Demolition has begun on a vacant grocery store in downtown Ferndale where developers plan to build a four-story, $14.9 million mixed-use residential loft building.

The Ferndale Downtown Development Authority posted photos and a video on Facebook of crews tearing down the former Save-A-Lot grocery store at 430 W. Nine Mile Road. The property has been fenced off for months.

A view of demolition work at the former Save-A-Lot grocery store.
A view of demolition work at the former Save-A-Lot grocery store.

The city back in March approved a $2.24 million brownfield redevelopment proposal for developers Ferndale9 LLC. They plan to construct the Ferndalehaus Lofts, a 105,000 square-foot building with 90 apartments — 44 of them studios, 24 one-bedrooms, 20 two-bedrooms and a pair of three-bedroom units, plus 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

Rents are considered market rate and would start around $1,000 per month.

demolition 2Ferndale9 LLC is the same group behind the Arbor Lofts in Southfield, Crain’s Detroit Business reports. Rochester-based Designhaus Architecture designed the building.

The former supermarket is considered a “functionally obsolete building” under brownfield law. In addition to offsetting demolition costs, the brownfield reimbursement credits will go toward asbestos abatement and infrastructure improvements. The developers also plan to incorporate public art installations, landscaping and improvements to Schiffer Park, a public pocket park, possibly including a band shell.

Ferndale officials have said the development fits with the city’s goals of adding more density, bringing more residents downtown and providing alternatives to the single-family homes that dominate the city.

A rendered view of Ferndalehaus, looking west down Nine Mile Road.
A rendered view of Ferndalehaus, looking west down Nine Mile Road.

Renderings show a building that will loom large over the city’s downtown, taking up 1.22 acres of property, which includes Save-A-Lot’s parking lot, with a rear surface parking structure.

Unlike other proposed loft projects of its scale, Ferndalehaus Lofts enjoyed relatively smooth sailing through approvals in City Hall. Two years ago, a proposal called Ferndale 360 LLC roiled downtown merchants and many residents.

That proposal called for two large, mixed-use loft buildings to rise on city-owned surface lots flanking the West Nine Mile commercial district. It died when the city opted to move on amid widespread opposition.

In a post on its website, the city said demolition work is expected to run through July 20. Completion of the new building is expected by late summer or early fall of 2017.

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