Farmington, MI. (October 10, 2014).  Officials may break ground on a long-awaited development project in about one year if the Farmington DDA’s request for proposals successfully attracts a project that satisfies its requirements.  The DDA is accepting proposals until Monday, February 9, 2015 for a high-density residential or mixed-use project on Slocum Street, just east of Farmington Road, commonly known as The Orchards – Phase II.

The DDA purchased the vacant parcel in October, 2013, with the hopes of realizing the long-planned second phase of The Orchards condominium project.  The first phase was constructed in 2005, but soon thereafter, a rapid regional economic downtown and accompanying decline in the residential market stymied construction of the sister building.

The parcel is zoned Central Business District, and it is represented as such in the city’s land use plan.  The DDA anticipates that the development on this site will be high-density residential, with a flexible number of units, but it would consider other mixed-use alternatives that are consistent with design requirements that complement in quality and character the first phase of the project.  It is not a requirement that the parcel be developed as a condominium project.

A recent residential market analysis conducted by the Danter Company, national leaders in real estate research, concluded that Farmington is significantly underserved with upscale apartment communities and could support an additional 400 to 500 units over a 4- to 6-year development period. This would require a wide mix of product type and rent ranges. Further, it would be necessary to offer at least some of the product in a true urban mixed-use environment.

“The development of this parcel is a key step in the DDA’s efforts,” said Annette Knowles, Assistant to the City Manager.  “Introducing more development that is appealing to those seeking to reside in a downtown environment will help create a more robust economic base to support the business community.  All signs indicate that development of this nature will again meet market demand.”

Infrastructure to support the development, including water, sewer and storm lines and the road, already are in place.  The parcel is subject to an approved Planned Unit Development agreement, which may be amended as part of the approval process.

Once proposals are received, an ad hoc committee consisting of City and DDA representatives will be formed to evaluate the proposals and to recommend the selection of the project that best fits the goals of the DDA.

The Request for Proposals and supporting documents are available for download by interested parties at www.DowntownFarmington.org.