By Scott Sullivan
Douglas City Council Monday OK’d buying the now largely-empty “old hospital” property at 415 Wiley Road east of Blue Star Highway for $1.5 million eyeing in the next 2 to 5 years consolidating municipal services on that site.
The 7.8-acre commercial corner parcel ringing an 18,000 square-foot single-story brick building that could be retrofitted, said outgoing city manager Rich LaBombard (see related story below), to accommodate Department of Public Works activities and equipment on 4 acres.
Owner Gallivan Group, a Champaign, Ill. architecture, engineering and design firm with a listed $62.42 million in revenues and 534 employees, listed the site at $2 million but also faced seeing its southside 8,000-square-foot renter Lakeshore Family Clinic move to Holland Hospital’s new 16,940-square-foot medical center, now a girder skeleton at 3500 Blue Star in Saugatuck Township, when done next summer, losing $3,000 monthly rental.
Douglas — which now houses public works at 486 Water St. on the Wiley Road corner, 17 acres at 6825 W. Wiley west of Northern Lights Condominiums and July 5 scrapped plans to place public works and storage on 9.59 acres of abandoned orchard at 291 17 St., in part because residential neighbors objected — figures to fund the purchase via amending the general fund balance.
“The city has approximately $2.1 million of investments maturing by the end of 2023 and be able to cash-flow the purchase,” LaBombard said.
Douglas now also operates city hall in the 1875-built Dutcher’s Lodge at 86 Center, its police department in more-recent one-story brick building at 47 W. Center, former 1860s-built library now leased with purchase option to Ox-Bow art school at 137 W. Center, 7- plus public park spaces and 7.8-acre Brownfield space at 200 Blue Star where the now-leveled former Haworth plant, still pollution-plagued from prior occupant Chase Manufacturing, once stood.
Scattered current DPW sites, city reports conclude, are inadequate for current needs; Dutcher Lodge/City Hall would cost an estimated $1.4 million to do so also.The city has been looking at the old hospital site for five years, Labombard said.
Douglas now occupies three sites in its Downtown Development Authority district, sale of which might encourage commercial and/or residential development, helping the city finance 416 Wiley improvements andboosting DDA-capture revenues and tourism, the report said.
By Scott Sullivan