The Brighton City Council and the city’s Downtown Development Authority met in a joint session Tuesday to discuss the possible future purchase of downtown property for a parking structure coupled with a mixed-use development.

City Manager Nate Geinzer says the proposed site is on North Street and includes the former Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce property, which is now a parking lot, as well as another property. Geinzer tells WHMI that at this time the city is merely seeking property appraisals and not negotiating with any party regarding a potential future purchase of the two properties in question. Geinzer says that due diligence and market analysis will be done to determine whether the proposed site could be used for a possible multi-story parking structure, combined with a mixed use commercial development.

At the conclusion of the joint City Council-DDA meeting, the DDA reconvened in separate session. In an action related to the possible future property purchase, the DDA approved the hiring of Plante Moran Real Estate Investment Advisers at a fee not to exceed $45,000 to provide consulting services for the city in regard to the viability of the potential future redevelopment of the area at issue. The DDA has talked about the possibility of building a downtown parking structure for several years, but prior discussions had indicated the city lacked sufficient funds for a parking structure of 4-5 stories that could cost as much as $9-$10 million. More recent discussions have mentioned a possible public-private partnership that could make such a project more financially feasible.

The DDA conducted soil borings at the North St. parking lot at North and West streets last fall to see if the soil underneath the surface is sufficiently stable to support a multi-story parking structure there. However, the results were not encouraging, showing that the sub-soils are too muddy due to their proximity of Ore Creek. The site presently being considered is a block away and is bounded on the west by Hyne and North streets. Geinzer stresses that discussions on the proposed downtown redevelopment project are very preliminary at this time. (TT)