2018-07-05 / News

City considers sale of ‘landmark’ building

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – The City of Swartz Creek already has a potential buyer for the building at the corner of Morrish and Miller roads.

The City Council voted June 25 to buy the building that houses Laser’s flower shop. The property, which includes a vacant, two-bedroom apartment on the second floor, currently is in the hands of the Genesee County Treasurer Office, which seized the parcel for back taxes.

The building is available to the city for the amount owed, $27,239.

City Manager Adam Zettel said the flower shop owners, who are leasing their space, have expressed an interest in owning the building.

“I think we’re within our means to acquire it, make some strategic investments and make it a better-functioning property,” said Zettel. “I don’t want to see it auctioned to someone who may or may not improve it.”

Zettel said a brief tour of the building showed that the HVAC needs improvement and the roof is in need of repair.

The city cannot profit from the sale, so any sale price in excess of the city’s investment would go back to the county.

“We’re not in the real estate investment business,” said Zettel. “We’re in the neighborhood improvement business.”

He said the risk to the city is “extremely minimal.”

Councilman Curt Porath said the city has a stake in improving the property.

“It sits at a main intersection,” said Councilman Curt Porath. “We want to ensure that it stays nice.”

“It’s an iconic building,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dennis Pinkston. “It’s a landmark. To preserve it or fix it up and make it nicer … it would be a shame if the city didn’t get involved.”

Zettel said the property was first offered to the State of Michigan, which passed because the state would have had to pay market value.

The selling price to the city is “substantially below” that, he said.

“This is a very rare opportunity,” Zettel said.

City officials will continue to discuss options with the florists and will have the building thoroughly inspected before deciding whether to sell it right away or fix it up first.

The property does not include the adjacent businesses.

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