DDA weighs in as Farmington council nears Maxfield selection

Farmington city council members will talk Thursday about the Maxfield Training Center, a day after Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board members took a stand for high-density housing on the 3-acre site.

The agenda for the 6:30 p.m. special council meeting includes a presentation of “supplemental information” from consultants and a discussion of next steps. Council members in January chose two of four developers that responded to a Request for Qualifications:

  • River Caddis Development, based in East Lansing, included a 124-unit apartment complex concept in its Request for Qualifications (RFQ) response.
  • Bloomfield Hills-based Robertson Brothers Homes sees 59 owner-occupied townhomes on the 3-acre site.

While the DDA statement does not advocate for either developer, it expresses a clear preference for higher density as “an engine for increased business vitality.” The document includes excerpts from existing vision and master plan documents, along with a new “Analysis of Resident Expenditure Potential on Retail” study commissioned by the city and DDA.

DDA Director Kate Knight, who drafted the statement, said that the February 2021 study, conducted by Michigan-based LandUseUSA real estate consultants, shows that renters have a slightly lower income than homeowners, but spend those dollars downtown.

“If we double the number of units… that translates into significantly better spending power,” she said.

Also, the study concluded that homeowners are more likely to drive to larger shopping hubs, while renters tend to walk to downtown grocery stores and restaurants.

“There are pros and cons to each of these developers,” Knight said. “Both are good choices, we think that one serves downtown better.”

Board members agreed that Knight should submit the statement, with some minor revisions, to council members. View the statement on the DDA website.

Learn how to watch and participate in the March 4 council meeting here: farmgov.com/Latest-News/Notice-of-Electronic-Meeting-March-4,-2021.aspx. View the agenda here: farmgov.com/City-Services/Government/Agendas-and-Minutes.aspx.

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