A Bloomfield Hills developer that has built up the downtown area in Wixom plans to next spring begin constructing 119 homes in the city just north of the abandoned Coe Railroad tracks.
Robertson Brothers was responsible for building out the northeast corner of the Village Center Area (VCA) at Wixom and Pontiac Trail, including retail spaces and condominiums.
“We were able to finish the condos we started and sold them all, but with the economic downturn, the project stopped,” said Robertson Brothers President Jim Clarke. “We continued to build through 2008 and began liquidating by 2009.”
Condominiums continue to be in a depressed market due to financing hurdles.
“The issue is you can’t get FHA (Federal Housing Administration) financing to build multiple (family) housing and that’s how condos are financed — it’s a red-lining of attached housing and an unintended consequence of federal legislation,” Clarke said.
However, with the help of a new lender, the developer repackaged the project.
“We lost our investment and brought new capital to Comerica (Bank) to restructure the project,” Clarke said. “It’s a nice market in a downtown environment so people can walk and grab a pizza or beer or a nice Italian meal at Volare’s.”
The project calls for sidewalks on both sides of the street and a one-acre park in the middle of the site.
Clarke’s team has appeared before the Wixom Planning Commission on three separate occasions to finalize plans for the development. The development will be situated south of Maple Road, west of Wixom Road and north of the railroad tracks.
“They have four different models,” said City Manager Mike Dornan. “The development will help our tax base as we continue to ratchet the budget down.”
Clarke said people can select from models ranging from 1,800-square-feet to 2,400-square-feet in size. The more modest homes will cost anywhere from the low $200,000s to mid-$200,000s; a larger home would run from $260,000 to $270,000.
“These homes will have a choice of attached or detached garages similar to downtown Royal Oak or Birmingham,” Clarke noted.
Clarke is seeking additional approval from the Planning Commission for in-law suites or home office spaces over unit garages.
Robertson Brothers plans to start building next spring.
“I’m hopeful,” Clarke said. “Wixom is a good option with great schools and a great government that cares about its residents.”
The Planning Commission will be reviewing the site plan today, Wednesday, Nov. 7, before forwarding its recommendation to the City Council.