TO THE EDITOR:
Park View Lofts is the name of a proposed development for the former Maxfield Training Center site in downtown Farmington. The proposal is the result of the City of Farmington’s Request For Qualifications (RFQ) process to re-develop the site.
The City’s request document was seeking options for residential development to be created on the site. The property was recently purchased by the city from Farmington Public Schools. The Park View Lofts proposal utilizes additional property to the west and to the south of the Maxfield Center site. Incorporating these additional properties allows for public parking and a connection between downtown and Shiawassee Park.
Jeff Scott, an architect and leader on the proposed Park View Lofts project and a former Farmington City Council member stated, “We have assembled an exceptionally qualified development team with deep experience in projects like this, including a recent project of similar character in Ferndale. Our proposal is very extensive and expansive. Our plan was developed from the comments, ideas, opportunities and concerns identified by Farmington community members, as expressed in the Farmington Master Plan, the Farmington Downtown Area Plan and Farmington Vision Plan. We have worked to respect the neighboring historic district next door by creating a landscape buffer and managing the parking differently than competing proposals. At least one of the competing proposals will have car lights shining into neighboring backyards.”
Our Park View Lofts proposal has been set aside by the city’s consultants based on their belief we are demanding 185 units on the site. This is not what our proposal states. Quoting from our proposal, we acknowledged the desired limit of 124 units, however suggested that a higher number of units allows for the creation of more public parking, a more direct connection to Shiawassee Park, improves the growth and sustainability of downtown and allows for more lifestyle amenities for residents of Park View Lofts.
Incorporating additional land beyond the Maxfield site allows for a two-pronged approach: providing access to additional parking and providing for additional rental units to offset the costs for the public amenities.
From our proposal, “We believe the site can accommodate more than 124 units, and we would like to explore raising this limit with the city. At 124 units, we would expect adding upwards of 200 new residents to downtown. This will provide a substantial economic stimulus to the city. With more units, the economic impact of the increased shopping, dining and services purchased could be 50% or more higher than the 124 RFQ. We have estimated this potential purchasing impact, for downtown businesses and purchased activities, at the 200 resident population associated with 124 units, to be $1,800,000, at an estimated spend of $9,000 per resident. With 300 residents, this is an impact of $2,700,000 in downtown spend. We will advocate that a design delivering as many as 185 units, such as the conceptual design provided, be permitted to bring more residents into downtown for greater sustainability, greater economic growth, and greater economic impact.”
Because our plan has underground parking and has a larger footprint, Park View Lofts, in working with the city and the Methodist Church, would be able to add 70 additional public parking spaces north of the downtown Grand River commercial and residential area. No other proposal is adding public parking in the submitted documents. The alternate rental housing proposal reduces the number of public parking spaces. Park View Lofts will also offer plan several amenities that will make this a unique residential opportunity for Farmington.
Park View Lofts, built to the potential of 185 units, could bring well over 300 new residents to downtown, with a projected annual spend in excess of $3,500,000 for shopping, dining and services. This is in addition to the tax revenue and jobs created by the project. The investment to build the development is estimated in excess of $20,000,000. The development will be nestled into the space north and east of the historic Methodist Church on Grand River and west of the existing six-story, high senior housing facility. We can build to a design of fewer units, of course. Park View Lofts is intended to be better than what we have. The alternative proposal submitted for 124 rental units looks more like Farmington West with more asphalt and less greenspace in its footprint.
Park View Lofts will bring a contemporary housing style not currently available in Farmington. The look and feel will be fresh and technically contemporary with options for smart appliances, high-speed internet accessibility, low maintenance treatments, integrative work-at-home features and innovative fixtures. The development is planned to provide active amenities including a common exercise facility, co-working space, storage, gathering places, covered parking and easy access to nearby parks. No other option shows or describes all of these as included within its footprint.
Tom Buck, a co-leader on the project and former Mayor and former DDA President, shared, “The design is focused on meeting the needs of young professionals, millennials and empty nesters, providing a unique residential opportunity styled for them and attracting them to Farmington. These will have a fresh look inside and outside, a style millennials seek. Park View Lofts will be responsive to the concerns of the historic neighborhood next door. Our team is well aware that this important historic neighborhood wishes to protect their special and quiet character. The scale of the project enables collaborative effort, with the city and Downtown Development Authority, on a connection between downtown and Shiawassee Park. The scale further provides an opportunity for 125 public parking spaces. We are excited to be considered for the opportunity to work with the City of Farmington to bring this development into reality.”
The development team includes several members who recently completed a similar residential development in Ferndale.
Michael Dowdle, Managing Partner, Wolf River Development Company, LLC. Michael has 37 years of experience in residential and shopping center development. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and also earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan.
Dale J. Inman Managing Partner, Wolf River Development Company, LLC. Over thirty-five years’ experience in real estate development and construction management in manager and director level positions. Dale’s experience includes 8 years of land development for Centex, a national residential and multi-family home builder in SE Michigan. Dale is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, with a degree in Construction Management.
Craig Moulton is the President and owner of Oakwood Construction. Craig has held several management and on-site positions with two of the largest apartment construction companies in the United States. He is an expert on current housing construction costs throughout several states and the abilities and reliability of subcontractors involved in apartment construction. While employed with Trammel Crow Company, Mr. Moulton was the Project Manager of several large properties, totaling more than 1,100 units located in the state of Texas.
representing Park View Lofts