October 23, 2013 - It appears there's a potential buyer for three properties that the Oxford Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has owned for more than a decade.
A verbal offer of $150,000 for the three vacant parcels located at 32, 36 and 38 E. Burdick St. was made Monday to village Manager Joe Young, who's also serving as the interim DDA director.
This individual is interested in building a sandwich shop-type of restaurant.
DDA board members discussed the offer at their meeting Monday. While no action was taken, some board members advocated advertising the property in the hopes of finding other potential buyers.
"I think we should actively try to sell this property," said DDA Chairman Bill Dunn. "But we have to figure out how we're going to do it.
"If this person's offering this, I wouldn't want to just sell it to them. I'd want to put it out for bid . . . I think we owe it to the taxpayers to try to get the best price we can for any property, not just to have someone come up and make some offer and that's it."
Any and all revenue from the sale of these properties would go directly into the cash-strapped DDA's coffers.
The $150,000 offer is half the amount the DDA has been seeking since 2008 when the board set the minimum price at $100,000 per lot. All three are zoned for commercial use.
"We haven't had any offers. This is the first verbal offer for them," said Young, who noted a broker inquired about the lots last week.
In 2001, the DDA purchased 32 E. Burdick St. for $175,000 and 38 E. Burdick St. for $215,000. The authority later bought 36 E. Burdick St. for $195,000 in 2002.
All three properties had houses and backyards when the DDA purchased them.
Two of the houses were later moved while the third was demolished. The backyards of all three lots were split off and converted into free municipal parking.
Mill St. separates 32 from 36 E. Burdick St., which is adjacent to 38 E. Burdick St. The parcel west of Mill St. is 0.13 acre, while the eastern two are 0.09 acre and 0.13 acre.
DDA board member Rod Charles asked how the properties have been marketed.
Young indicated they've been advertised via a for-sale sign on the property for a number of years and a couple months ago, he listed them with the Washington D.C.-based CoStar Group, an on-line marketplace for commercial real estate. "It's accessible nationally under this service," he said.
"That doesn't seem like a lot of marketing," Charles said.
Young admitted "it isn't," but that's only because the real estate market was slow before. He said now, things are "picking up."
He explained how local builder Dave Weckle has a long-term plan to create a mixed-used development using five lots he owns on E. Burdick and Stanton streets, east of the DDA properties. Oakland County is creating a concept plan, free of charge, for this possibility that encompasses both Weckle and the DDA's properties, according to Young.
In 2009, the DDA paid Lake Orion architect Stephen Auger to create a site plan for the properties in an effort to entice potential developers into buying them.
It called for construction of a three-story building on each parcel. The three buildings ranged in size from 6,735 to 7,854 square feet.
The idea was to use the first and second floors for retail and office space, while the third floors would be for loft-style apartments.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.