January 22, 2014 - By Meg Peters
Review Staff Writer
Like a bobber baited with a minnow, the Village of Lake Orion is waiting for a bite.
Village Hall was placed on the market Friday, January 17, for $525,000, in hopes of reeling in a new destination point for the downtown.
If a qualified proposal is received, it is the intent of village administration and the police department to move their offices to the old Senior Center, owned by the village, at 21 E. Church Street.
Village Manager Darwin McClary said the move is necessary for multiple reasons, the main purpose to give more space to both village administration and the currently cramped police department.
The bid would not only allow for this expansion, but also help fund new computer systems and security enhancements McClary said were sorely needed to continue forward.
They will accept what the village was recently appraised for, $525,000, he said, and nothing less.
Like most antique buildings located in the downtown, the proposal specifically calls for preserving the building's historical integrity, tied to a sustainable project idea, the financial position of the developer as well as the developer's experience.
Village Hall, located at 37 E. Flint St., is a masonry styled building with approximately 3,500 square feet on the first floor, and 1,900 on the second floor. It is zoned as Downtown Center, meaning there are many options for new businesses, Downtown Developmental Authority Executive Director Suzanne Perreault said.
Retail businesses, music, art or dance studios, service businesses, financial institutions, groceries, bakeries or other markets, offices, beauty and barber shops, places of worship, second-story lofts, restaurants and other forms of entertainment are a few examples.
Perreault said village residents have shown interest in a bakery and a coffee shop moving downtown, and highlighted the importance of a sustainable business.
With the space given, it would take a lot of cups of coffee to pay off the bid Village Hall is seeking, along with the necessary renovations to the building, she said, although she would enjoy a coffee shop downtown too.
Depending on the proposal, two separate businesses could occupy the first and second floor. For example, a restaurant could occupy the first floor, and apartment loft could occupy the second.
McClary is particularly excited for a creative proposal, and said a couple interested businesses approached him even before Village Hall was advertised.
Both Perreault and McClary are leaning towards a destination restaurant, which would bring foot traffic to the downtown from outside of the city, McClary said, but are open to many possibilities.
Proposals are due no later than Friday, February 28, 2014, by 2 p.m. A recommendation of the selected developer is scheduled for the Village meeting on March 24.
If accepted, the village would have six months to move from their current location to the old senior center, in which they would pay rent to the potential developer if need be.
If the building does not sell, Village Hall could not move, McClary said.
Developers can book tours for Thursday, January 24 at 4:30 p.m., Monday, January 27 at 6 p.m., and Friday, February 7 at 11 a.m. Additional tours can be booked by making an appointment with Perreault at 248-693-9742.
Bidders are required to register as a vendor with the MITN bid system at https://www.mitn.info/Registration.asp?ID=2261, and should use the NGIP Code 99884 when registering.