In a move expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners has approved the sale of the West Oakland Office Building located at 1010 E. West Maple Road in Walled Lake to McDonald’s Corporation in a 15-10 party-line vote.
The 17,000-square-foot, single-story building, for which McDonald’s Corporation is paying $675,000, is situated on 1.64 acres of land and has been owned by Oakland County since 1980. The county expects to reap a $135,000 annual savings and realize the ability to forego $500,000 in capital improvements that were expected at the building.
Local and county officials have also pointed to the fact that the building, since it will be placed in the hands of a private company, will also be added to the local tax rolls, meaning additional revenue for the city of Walled Lake.
Currently, the West Oakland building — which is expected to be vacated in September — is home to staff and operations for the Health and Human Services department, according to the county. The sale of the building will only “minimally impact” those services, officials said in a press release announcing the board’s approval of the deal.
“We are experiencing the toughest economy in our lifetime which has adversely impacted our revenue stream for the operations of government,” Director of Facilities Management Art Holdsworth stated in the press release. “To stabilize our budget, we as a county have been looking at everything and anything to efficiently stabilize our costs, including downsizing our footprint.”
The vote to approve the sale was not without its critics, one of whom is Commissioner Marcia Gershenson (D-West Bloomfield), who lamented two specific aspects of the proposal.
“The No. 1 reason (I voted against the sale) was that it did not go out for bids,” she said. “There was an appraisal of the property and one came in significantly higher than the agreed-upon price.
“I’m a firm believer that the public needs an opportunity to bid on a piece of property for sale,” she added. “It was a private negotiation. I think it should have been put out to the public for bid.”
In addition, she said she is concerned about access to public health services for people in the west Oakland area, who she said will have to travel to either Pontiac or Southfield to receive those same services now housed at the West Oakland Office Building.
“We represent a very large community and all citizens should have equal access to some of the wonderful health services that we offer.”