Loft construction may begin soon
It's hard not to get excited about the proposed loft construction where Ashmore's Truck Rental used to be after viewing the artist's rendering in last week's Mirror. Unless, of course, you live behind it.
A few months ago, after a zoning commission meeting was adjourned due to lack of seating for the hoards, I met with a couple of my neighbors who live close to Woodward behind Wetmore's who weren't excited about their properties being rezoned. I suggested there were three types of people with three different views of the project.
The first is people whose homes will be rezoned, prohibiting them from selling or rebuilding another home on the same property. These are the same people who if they stay in their house they'll be looking at the back of a multi-story building instead of the back of businesses like, well, like Wetmore's. As noisy as that business is, it's only noisy during the day when people expect disturbances. With an apartment building (or townhouses or condominiums) noise will be more persistent.
Another group of people are residents who live far enough away their quality-of-life won't be impacted and are excited about anyone wanting to build in Ferndale, especially if it means bringing in more residents, more children, and increasing the tax base. In their opinion, these are all good things. They're especially good if you're suffering from Royal-Oak-Envy, and see all the new residential construction going on there and wondering why Ferndale isn't seeing as much of it. The article above mentions townhouse pricing in the range of $100,000-$700,000. Certainly at the upper-end of that range we're expecting higher-income residents, probably professionals, which is a good thing for area businesses and restaurants.
The last group is developers who probably have their eyes roaming up and down Woodward throughout Ferndale, licking their chops over the lower property values (compared to Royal Oak) while still maintaining proximity for their prospects to both the Ferndale and Royal Oak downtown shopping and dining districts. That's good news for the city.
How each constituency makes out in the end remains to be seen. The city, especially its neighborhoods, needs renewal. It may be impossible for everyone to be happy. As a friend of mine who was once a civil-court judge once told me, he knew he'd made a good ruling if both parties were equally upset. Maybe Ferndale can pull this off and know they've made good policy when everyone is equally satisfied.