$100 million St. John’s project halted
Concept drawing of proposed townhomes slated to be built on the golf course grounds.
Jan. 19, 2018 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Grandiose plans for a $100 million development at the upscale Plymouth Township Golf Course at St. John’s have come to a screeching halt.
No official reason for the termination of the plan to construct a luxury condominium development on 175 acres on the grounds of the golf course has been released.
Last summer, township planners approved the plans of luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers for the construction of a private, gated community made up of 174 townhomes on a portion of the golf course grounds located at Five Mile and Sheldon Road.
The development, lauded and publicized by the Archdiocese of Detroit, which owns the property, township officials, real-estate investors and the builder, was touted as a boon to the entire surrounding area that could bring larger conventions and bigger events to help local commerce. Engineering firm Anderson,
Eckstein and Westrick, Inc. completed traffic studies and submitted plans for four project components. The 27-hole golf course was to be reduced to 18 to make room for the new town- homes. The 240 monastery retreat rooms located in the former seminary structure were to be converted to 120 luxury hotel room connecting to the Inn at St. Johns. Also planned was a 10,000-square foot commercial office building at the southwest 3-acre section of the 175-acre site.
Archdiocese of Detroit Director of Communications Ned McGrath refused comment as did representatives of the real estate developer, Toll Brothers.
“We’re not moving forward with the sale, it’s been deferred,” said McGrath. “The board (members of the board of directors) wants more research. There were questions they wanted answered.”
Those familiar with the project say they suspect the likely reason for the delay is that Toll Brothers asked for a guarantee from the archdiocese that the golf course would remain on the site “ad infinitum” or forever. Another officially unsubstantiated claim is that there is contamination of site that warrants a costly cleanup; an expense Toll Brothers board members find troubling.
Last year, McGrath said the sale of a portion of the land for the project would help generate needed revenue for improvements at the site.
Mike Noles, Toll Brothers senior vice president would not confirm the proposed official start date for the project, said to be sometime in 2018, and refused any comment.
Leo Gonzalez of CRS Commercial Real Estate Services in Plymouth, rolled out the project plans before the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees last year prior to the approval of the project.
“I don’t want to talk with you,” Gonzales responded when asked about the project delay.
HIS, Hotel Investment Services, the operator of the Golf Course and Inn, referred inquiries back to the archdiocese.
The largest annual event at the Inn at St. Johns is the annual Concours d’Elegance that draws a crowd of nearly 15,000 in one weekend. The contract between Concours d’Elegance and the Inn at St. John’s expires at the end of this year.
Officials from the prestigious display of classic automobiles from around the world announced after they finished their seventh consecutive show last July, one of the biggest shows in its history, that this year could be their last at St. John’s. Representatives said the major issue was parking for the huge crowds.