FLINT TWP. — A four-story hotel with a small convention center, a three-story climate controlled storage facility and a 80-unit assisted living facility are slated to replace the long-standing amusements at Pirates Park, 4175 Miller Road, after about 25 years of operation.
Last week, the Flint Township Planning Commission approved a multi-million dollar, three-phase Planned Unit Development (PUD) presented by developer Ernie D’Ascenzo, representing Pitt Penn of Farmington Hills. D’Ascenzo said he would like to break ground on phase one of the project in March. That would be construction of a three-story, estimated 75,000 square foot, climate controlled Self Storage Facility.
It will be located near the eastern side of the 39-acre property, bordered roughly to the north by a retail plaza and to the south by the I-69 expressway. D’Ascenzo estimated construction will take six months.
Targeting small business owners particularly, D’Ascenzo said the building design allows security for users to drive their vehicle inside and load or unload out of the weather. It will also have a small conference room and post office boxes for their use.
Phase one will also include outdoor parking for recreational vehicles. D’Ascenzo said that to manage traffic and congestion, access to the facility would be aligned with existing traffic lanes serving the DSW shoe warehouse in an adjacent plaza.
Phase two will be construction of the hotel and convention center which D’Ascenzo estimated would take about eight months to complete, probably opening in 2017.
He said his company is talking with Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn as potential hotel operators.
The hotel would be situated near the center of the property, roughly behind the Valley Plaza retail strip fronting Miller Road and an existing pond at the back of the property.
An existing liquor license for the parcel would transfer to the hotel, he said, adding that demographic studies show a need for a mid-level hotel with convention center in this area.
D’Ascenzo said he is not certain when phase three would start on construction of the assisted living center targeting resident over age 55. His company is working with a partner based in Salt Lake City that has developed three similar facilities, he said.
D’Ascenzo has to come back before the planning commission for approval of site plans for the proposed facilities. He secured easements and met other zoning issue to get PUD approval .
D’Ascenzo said that a purchase agreement with Pirate’s Park property owners was contingent on the PUD approval.
D’Ascenzo was advised that he must comply with drainage, signage and airspace requirements for the project and also satisfy issues raised by an adjacent property owner concerning lot lines and fencing.
Pirates Park has been for sale a few year. Offering a water slide, batting cages, miniature golf and other amusements, it was a popular place for family outings and birthday parties for many years.
Last year, owners attempted to retain its recreational use through a proposal to sell the property to Flint Township via a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. which supports the purchase and development of urban land for public outdoor recreation and natural resource protection.
The township board turned down the proposal because of the expense of maintenance and operation of the park.
D’Ascenzo said the Pirate’s Park amenities will be removed.