UPDATE: Dearborn City Council Approves $3.2M Purchase for New City Hall

The city of Dearborn will purchase the ADP building on Michigan Avenue with the intention of turning the space into City Hall.

Dearborn will have a new home for city hall after Dearborn City Council approved Tuesday the $3.2 million purchase of a building for that purpose.

The city will buy the ADP building–located at 16901 Michigan Ave.–which has long been discussed as the likely site for a move. The price of $3.2 million–along with approximately $575,000 in closing costs, holding costs, prorated taxes and building evaluation costs–will be added as an amendment to the fiscal year 2012 budget.

Council President Tom Tafelski, who has consistently , was joined by Councilman Brian O'Donnell in voting against the purchase.

"Our legacy shouldn't be in bricks and mortar," Tafelski said. "It should be in preserving and protecting neighborhoods and changing the downtown areas."

Tafelski added that he felt that it's the "wrong time and place" to move , citing the immediate cost, even as the city faces a looming budget deficit without cutting costs.

Mayor Jack O'Reilly disagreed, stating that the purchase of the ADP building and sale of City Hall was a long-term strategic move.

"We have to look 20-25 years ahead," O'Reilly said, citing mounting costs of repairs needed. "This (current City Hall) building needs $5.7 million in investments. This is $5.7 we won’t have to spend–$5.7 million saved."

City Attorney Debra Walling added that the city is "close to finalizing the letter of intent" to sell City Hall to national nonprofit Artspace, which is looking to transform the space into live-work space for artists.

The letter will identify Artspace "exclusively... as the party we’re negotiating with," O'Reilly said at a meeting in March to approve the letter of intent.

Artspace, working in conjunction with the , intends to turn the building into that could include performance areas, living space and areas for artists to work on their crafts.

Artspace would purchase the City Hall building as-is, and be required to bring it up to code. They also agreed to historically preserve the nearly 100-year-old building. They have not yet secured grant funding that would make the purchase possible.

O'Reilly and several council members said they feel the Artspace project will provide a much-needed boost to east downtown.

"From a progressive standpoint, it’s the right thing to do," said Councilman David Bazzy.

Tafelski said after the meeting that he believes the plan is shortsighted.

"It’s the boy who cried wolf," he said. "We’re saying we’re poor, we still haven’t balanced the budget, but now we’re going to spend $3.7 million."

He added that Artspace seems like a great project for Dearborn, but that it should "complement City Hall, not replace (it)."

Tafelski called on Dearborn residents to protest the actions–although the purchase of the ADP building will likely go through nearly immediately.

"I think the Dearborn public needs to be aware of what’s going on," he said. "It’s a large silent majority that really needs to step forward and say, 'Enough’s enough,' because otherwise, we’re going to lose this town."

Ismail Bachir June 02, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Carol Lewis June 02, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I personally do not think that this was a good idea. To make a move using long range projected building problems is not feasible. The city does not even have a closed deal with Artspace and even if that goes through, do we have enough starving artist types that would be interested? There are groups in Detroit going this genre. Not sure of their success.
laplateau June 04, 2012 at 11:15 PM
And....if the present City Hall is in such bad shape, doesn't the city have to correct all the code and structural violations BEFORE it can be sold to any buyer? That's what the city requires of any homeowner before they can sell. The violations cannot be assigned to the buyer..the seller has to correct them. But...well, uh, gee, the city and O'Reilly don't have to follow their own laws and regulations, do they? But, if they did, they would never get enough from the sale to cover the costs of the new building. But what the heck, we'll follow Obama and either try to raise the taxes again and borrow more. Listen taxpayers...wake up! We can't have pools, can't keep the libraries open, can't afford to even fix out own public buildings. We have sold street cleaners because we used to clean the streets every week, then it was reduced to every other week, and now it's once a month. And, tey haven't even begun todo the,m once a month yet.
POWDERBURNER June 05, 2012 at 06:49 PM
If it wasn't for their anal view of codes and ordinances, we wouldn't be saddled with all their BS violations they come up with when it's time for us to remodel or sell a house. I've lived in a lot of different places and have 2 parcels in northern Michigan, both with dwellings on them. None of them rule like Da' Bone. Happy Jack and his band of merry dictators get a major bulge in their clothing when they find another way to tell us what to do or get fined.
laplateau June 06, 2012 at 12:44 AM


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