While PVL (Park View Lofts) Farmington envisions the most ambitious Maxfield Training Center concept, company partners believe the apartment complex is the right fit for downtown Farmington.
Editor’s note: Last week, four firms interested in redeveloping the 3-acre Maxfield Training Center property in downtown Farmington each made their case to city officials. This is the last of four articles on those presentations, which were based on responses to the city’s Request for Proposals (RFQ).
The team includes former council members Tom Buck and Jeff Scott, who owns a Farmington-based architectural firm, Craig Moulton of Oakwood Construction, and Dale Inman of Wolf River Development. Buck also served two terms as mayor.
The vision presented in the company’s RFQ includes as many as 185 units. Buck pointed out that studies show a need for high-density residential housing downtown.
“We know some of you are concerned that the PVL proposal creates an issue because of a number,” he said. “We are advocating for 185 units on the site. We’re not stuck on that number. We want to build this project with you.”
Buck added that with fewer units, there would be fewer amenities, and “the design becomes compromised.” Those amenities, designed to attract young professionals, millennials, and active seniors, include co-working spaces, a lounge, workout area, private balconies, and more.
Buildings close to the historic district would be two stories, with heights scaling up closer to Thomas Street. The proposal also envisions underground parking, which Scott said came into play because of the contaminated soils that must be removed.
“We’re pulling out foundations and bad soils, why not just drop it down?” he said. “It reduces the scale of the building.”
Scott said the design closes off Warner Street access and offers a 40-foot buffer from neighboring homes. It would extend Grove Street to create an entrance that leads to 125 public parking spaces. Walkways connect the complex to Shiawassee Park, via a “switchback” path, and downtown Farmington.
The proposal, he said, addresses resident concerns about previous projects.
Unlike the three other RFQ responses, PVL anticipates using an adjacent parking lot owned by First United Methodist Church. That would eliminate all surface parking in the northwest corner, along with headlights coming from the development into the historic district.
Scott said he is a member of the church, and they’ve seen the plan.
“I just wanted to get their feeling about, what if somebody wanted to come in and utilize your property,” he said. “The feedback from trustees was very positive. That’s why I’m comfortable proposing something a little more bolder.”
Buck said that 185 units would bring around 300 new residents to downtown Farmington. The project also offers the highest tax revenues for the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). It could lead to higher rents in the central business district, he said.
“This creates jobs. This adds restaurants. This will add stores. This will boost interest in our downtown,” Buck said. “People will grow families and become homeowners.”
The company plans to seek federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding. Inman said while the process takes a little longer, HUD drills into the details of the project to make sure it works.
Rents will not be subsidized. Rates for the studio, 1- and 2-bedroom apartments would fall into the $1,100-$1,700 per month range.
Buck said the company would work with neighbors. He acknowledged that the proposal is “dramatic.”
“It also accomplishes more,” he said. “We want to work with the city and the community to make this project everything it can be.”