A sand volleyball court. Student activity space. Full food services. And at least 525 beds that could, in the very near future, be laid claim to by students.
And with Monday afternoon's approval of the Brownfield tax plan by Dearborn City Council, plans for student housing are one step closer to reality.
Dearborn Economic Development Director Barry Murray explained that the property is eligible for several tax captures, including just under $2 million that will be split roughly in half for construction of the properties as well as the building of a pedestrian crossing across Evergreen Road.
The second tax capture had to do with approving the property as functionally obsolete, which means that it can no longer feasibly be used for the purpose it was designed. In this case, the properties in question were office buildings, which City Assessor Gary Evanko pointed out, are in "overcapacity" in Dearborn.
City Council approved both measures unanimously, checking one more item off the list needed before construction of the housing begins.
Larry Winokur of Urban Campus Communities–the developer of the estimated $44-million project–spoke in greater detail about the project during and after Monday's public hearing.
According to Winokur, the two-phase project will begin construction in September, pending finalization of financing. The first phase will cost around $27 million and will include the redevelopment of existing properties. Phase two would be a new construction that would add another 300 beds to the project.
The property at 760 Town Center Drive–the northern-most building in the project–"will be a multipurpose, multifunction building," said Winokur, who noted that the plan may still be tweaked as they move forward. "We're going to have a small portion of it devoted to apartment use–there will be 9 two-bedroom apartments. In addition, the university is leasing about ... 14,000 square feet. They're going to use it for student life activities, including meeting rooms, offices for student organizations and a multipurpose room, which will also be utilized as theater."
The other property at 780 Town Center Drive is planned to be used solely for housing.
Urban Campus Communities will house their offices in that same building. Additionally, Winokur said it is tentatively slated to include a fitness area and full food services, although the provider has not yet been selected.
Like university officials, Winokur was hesitant to say that the project is a done deal.
"We've learned that nothing is for sure until it's for sure," Winokur said. "Until we've dotted every i and crossed every t with both the bank and the general contractor and agreed upon the plan and made sure it makes financial sense–there are a lot of issues that have to be properly resolved."