Saline City Council Agrees to Buy Back 207 Monroe Street
The City of Saline will buy back the 3.5-acre parcel at 207 Monroe St.
City council emerged from closed session Monday night and voted unanimously to buy back the land from High Meadows Development LLC for $200,000 - the price developer Damian Farrell paid for the property when he and the city finally executed a purchase agreement for the property.
After almost a decade of dealing between the city and the developer, the only progress on the site was the removal of an old home and the installation of a retention pond that is encircled by an orange plastic fence that's often falling down. Toward the back of the property is a large mound of soil covered in overgrown weeds.
Mayor Brian Marl said the city will clean up the property and then look to find a developer for the property.
"If this motion is approved and if the closing is executed the city's first and primary goal will be to improve the safety and aesthetics of that site," Marl said before council voted. "Secondarily we look forward to moving expeditiously to find a competent qualified developer who can execute a quality project on that site."
Farrell wanted to build a development of modular condominiums on the property - drawing the concern of neighbors as the density of his development increased over time. The most recent plans called for a 30-unit development - although Farrell pressed for 40+ units at one point.
The development fizzled when, Farrell said, the manufacturer of his modular units ceased business. Plans to revive the development were hurt by COVID-19, Farrell told council last year. The most recent plan had the backing of Ron Weiser, the U of M Regent and founder of McKinley Associates.
Council grew tired of the eyesore on South Monroe Street and Farrell's inability to meet deadlines in the development agreement and decided in 2021 against extending the purchase and development agreement with High Meadows.
The city originally bought the property for $100,000 in 2011. The city considered using the property to expand People's Park or expand Oakwood Cemetery. Instead, it decided to sell the property for residential development.
The motion to repurchase the property was made by Councillor Kevin Camero-Sulak and seconded by Jim Dell'Orco.