Whatever happens to the Farmington Public Schools Maxfield Training Center (MTC), redevelopment of the property is expected to have a powerful impact on downtown Farmington.
The 65,000-square-foot building sits on Thomas Street just north of Grand River, the heart of the city's central business district. Vacant for about three years, the property lies within the Farmington Downtown Development Authority Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district. Moving it from public to private ownership will boost tax revenues and likely influence how the city develops in the future.
"Whatever's going to go there, it's a hundred-year decision," mayor pro-tem Bill Galvin said during a discussion at Monday's city council meeting. "We've got to hit a home run."
City officials have proposed a letter of agreement with Farmington Public Schools that would put the city in the driver's seat when it comes to marketing and developing the MTC and the vacant Flanders Elementary School property at 32600 Flanders St., Economic and Community Development Director Kevin Christiansen said.
Officials have received a redevelopment proposal for the Flanders property that includes homes in the $200,000-$250,000 range, plus a neighborhood park, Christiansen added. The City of Farmington Hills has been brought into discussions, because of a neighboring subdivision in that community and the potential decommissioning of two baseball fields still in use on the school property.
Mayor Tom Buck said, in his mind, "residential is the best use" for the MTC property as well. While the school district has budgeted the $100,000-plus estimated cost of demolishing the building, Christiansen said that option will be studied over the next 60-120 days.
"I want to approach the schools to get 'for sale' signs on these properties immediately," council member JoAnne McShane said.
Christiansen said once the letter of agreement is signed, a committee will be formed to work on getting a request for proposals out to the development community.
"I've had development interest coming in about that property," he said.