The Mission of Preservation Chelsea

It is our mission to preserve Chelsea as a village rich with history and charm, reflected by historic buildings, surrounding farmlands, and as found in our beautiful and vibrant village center. We aim to work through education, offering to ourselves and the community the history of Chelsea as well as the issues shaping our future. We intend actively to preserve historic landmarks and to have a voice in all issues that affect any possible de-centralization of our village. It is our intention to pursue this mission with full involvement and input from merchants and citizens of Chelsea and to act in ways that make sense for the preservation of Chelsea's charm and historic integrity while supporting a vibrant and successful downtown.

Federal Screw Works

Federal Screw Works
This property has been under threat of total demolition since 2008--there are historically signficant and architecturally interesting sections that should be preserved!

Jackson Street Panorama

Jackson Street Panorama
The DDA voted at the meeting on 9.20.12 to demolish the Daniels Addition Car Showroom despite the letter from the State Historic Preservation Office. (please read below)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

DDA to sign a leter of intent announced at meeting 9.17.15

Resident Jan Bernath told the DDA Board that she was very excited about the project that Joe Ziolkowski of Ronlon LLC presented to the board for the Mack Building.
“I hope you’ll consider his proposal” and keep in mind “his expertise in renovating the old police building.”
The DDA voted unanimously to enter into a letter of intent to work with Ziolkowski on the project, which first needs additional environmental assessments and containment work.
City Manager John Hanifan said the state has both competitive grants and loans available for this sort of work, which is estimated at between $20,000-$30,000 for environmental testing of the building and then perhaps, about $100,000 of physical remediation work on the building.
“I think entering into a letter of intent keeps this project going forward,” said Mark Heydlauff. “A commitment from us will get the grants moving forward and a letter of intent says the city will be willing to work with this developer.”
Hanifan also told the DDA that the roof of the building will be tarped in the next few weeks to protect the inside from further weather damage. The DDA approved about $5,000 in August to have the building tarped, broken windows and doors boarded up and the building secured from further deterioration.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chelsea Update--July 20, 2015

Longworth Alley plans.
Longworth Alley plans.
As the Chelsea Downtown Development Authority tries to sell the Mack Building, members of Preservation Chelsea implored them make structural improvements to the building and do a better job of marketing the building it bought about six years ago.
Now that the Longworth Alley project is complete, during public comment, Tom Girard of Preservation Chelsea told the DDA that it was time to focus on selling the Mack Building.
He said since the DDA purchased the property at 100 Jackson St., it’s “condition has gone straight downhill” and he urged the board to “make the property viable.” Among his suggestions were protecting it from the weather with a new roof and “getting it structurally sound” for its sale.Among his suggestions were protecting it from the weather with a new roof and “getting it structurally sound” for its sale.
He urged them “don’t tear it down, make it economically viable for a developer.”

The city has issued an request for proposal for its sale with a deadline of no later than Aug. 14 at 1 p.m. In addition, the city is having a professional appraisal done, which is expected to be completed by Aug. 12.
Cathy Bean, also a member of Preservation Chelsea, sent the DDA a 3-page letter reminding them of the history and importance of the building. In the letter she said, “We acknowledge that the Mack Building is in need of extensive renovation, but we believe that [it] can be renovated and will continue to be an asset to the city.”

While acknowledging that an RFP for the building had been posted on the city website, the letter stated “in order to optimize the pool of potential buyers, the DDA needs to make a further financial investment …”
The letter asks the DDA to immediately address the building’s safety concerns to “allow prospective buyers to safely tour the site.” Also suggested was that the city list the property with a realtor on list it on specific preservation websites plus, place “for sale” signs on the building.  Among the other suggestions were to market the building to firms that specialize in adaptive reuse and add a history of the building to the city’s RFP. The letter also suggests the DDA “Sell to the highest qualified bidder without imposing unrealistic financial restrictions, and be open to public-private partnerships.”
During public comment, Jan Bernath also urged the DDA to consider public/private partnerships in selling the building and push the deadline date back to allow adequate time for potential buyers to respond.
Members of Preservation Chelsea said they do not want the DDA to demolish the building and add another parking lot, saying the space would then be disconnected from the rest of the downtown.
At the end of the meeting, the DDA board discussed a work session in August before its regular Aug. 20 meeting. They want to discuss a number of smaller projects including the decorative fencing to block people from illegally crossing the railroad tracks, the stamped crosswalk project planned for the Main and Park Street intersection, additional planters for the Palmer parking lot, additional lighting on Main Street and improving the appearance of the old Federal Screw Works property.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Tale of One City

Former Longworth Plating Site
Background on Proposed Redevelopment and RFP DDA-#1-2015
July 11, 2015
1Activity Leading up to first RFP
Chelsea DDA purchased the former Longworth Site in December 2008.
In April 2009, the Chelsea DDA conducted a town hall meeting at which the landscape architect they hired (Howard Deardorf) presented four options for the site, and recommended one of the four options (Option B). Option B called for demolition of the Livery and the Daniels Addition and was the only proposal that did not call for the complete demolition of all buildings. It was selected as the “preferred choice”. However, attendees were not given the opportunity to vote for retaining all buildings. The DDA assured the 50+ citizens in attendance that there would be other opportunities for public input. This meeting was recorded on DVD and is available for review.
At their regularly scheduled 6-4-2009 meeting, the DDA voted to demolish the car showroom (Daniels Addition) and the Livery. Demolition was to take place between the 2009 Summerfest and the Chelsea Community Fair.
In July 2009, the public began to hear about the impending demolition and a group of concerned citizens met and formed the Save the Livery Coalition (STLC). Citizens approached the Chelsea City Council on 7-28-2009 to say they did not want the Livery to be demolished. Others offered advice on how to handle contamination without putting the public at risk through demolition.
Upon the recommendation of the Council, several members of the STLC attended the 8-6-2009 DDA meeting and spoke to the same issues addressed to the Council. The DDA granted the group two weeks to come up with a firm proposal.
In the summer of 2009, Mark Creswell contacted some members of the STLC and the Chelsea Area Historical Society (CAHS) and proposed that the Great Lakes Zoological Society (GLZS) buy the former Longworth Property as a home for an educational, small animal conservatory. STLC supported Mark’s proposal. Mark made a proposal to the DDA on 8-20-2009, and the DDA approved a 60 day stay of demolition. Shortly thereafter, Mark withdrew his proposal due to negative feedback from City Staff. (Note, the GLZS sought and eventually found a home for the conservatory, which it opened in the fall of 2011 in the Dexter-Ann Arbor area.)
The STLC continued to advocate for saving the Livery. They drafted and circulated a petition to halt demolition. The petitions were signed by over 700 Chelsea area citizens and presented to Chelsea City Council and the DDA.
As a result of several meetings in December 2009/January 2010, several members of the SLC, combined with several additional members of the community to form the Preservation Chelsea - Chelsea Connection Team (PC-CCT). This group’s primary focus was on developing a viable adaptive reuse project for the former Longworth site that would be an asset to the community. The group is essentially a sub-committee of Preservation Chelsea (PC), although it is an open group that includes members that are not members of PC.
RFP DDA-001 and PC-CCT/ TCC Submittals
January 2010
In January 2010, the Chelsea DDA/ Chelsea City Manager issued RFP-001, which solicited proposals to purchase and develop the property.
February 2010
On 2-18-10, the PC-CCT submitted an “out of the box” Initial Response (proposal) to redevelop the three buildings that make up the Former Longworth Plating facility in response to DDA RFP-001. The proposal included adaptive reuse of virtually all portions of the buildings, except for the tank addition on the south side of the Livery. The proposal called for the PC-CCT to renovate and redevelop the buildings while the DDA would continue to own the property. Funds would have come from the DDA, from grants applied for by PC-CCT, and from fundraisers conducted by PC-CCT. Profit from the completed project would have gone to the DDA. PC-CCT’s proposal was the only proposal submitted in response to RFP DDA-001.
March 2010
On 3-18-10, at their March meeting, the Chelsea DDA discussed the 2-18-10 proposal and agreed to further discuss the proposal and to take action at the April DDA meeting. It was obvious to PC-CCT members in attendance that the proposal was not well received by the DDA, and that a favorable vote was not likely. Key points of contention by DDA members appeared to be (no formal action was taken):
  • Ownership of site.
    Many members of the DDA made it clear that they wanted to sell the property, and would not consider offers that would involve DDA ownership any longer than necessary. Paraphrasing one DDA member: “the DDA is not and should not be in the business of developing and managing real estate”.
  • Financial Plan/ DDA Investment.
    Several members of the DDA did not want to invest further in the property. Though the PC-CCT proposal included some financial information, it did not include details about where the money would come from (other than to suggest that the DDA invest $900k+ additional into the property that many in the DDA wished they had never purchased).
  • Parking. Some DDA members felt the site must include additional parking for the downtown area.
  • Daniels Addition. Some DDA members felt the Daniels addition should be demolished, either for aesthetic reasons, or to improve traffic, or to add some green space.
To garner serious consideration by the DDA, PC-CCT regrouped and took a few key actions:
  • Preservation Chelsea (PC) (a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) discussed and voted not to pursue purchase, because it was beyond their core mission.
  • At a PC-CCT meeting, several members agreed to form a new Limited Liability Corporation, with the expressed purpose of purchasing and redeveloping the former Longworth site through adaptive reuse of the buildings. Paperwork was filed in Lansing under the name The Chelsea Connection, LLC (TCC)
  • Members of PC-CCT contacted Kincaid–Henry, a Lansing based adaptive reuse focused contractor/ developer, in hopes of encouraging their involvement in the project, either as a partner with TCC, LLC, or as a separate entity. TCC gave K-H a wealth of background information on the property.
April 2010
TCC compiled supplemental information to amend the 2-18-10 Initial Response proposal, in hopes of addressing the DDA’s concerns and successfully negotiating sale of the property to TCC. The Supplemental Response proposal was submitted from TCC to the DDA/ City Manager at the 4-17-10 DDA meeting. The proposal included sale of the property to TCC. The proposal also included additional financial data, a revised development schedule and letters of intent from The New Chelsea Market (a prospective tenant for 4000 SF on the first floor of the Mack Building) and Chelsea State Bank. During discussion, a motion was made to begin negotiations with TCC on the sale of the property. As discussion continued, representatives from Kincaid-Henry requested that the DDA extend the RFP response period for 60 days to allow them to submit their own proposal. DDA members discussed and agreed to add an additional 30 days (90 days total), so that the DDA could decide what their vision was for the property. The motion was withdrawn, and the DDA voted instead to extend the response period to mid-July.
The DDA conducted a special meeting on 4-27-2010, which appeared to have two intended purposes:
  • Allow the DDA to develop a clear vision for the site.
    Numerous ideas and issues were discussed, but the DDA did not appear to emerge with a clear, written vision for the site.
  • Introduce the Kincaid-Henry (K-H) team, and to share some of their initial ideas.
    K-H discussed the potential for developing the property as an incubator for small businesses, with the DDA and/ or City continuing to own the property, but also discussed potential to purchase and develop the site through adaptive reuse of the buildings.
The DDA/ City Manager posted an extension to the RFP DDA-001 (due 7-14-10, 1pm), but did not otherwise amend the RFP.
May-June 2010
TCC continued to meet every 2-3 weeks to “keep things moving slowly” on their proposal, expecting that it would be a back-up plan to Kincaid-Henry’s proposal.
Members of PC-CCT/TCC attended tax credit seminars and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network conference, to gain additional insight on applying for tax credits and structuring non-profit/ for-profit partnerships, such as would exist between PC and TCC.
July 2010
On 7-6-10, TCC was notified that Kincaid-Henry would not be submitting a response to RFP DDA-001, due to other priorities and a lack of viable tenants. They suggested that the buildings continue to be viable for adaptive reuse.
TCC confirmed continued intent by The New Chelsea Market to lease the first floor of the Mack building, but with the stipulation that they must be able to move in before the holidays 2010.
TCC submitted an Updated Initial Response on 7-14-2010, prior to the amended due date.
The DDA took no action on the Updated Initial Response submitted by TCC at the July DDA meeting, agreeing to vote on the proposal at the August meeting.
August 2010
Members of the Chelsea community organized the Jackson Street Jam, to raise awareness and interest on the plight of the former Longworth property. The event was held on 8-6-2010, and included live music and speeches from local groups and Nancy Finegold of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network.
TCC issued a “Follow-Up to 7-14-10 Updated Initial Response” letter to the DDA on 8-16-2010, highlighting last minute developments prior to the August DDA meeting.
At their regularly scheduled 8-19-2010, the DDA voted to reject the TCC proposal and offer to purchase for $200,000. The DDA also voted to move forward with the demolition of the Livery and Showroom.
Fall 2010
In response to the DDA’s actions, many members of the community expressed their concern about the decision through editorials, and public comment at DDA and City Council meetings.
The PC-CCT continued to meet, though with less regularity than when PC-CCT/TCC proposals were being developed and reviewed.
DDA president Mike Jackson resigned from the DDA in late 2010.
Two workshops relating to tax credits were held at the Chelsea District Library during winter 2011 that were sponsored jointly by Preservation Chelsea and the DDA. Deborah Stuart, Community Assistance Specialist from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation presented information on programs and services for downtown revitalization. Robert McKay from the State Historic Preservation Office and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority presented information on the federal historic preservation tax credits.
However, activity on the former Longworth site was far less pronounced and visible in 2011, due to the DDA refocusing its priorities on developing and refining its Comprehensive Downtown Plan, which was conducted by Howard Deardorf. Though it did not appear that proposed projects had a final “ranking”, it appeared to the community that other projects were a higher priority, including:
  • Implementing streetscape improvements, including “bumpouts”, to quiet vehicular traffic and improve pedestrian safety.
  • Providing pedestrian access to the municipal parking lot near the Purple Rose Theatre.
  • Leasing/ purchasing/ developing former Palmer Ford parking lot (south of the Palmer Auto Service building and lot.
In-coming DDA president Pete Flintoff spearheaded a Residential Equivalency Unit (REU) credit program to be funded by the DDA. The program was approved by the DDA and went into effect in July 2011. The program was viewed to be a “game changer”, in that developers (including restaurateur Jon Carlson who toured the site in August 2010) often cited the high cost of REUs as being a key roadblock to development downtown (not just in the former Longworth complex). No applications have yet been submitted for the program, but all parties concur that it will help foster development.
Historic Downtown Chelsea was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. After many months of arduous work, a small group of folks (especially 2011 Citizen of the Year, John Frank; then DDA member Jim Myles; Chelsea Area Historical Society member Cary Church), completed all documentation necessary for this prestigious designation. The application was approved by the National Parks Service in the spring of 2011. The presentation event held in June 2011 included speeches by local politicians and culminated with the presentation of the plaque. The Daniels showroom, Mack Building and Livery Buildings are all included as “contributing buildings” for the register (unlike portions of downtown in which historic character of the building was destroyed or where newer structures were added. In so doing, the National Park Service, and Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) cited the former Longworth Complex (except for small tanks addition in the back) as being historically significant.
Sometime in 2011 (possibly earlier?), City Manager John Hanifan secured grant funding for abatement of asbestos, and possibly other contaminants in the former Longworth buildings.
In late August 2011, PC became aware of a window rehabilitation training program offered through the Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN). The program trains under-employed contractors how to restore historic wood windows and helps the host site by getting some windows restored free of charge. The PC board approved Tom Girard to submit an application on behalf of the PC for conducting the training in the Longworth complex. The DDA rejected the idea at their August meeting, due to inadequate information about the program. Days later, armed with additional information, the Chelsea City Council unanimously approved the application. The PC application was submitted to the MHPN, and MHPN judges toured the site in September. Though Chelsea was among the three finalists, Muskegon was ultimately selected to host the workshop, which was held in November 2011.
At an early fall meeting, it was stated that the Longworth Property would be listed for sale in March.
An entrepreneur looking for showroom and workspace was referred to PC by MotorCities. In November 2011 Tom Girard began discussions with the potential tenant that is targeting Chelsea or one other historic downtown as the future site for a professional and teaching studio/ gallery for southeastern Michigan artists (web-based and on-location)/ event and performance space that could occupy all of the Daniels Addition, the Mack Building and possibly a portion of the Livery. Discussions continue in 2012.
In November 2011, PC discussed strategies for saving the former Longworth buildings with staff from the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, including fund-raising professionals. As a result, PC is preparing to organize a community-wide fundraising campaign to purchase and stabilize threatened historic buildings in Chelsea. This represents a clear departure from the past PC stance that PC should not purchase buildings. While this remains true, PC recognizes that fund raising within the community can only be supported by a non-profit entity, and that many grants are targeted specifically to non-profits. PC remains firm on desire to get these buildings back in the private sector as soon as practical.
In December 2011, the PC board elected two new members: Cathy Bean and Tom Girard, both of whom have been actively involved in advocating for the adaptive use of the former Longworth complex.
State of Michigan historic preservation tax credits expired December 31, 2011 under the direction of Governor Rick Snyder. However, the federal tax credit program continues, which can account for as much as 20% of the project cost for redevelopment on properties like the former Longworth site.
Other potential buyers have been rumored to have examined the property in 2011. No formal offers have been received.
At the January 12, 2012 work session, DDA members shared their opinions about how to proceed with the former Longworth site, and City Manager John Hanifan stated a brief summary of past history. No formal action was taken. An article posted in the Chelsea Standard stated what many in attendance thought – that the DDA had informally decided to move forward with demolition of all but the Mack Building.
The DDA has not issued a formal vision for the site, beyond what is listed in the two year old RFP DDA-001. The DDA has not issued another formal RFP or publicly listed the property for sale.
PC-CCT and TCC received no official (written) response to, or feedback or direction on the Initial Response (2-18-2010), the Supplemental Response (4-17-2010) or the Updated Initial Response (7-14-2010).
January 2013
The DDA announced the buildings were for sale for $1 and no tax abatements but without the $1 million commitment any reasonable offer was going to be consider. An RFP was posted on the city webstie.
Preservation Chelsea members contacted many companies from the list Michigan Historic Preservation Network of redevelopment companies . Postcards were sent, phone calls were made, networking was used to draw people to this unique opportunity.
May 31, 2013
Two proposals were presented to the DDA: Prochaskra/Zachard for housing and retail and The Longworth Building Development Team headed by Kadushin and Beal for mixed retail use and lofts. Both would use state and historic tax credits and require time to secure these.
Pollock's letter indicated the wish for the DDA to support the Longworth Development Company's request for a tax abatement on the property. The tax abatement would negate 100 percent of the taxes on the property at first, but would gradually expect more taxes over a maximum period of 12 years, as decided by the Chelsea City Council, before putting the property entirely back on the tax rolls. The negated taxes would total about $10,000 at most.
June 8, 2013
At the DDA meeting, the following motion was made and seconded:
"Whereas, the DDA's Request for Proposals (RFP) has solicited two proposals, one by
Kadushin/Beal development team and another by the Prochaska/Zachary development team.
Neither proposal has demonstrated the financial commitment as requested. Each proposal
requests tax abatements from the City which are beyond the authority of the DDA to accept or
obtain. The mixed use of the Kadushin/Beal proposal is the most viable.
Be It Resolved, that the DDA invites the Kadushin/Beal team to submit its draft agreement
to the DDA on or before June 21, 2012, for acquisition and development of the Longworth
property on the conditions and requirements of the RFP with the following modifications:
The agreement must be accompanied by the irrevocable bank letter of credit of $1M or
other security acceptable to the DDA to secure improvements in the property."

June 21, 2013
In a June 19 letter to City Manager John Hanifan, architect Alexander Pollock, who was a part of the development team, said the 110 Longworth Building Development Company was no longer interested in the project.

In his letter, Pollock wrote that the developers could not accept the additional condition set forth by the Downtown Development Authority on June 7, which included a letter of credit for $1 million from a bank by the end of a 90-day period.

"In particular, the letter of credit, the short due diligence period, and reverter are unrealistic and unreasonable and we will not undertake the business risks to proceed under these conditions," Pollock wrote.

The potential $3.7 million development would have turned the buildings at the Longworth property into a mixed-use set of buildings, which would have included a restaurant, lofts and a pottery studio, as well as an outdoor plaza.
October 29, 2013
The Daniels Showroom was demolished.
October 17, 2014
The livery was demolished.
Summer 2015
Parking was installed where the livery once stood. RFP DDA #1-2015 was posted on the city website for the Mack Building . Preservation Chelsea wrote a letter,to the DDA for the July 16 meeting, distributed by Pete Flitolft and copied to the City Council, requesting that the RFP proposal acceptance date be reset to November 1, 2015. PC expressed a desire to form a working partnership with the DDA to redevelop the Mack Building.