Greenfield tries to land a deal for key developable parcel

Published on: 11/6/2012

Greenfield - The city is taking an aggressive approach to getting 13 acres of state-owned land not needed to operate the park-and-ride lot onto the tax rolls as quickly as possible.

Rather than letting the state Department of Transportation list the land at Loomis Road and Interstate 894 and 43 as excess property, the city hopes to find a developer for it, then buy the land and sell it to the developer.

In coming days, the city will try to choose a commercial real estate broker to find a developer for the state property.

The land's value

The land is a significant part of a larger redevelopment area that used to be known as Loomis Crossing. That redevelopment area dissolved when some business owners didn't want to sell their property.

The plan hinges on the state agreeing to sell to the city. Last month, a deal was worked out giving Greenfield the first option to buy, and it got the option at no cost and no obligation, said Alan Marcuvitz, an attorney who negotiated the deal on behalf of the city.

The option locked in the price at $5 per square foot -more than $200,000 per acre or $2.8 million for 13 acres - for the commercial property, Marcuvitz said.

The price is based on a 2010 appraisal that considers the land as commercial property located near a freeway entrance, said Chuck Erickson, economic development and planning director.

The purchase would include the freeway flier road system at the southern part of the lot and adjacent property. But it doesn't include the actual paved park-and-ride lot.

The memorandum of understanding the city has with the state also suggests that the city could also purchase a northern section of the park-and-ride for $1.1 million, if that land becomes available.

The city's involvement makes it easier for the land to transition from vacant state property to tax-generating buildings, Erickson said.

And Mayor Michael Neitzke believes the city deserves more from the land.

'It's a substantial piece of property and it pays no taxes,' Neitzke said.

Safe option for city

However, Neitzke cautioned, just because the city has a plan doesn't mean a decision has been made.

Neitzke noted that the option price presents no risk to the city - Greenfield won't buy the land unless the city has a buyer waiting for it, he said.

And the land broker doesn't get paid until the sale to a developer is completed.

According to the memorandum, the city has until July 2014 to decide if it wants the 13-acre southern section. It has until July 2015 to decide about the northern parcel.

The memorandum of understanding deals only with land the state owns and doesn't affect anyone else, Erickson emphasized.