Oakland County brass has determined that services provided at the county’s West Oakland Office Building in Walled Lake can be provided in a more cost-effective and efficient manner at other locations throughout the county, so the Board of Commissioners is in the process of approving a purchase agreement with Agree Development to sell the building, which the county has owned since 1980.
The county would be paid $675,000 for the building if the board approves the purchase agreement and the Farmington Hills-based developer does typical due diligence investigating the 17,000-square-foot, single-story property that’s situated on 1.64 acres.
Net gains for the county in the first year are expected to be $310,000, and the deal is anticipated to save $135,000 per year after the first year.
County departments that currently have staff in the building, located a 1010 E. West Maple, include the Health Department, the Probation Department of the Probate Court, the Circuit Court Family Division, and the Information Technology communication hub.
Walled Lake City Manager L. Dennis Whitt said he’s heard that a McDonald’s restaurant will be coming into the location and it will be competing with Tim Hortons and Wendy’s in the area.
The increased tax base — governmental properties aren’t subject to property taxes — will be helpful to the community, which, like others across the state, has had to deal with budget difficulties during the prolonged economic decline.
“The downside would be that the people in Walled Lake, the residents that have utilized that facility, may have a longer drive or a longer walk,” Whitt said. “I understand that (building is) pretty useful.”
“Hopefully the Health Department and the other departments can continue to service the residents in the same area,” said Oakland County Commissioner Philip J. Weipert (R-Walled Lake, Wixom). “That’s the goal. Whether it’s partnering with the school district or drug store chains on immunizations, hopefully the residents of the area will still get the same services.”
Weipert said the county board’s Planning and Building Committee, the panel now considering the matter, is “still talking about it” and awaiting a presentation from Health Department Director George Miller.