street just south of the Training Center, and one facing Grand River, in a move connected to the Training Center development.

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At the time, city manager David Murphy said while the city has “no specific plans” for the two properties, the purchase would provide “maximum flexibility” for developing the former Maxfield Training Center (MTC), also on Thomas Street. The city’s Downtown Area Plan shows the two could be demolished to create a street that would funnel traffic from the proposed apartment complex to Grand River.

Christiansen said the process may be moving slowly, but city officials “are very mindful” of the impact the project will have on downtown Farmington. The school district has also cooperated by extending deadlines attached to the purchase agreement.

“The city just wants to make sure in the end that we get the right project in place,” he said. “We will take as much time as necessary to get that done.”