The former Centennial Country Club in Cascade Township is the site of Meadowood Development Corp.'s $35-million residential development, Centennial Park. Photo via fb.com
If the redevelopment plan Meadowood Development Corp. has proposed for the former Centennial Country Club in Cascade Township goes forward, the investment made in the project will reach about $35 million and result in roughly 250 new residences being built.
At the same time, though, about a third of the course’s 85 total acres will remain as green space for residents on and around the property to enjoy.
The plan has a dozen acres that border the existing office park set aside for 120 apartments, 10 each in 12 new two-story buildings, with garages integrated into the structures. The apartments will have one-, two- and three-bedroom units. A clubhouse, a fitness room and a swimming pool also are part of the plan.
Another 12-acre site on the grounds is being considered for a similar apartment development.
“We’re pursuing an underlying zoning use consistent with the master plan, which is also a 120-unit apartment complex. But there hasn’t been a development proposed for the area,” said Chris Beckering, director of development for Pioneer Construction Co. and spokesman for the developer.
The former course’s clubhouse is on that acreage and is leased to a catering company. The lease will remain in place, and the company will continue operating there.
Beckering said five half-acre lots along Charlevoix Drive are under contract to a residential builder, who intends to build one story, single-family homes with 1,600 square feet of space on the parcels.
“I got a tremendous amount of interest from builders for those sites that greatly exceeded my expectation,” he said. “There seems to be really strong demand for residential in Cascade Township and the Forest Hills school district."
There is another single-family lot of about 3.5 acres, and 10 acres of contiguous land that is available. A 2.5-acre parcel is being proposed by Meadowood for a day-care facility.
But there are a number of parcels in the proposal that Meadowood Development gives away or sells to neighbors and nearby residential associations that will be preserved as greenspace — so those who live near the property don’t have their sightlines blocked or interrupted by the new construction.
A resident plans to buy four parcels near his house that he will keep as open spaces. Meadowood could have sold those lots for single-family homes.
“He also has no intention of developing those four lots,” Beckering said.
A condominium association is interested in buying a lot for two units, but isn’t planning to develop the parcel right away and will keep it as green space for the immediate future.
Another association also is buying some property and plans to preserve it.
“The whole plan preserves about 30 acres as open space," he said. "So in Centennial Park, we’re really maintaining a nice, park-like community even with the proposed changes of this plan. And I think that is of interest to people. We thought we’d be as responsible as we could with this development, with as much green space and open space as we could, to maintain the character and integrity of the park."
This redevelopment plan for the Centennial Country Club, which closed at the end of last summer after 26 years of operation, is the area’s first proposed large suburban residential project since the housing crisis crippled the industry.
The Business Journal asked Pioneer Construction's Beckering if this project signifies that new residential construction has officially risen from the ashes following the housing meltdown.
“I am certainly no expert in single family residential construction, and that’s why we’re selling the single-family lots to a residential builder who does know that market. But the demand that I saw from builders interested in the package and the amount of inquiries that I’ve had through my involvement with the project have been incredibly surprising to me,” he said.
“The stories we’ve been hearing for the last three or four years have been how bad the residential market is and how long it’s taking things to sell," he said. "It certainly seems to be storming back if you have the right product and the right area. There is certainly no question that the Forest Hills Public School District is one of those in the highest demand for buyers and renters alike.”
The redevelopment is going through the approval process with township officials.
If they give it the green light, the value of the five new single-family homes should total about $1.25 million, and the value of the apartment complex should be around $15 million. A second apartment building would be worth another $15 million.
So if every parcel gets sold and every structure gets built on the grounds, Beckering said it becomes a $35-million development.
“It would be a great increase in the tax base for the township, as well," he said. “We’ve done everything we can to try to structure a deal that creates a win for Cascade Township, a win for the neighboring residents and a win for us as a developer. I believe we’re close to receiving approvals on a plan that will do that for everybody.”