NorthPoint Development, which operates the Beyond Self Storage brand, received approval last month to move forward with a mixed-use project in Farmington Hills, Mich., that will include self-storage and a senior-living facility. The June 25 unanimous decision to support the planned unit development (PUD) comes after months of discussions, plan revisions and pushback from community members, according to the source.
The plan is to develop half of the 10-acre property at 32600 Northwestern Highway at its intersection with 14 Mile Road. A vacant commercial building would be replaced by a three-story self-storage facility comprising 691 climate-controlled units and a three-story, 92-unit Stonecrest Senior Living facility that would house about 100 residents, the source reported.
The planning commission granted a preliminary qualification for the PUD during its Dec. 14 meeting. NorthPoint will next need approval for its site plan and a formal development agreement with the city, according to Edward Gardiner, director of planning and community development.
The surrounding area includes single-family homes, an apartment complex, commercial and vacant properties, and an electrical substation. The development has received mixed responses from community members, Gardiner said. “We got a lot of letters of support, and some people had some concerns. With all development, you always have those issues,” he said, adding that those supporting the project called the lot a “blighted” area.
“The investment that the applicant is proposing will be good for the area and, hopefully, it will spur other development along the frontage of Northwestern,” Gardiner said.
Several residents voiced concerns about the project before and during the city council meeting. In a June 21 letter addressed to Mayor Ken Massey, Diane Hausner said the developments would cause an increase in traffic. She noted the intersection is already “extremely dangerous and highly congested.” She also said it’s “poorly designed and lacks adequate traffic management.” The mixed-use property would add more vehicles but not provide additional traffic control, “thereby exacerbating the dangerous conditions at that intersection,” she added.
Resident Marc Manson agreed, calling the site near one of the most congested intersections in the area. “This fact, combined with the increased traffic-collision rates at the nearby traffic circle, will contribute to the traffic backups and total standstills that inhibit emergency vehicles from quick arrival at this destination [the senior facility], and their quick departure to an emergency center,” said Manson, whose background includes risk assessment.
NorthPoint has worked with city officials and community members over the last six months to address issues such as access to the property, the buildings’ architecture, setbacks and landscaping, said Mark Pomerenke, vice president of development. Both properties would have a low impact on traffic and be aesthetically pleasing.
“We will actually clean this up and make this a clean and green site. So not only will we have a developed property in the back, but there will actually be a [development-ready] site in the front for commercial development that is sized appropriate to attract a good commercial use along Northwestern Highway,” he said, calling the lot the “front door of Farmington Hills.”
The storage facility would be on the west side of the property with access from Northwestern Highway, while the senior-living site would have access from 14 Mile Road. A gate between the two complexes would eliminate any traffic issues. “We’re really proud of the plan we put together. It will be a really high-quality project,” Pomerenke said.
Councilmember Richard Lerner urged Pomerenke to work with city officials to add more value to the developments. “Whether it is planting trees or landscaping or anything like that,” he said. “I wish you luck. I think this will be a great project. We’d like to see more public benefit come out of it than what I’ve seen today.”
Based in Riverside, Mo., and founded in 2012, NorthPoint is a development, management and leasing firm that’s principally focused on the industrial, multi-family, senior living and self-storage markets in the Central United States. The company has $2.1 billion in raised capital and operates 28 million square feet of industrial properties, thousands of multi-family apartment units, and numerous developed or managed senior-living communities.
C&G Newspapers, Senior Living, Storage Facility Move Forward in Farmington Hills