October 23, 2013 - The possibility of moving current village headquarters presents them with a new opportunity: a chance to sell the existing village hall to a potential commercial business.
On October 15, council voted to appraise their current facility at 37 East Flint Street after three companies placed bids, which will help determine the fair market value of the hall.
"The decision has not been made yet, but there is a good likelihood that we would sell this building and use at least a portion of the proceeds from it to pay for the costs of the new building. We are hoping the appraisal would give us a good idea of what we could expect in terms of the sale price," Village Manager Darwin McClary said.
The new building is the old Orion Township Senior Center on Church St., which the village would like to renovate and move into next spring, if it is financially feasible.
Determining the sale price of the current village hall will also promote "further discussions of whether we want to dispose of this property through sale as an alternative to leasing out the property," McClary said at the meeting.
It should be sold for three reasons, he said.
First, neither the village nor the DDA have the funds required to renovate the current hall to suit the needs of a new commercial tenant. Second, the new tenant would not want to invest money into a building they didn't own—they would expect the village to do that. Third, the DDA does not have the funds to purchase the building from the village as a lease.
"And the village, in my recommendation, should avoid becoming a landlord for commercial property if it's at all possible," McClary continued.
A handful of people have approached McClary about purchasing the village hall for a commercial business. If they did sell the property, McClary said council would probably discuss the criteria in terms of what type of new business would move in, how quickly they could complete renovations to move in and open, and the ability of the purchaser to fund the improvements that are necessary to the building.
"There's a number of criteria that would go into it, it's a process, and we're taking it one step at a time," McClary said.
Because the property is divided into more than one parcel, the village would have to decide where to draw the new property line.
"We currently house some of the equipment for the cell tower on the upper level of the building, which would have to be relocated to a storage unit outside of this building," McClary said.
A new storage center would have to be built in the back of this property, unless the village could find another facility nearby to store equipment, which could cost roughly $20,000 to $30,000.
"So if we do decide to sell we would split off the property at the rear building line. The village would continue to own from the back of the building out to the street, we would continue to own the municipal parking lot— the cell tower portion of the property. That would be some of my initial ideas as to how we can accomplish this and still sell the property to a viable business that we would hope would be an attractive addition to the downtown," McClary said.
Easements could be set up between the village and new tenant in order for customers to use the village's parking lot.
The village received revised floor plans for the previous senior center on Church Street October 15 as well. McClary is working further with Oakland County's Preservation Architect Ron Campbell of Main Street Oakland County to determine final renovation costs, as well as add in additional costs for technology and other upgrades.