Ferndale Council Picks 3-60 Group for Parking and Tech Development

Ferndale Council Picks 3-60 Group for Parking and Tech Developmentessential

(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 11, 2014)

After considering two development options, Ferndale City Council has decided to move forward with the more ambitious one. 3-60 Ferndale has been granted exclusive negotiating rights to the city-owned parking lots on W. Troy and Withington, where they hope to build structures with parking, housing, and offices designed with people in the technology industry in mind.

Jake Sigal, who recently sold his Livio company to Ford Motor Company, spoke about his vision for Ferndale’s future. “I started a company in my guest bed room in 2008 and long story short we just sold the company to Ford in October… I have a lot of experience with the tech community, with being an entrepreneur, with the needs of these tech companies and automotive and beyond, financial tech, all sorts of these start-ups and second stage companies that are around the area.

“And what I’ve found in my business is it’s very hard to hire software engineers and other young tech moderntaxtalent and get them to stay in Michigan.  So people that are graduating University of Michigan, Michigan State, Kettering and a whole lot of other great universities, they’re flocking away.  And what I saw in Ferndale, and most of this has been seen by my bike as my wife and I bike around, is that there’s an opportunity here.”

Monday night’s approval is just the first step in a 12-month planning process.  3-60 will now be able to study the land and figure out the details like how many parking spaces will be offered, how tall the structure will be, and how much space will be included.  They will work with the city and have opportunities for public input.

Some expressed concerns at the council meeting over whether there is demand for the office space and housing without a study being done, and how the structure will affect existing businesses.HowesLocation  Emily Murray of Modern Natural Baby on W. 9 Mile spoke about changing the feel of Ferndale, and said “I’m concerned customers who park in the back won’t see my business because there will be a gigantic structure.”

Councilperson Dan Martin addressed her concerns.  “I think it’s fantastic these folks with both companies are Ferndale residents who want to invest into Downtown,” he said.  “…there are big projects, these are game-changers.  But I too don’t have a concern that we could lose the character and nature of who we are in Ferndale from either of them.  Particularlysidebar01reader_support with the types of process we’re talking about with extensive public input, because it’s by nature who we are and that’s what makes Ferndale attractive to many developers and businesses.”

Sigal is hopeful about the project.  “So I, like most Ferndale residents, want to see better parking and a better way to get Downtown. I also think that having residential is key. But I think the real opportunity here is creating jobs, and density.”

Council unanimously approved giving 3-60 Ferndale a one-year window to come up with a development plan for the properties, with the financial details and physical details to be worked out along the way.

Councilperson Melanie Piana supported the project, and pushed for the timeline to be reduced from 18 months to 12 months.  “This is Downtown 3.0 and we’ve been preparing for this type of moment for a very long time, especially in respect to Downtown in the real estate market, where we have been actively trying to find and attract development into our community.”

EDITORS NOTE: The project is called the 3-60 Project, not 360 Project.

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