Bloomfield Park, the 700,000-square-foot collection of unfinished concrete slabs and skeletal building shells on the township's north side is apparently up for sale.
Following a four-year legal battle — that still has appeal issues pending — the property is officially on the market. However, some experts believe it won't fetch nearly as much as planners hoped when they started developing the ambitious project years ago, according to Crain's Detroit.
William Bubniak of the Southfield-based Farbman Group, confirmed the real estate brokerage and property management firm began marketing the property last week and has the exclusive rights to do so, Crain's reported. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank has foreclosure rights to the property on Telegraph Road's east side, north of Square Lake Road near the Pontiac border.
Township Treasurer Dan Devine, a member of the Joint Development Council that will review and approve any development proposal, said there is a lot of interest in the property.
"I get a call once every week or so about it," Devine said Tuesday. "Some are very interested in developing the property, some just have general questions about it, or ask for materials to go over. Ultimately, until a site plan is proposed to the JDC, it's all speculation."
Construction on the mixed-use commercial and residential development began in 2008, but halted about a year later when co-owner Craig Schubiner sued partners Developers Diversified Realty Corp., alleging mismanagement. He lost in Oakland County Circuit Court last August, and appealed.
In 2011, the bank won a court judgment authorizing foreclosure, but is now selling that right to the highest bidder instead of foreclosing on the property itself. Crain's reported that Farmington Hills-based Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions LLC, — the court-appointed receiver for the property since 2009 — maintains control of the site but will not play a role in the foreclosure sale.
Devine said that any proposal that met the requirements of the court-ordered settlement would get serious consideration, but the township wil be very dilligent about the next development. A market study and a look at the developer's financing — two critical elements that weren't made available for the initial project — will be key, Devine added.
"I think Pontiac and Blomfield Township would work quickly to facilitate a development, as long as it met the scope of the settlement agreement, and would not deviate from the density, height or traffic specifications," he said.
County and township officials valued the property at about $12 million in 2011, but one expert said the project would likely net just a fraction of that due to costs that carry over from the original loan and likely demolition of the uncompleted structures on the site.
"You may have interest on your loan money if you borrowed it to buy the land, while you hold the property and pay taxes until you can redevelop it," Steve Morris, of Mohr Partner's Inc., told Crain's. "That's going to lead to a discount on the purchase price."