By Jim Newell
LAKE ORION — The Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority has entered into a purchase agreement to buy the Lake Orion Lumber Yard property for $2.4 million.
The DDA Board of Directors received and filed the agreement during its Sept. 13 meeting, after Lake Orion Review press time.
According to DDA documents, the DDA signed a letter of intent to purchase the property on July 12 and began the purchase agreement process on July 29, with completion on Sept. 2.
The DDA will pay for the property with $5 million in bonds, with the DDA expected to go out for bond bids in January 2023. The DDA had its first bond meeting on Aug. 10, according to a DDA timeline.
The DDA’s goals for purchasing the property are to “creative (an) attractive gateway” and “remove blight” in the area. The project also calls for adding public parking that could include a parking deck, a linear pocket park and mixed-used development “extending the downtown onto M-24.”
The DDA will pay $16,000 to AKA Architects for a concept design of the property; $27,750 for two environmental surveys; and $50,000 for a “commitment to buy,” according to documents.
Final closing on the purchase is not expected until March 2023.
Several residents spoke during public comments at the DDA board meeting against the purchase, saying they did not think it was the right time for the DDA to take out $5 million in bonds. There are currently petitions calling for the ordinance that funds the DDA to be repealed.
If that proposal goes to voters in an upcoming election and is repealed, the Village of Lake Orion assumes any DDA debt. Residents expressed concerns that taxpayers would then have to assume any burden if the DDA was dissolved.
Other concerns included the location “near one of the most dangerous intersections” in the village; safe ingress and egress to the property; and whether the property should be developed by a private company instead of the DDA.
By Jim Newell