Offers for PARC property considered

Aug. 31, 2019  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.

Plymouth Michigan News


Don Howard

Staff Writer

The sale of 9.64 acres of land, the last large track of green space in downtown Plymouth, may be imminent as talks with potential buyers continue.

According to Don Soenen, president of the Plymouth Arts and Recreation Complex, talks have been under way with city officials regarding the sale of two thirds of the initial 16.6 acre site near the Miracle League fields and the Plymouth Cultural Center.

Philanthropists Mark and Patty Malcolm spent $3.25 million in 2015 to purchase the property from the Plymouth-Canton Community School District then donated the school to a non-profit 501-C3 corporation, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, to save the building from destruction. The school district purportedly had a buyer who planned to construct 63 single-family homes on the acreage, based on zoning approval from the City of Plymouth.

According to Soenen, the latest land sale is necessary to fend off expenses for major and essential capital improvements needed at the 100-year-old building following voters’ rejection last year of a proposed .75 mill to be levied in both Plymouth and Plymouth Township. The funding, requested for 20 years, would have allowed for maintenance at the former Central Middle School and provided funds for a performing arts theater on the site, Soenen said.

“We have adequate cash flow now for everything we’re now doing,” Soenen said of the current PARC facilities which has 23 full-time paying tenants.

Soenen said he hopes the property located within walking distance to the downtown district will sell for at least $5 million. It’s a ready-to-build site with all utilities, zoned for residential and master-planned for mixed-use and multi-family development, he added. His vision for development of the parcel is for “a combination of apartments, condos and homes with walking path and bike paths.”

The sale property runs 578 feet south from the back of the PARC building to Farmer Street behind the backyards of the homes on the east side of Adams Street, then east on Farmer to Theodore Street.

“There won’t be commercial or retail,” Soenen said about the “numerous proposals” currently under consideration for the property.

“We have to be mindful of what the city wants and what their requirements are. We’re getting proposals from developers and talking about density, parking and traffic flow. We’re analyzing and selecting the best offer,” he added.

“We believe that demolition of this historic building and replacing it with a massive new sub-division would devastatingly alter and forever diminish the character and feel of our community,” said Mark Malcolm last year in an open letter prior to the election in which the millage question was defeated by voters.

Signature Associates broker Rick Birdsall was hesitant to talk about any of the tendered proposals. “They are in the negotiating stages. Give me a week and I’ll know more,” he said.


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