Ferndale’s 3-60 Project Revised

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(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 9, 2015)

Ferndale City Hall was packed for a special meeting to update the public, and council, on the 3-60 Project.  Developers of 3-60 seek to form a public-private partnership with the City to create mixed-use structures on the current Withington Parking Lot and West Troy Parking Lot.  The structures would add parking, retail, office, residential and green spaces to what are now flat areas just used for parking.

The project is supported by those would like to see Downtown Ferndale grow, with a stronger tax base, residents living in walking distance to local stores and other establishments, more jobs, an increased retail mix, and an increase of places to park.

Opposing the project are those who worry about the effect construction will have on residents and businesses, those who do not want seed021_helaine-zackto see the character of Ferndale change, and those who worry that the development will deter shoppers, particularly those who are accustomed to parking close to their favorite stores currently. Some residents also worry about their views being drastically changed, their sunshine perhaps blocked, and the possibility for people in the offices to see into their back yards. One resident also expressed concern that the construction would impact air quality, and that the new development might strain the electrical grid and other infrastructure.

Early design concepts stirred debate, particular by those concerned over the height of the buildings.  In the presentation by Jake Sigal and his team Monday, the height issue was addressed – with the residential part of the structure being cut from a potential 10 stories, down to six.

Other changes were made as well, including a two-tiered design,where the upper floors would be smaller than the lower floors to give them a less imposing look and feel.  The number of parking spaces was refined to better go along with the parking evaluation that was given to City Council in January.  In the Withington Development, the building footprint was moved about 10 feet further away from homes, more greenspace added to provide a buffer and pleasant areas for Candlewickshop_May2014residents and visitors to walk and relax, and a cut through was created so people would not have to walk all the way around to get between Withington and 9 Mile.

On the Troy side the entrance and exit had been at a corner and was moved to the middle of the structure. There is also a new two-tier structure.

In addition to making adjustments to the concept, Sigal brought experts to talk about the economic impact of a project like 3-60.  Sigal, who created Livio Radio, is focused on creating an environment where tech start-ups and companies can Reid_Sally_115thrive.  He brought with him an expert from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and from Oakland County to talk about the potential.

“Michigan has added 30,000 new tech jobs since 2011,” said Emily Collins-Hamel from Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  “Nearly 10% of total employment in Metro Detroit [are tech jobs.]”  She touted the benefits of tech jobs, including that they are often better-paying jobs than other sectors, a fact which translates into more dollars that get spent in local businesses.  She also noted that many tech workers prefer to live in more urban suburban areas where shopping, and community, are within reach.

Irene Spanos, Director, Oakland County Economic Development & Community Affairs, talked about how Oakland County actively goes out across the country and even around the world to recruit tech companies to come to the area.  Theri Tech 248 initiative focuses on recruitment for nicholas-schrock-allstatethe kinds of businesses that would put a location such at 3-60 to good use.  Once the project is further along in the process, Sigal will be able to use OCEDOC to help find the right clients for the office space.

Sigal also brought Brendan George of CBRE in Southfield to talk about his expertise in tech real estate.  George complimented the developers on their concept of having multiple size spaces available. “You’re offering a variety of spaces and floor plans to really mitigate the concerns of having one tenant.” He mentioned the need for “project certainty,” which is that developers need assurances from the City to keep their word, so that office space can be held in good faith for a year or two while the construction is happening.

As far as the construction, this is one area where a persistent rumor has continued to plague the process.  “We are not doing both lots at the same time,” said Councilperson Dan Martin after this chazzano game adwas brought up during public comment.

Mayor Dave Coulter also noted that Monday’s presentation was on the concept of the building, and not the implementation, but that an implementation plan would come together as details of the project get worked out.

Going forward, the next steps would be hammering out the financial details of the partnership, and determining if they want to continue with the planning process.  The concepts would have to be made into plans with much more detail and go before the planning commission.  There would also need to be an agreement with the city so that Sigal and his team could begin marketing and selling the spaces.

City Council did not take any action at the meeting, which was simply an informational update.

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The presentation can be downloaded at http://ferndalemoves.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/3-60_Presentation_2-4-2015.pdf.  This includes multiple renderings of the concepts.HowesLocation

 

Previous stories:

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2015/02/03/3-60-project-to-give-update-to-ferndale-city-council-feb-9/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2015/01/27/ferndale-hears-parking-study-results/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2015/01/09/melanie-piana-twenty-years-revitalizing-downtown-ferndale/

DDAnew01http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/10/24/mayor-coulter-talks-fema-water-rates-3-60-and-more-at-senior-town-hall-video/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/08/19/ferndale-3-60-opposition-meeting-aug-21/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/08/15/video-jake-sigal-talks-about-3-60-project/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/07/12/38-businesses-share-3-60-project-concerns-public-mtg-july-16/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/07/07/info-meeting-for-ferndales-3-60-project-july-9/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/06/11/big-dreams-for-ferndale-as-360-project-concepts-take-shape/sidebar016grow

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/03/11/ferndale-council-picks-3-60-group-for-parking-and-tech-development/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/03/09/companies-vie-for-the-potential-to-develop-in-downtown-ferndale/

More information:

www.downtownferndale.com

http://www.ferndalemi.gov

www.ferndalemoves.com

For more pictures, plan and video of the council meeting, visit http://www.ferndalemi.gov/Government/Departments/City_Clerk/City_Council_Video_Meeting_Minutes and look for the July 9, 2014 meeting.

EDITORS NOTE: The project is called the 3-60 Project, not 360 Project (gotta make the search engines happy though)

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