Two businesses have reached out to the City of Saline about buying city-owned land in the Redies industrial park.
Bak Photography wants to build a studio in and Peter Danielson wants to build a small furniture manufacturing facility in “Lot 13,” located just north of 03 Sports on Woodland Drive.
The city has the property listed for $50,000 an acre, or $162,500 for the 3.25-acre site.
Between the two firms, they’re offering $90,000 for the property.
John Cuff, of Bak Photography, Danielson, and Tony Caprarese, of Swisher Commercial, addressed city council and answered questions during a working meeting Monday.
Bak Photography is currently renting space at 770 E. Michigan Ave. The company wants to own its own building, according to Cuff. Caprarese said the company is planning new studio in a 3,000-square-foot woodframe building they plan to buy from Chelsea Lumber. Bak Photography, which specializes in school pictures and sports photography, plans to use 1.275 acres.
The photography studio would need a special use permit to operate in the industrial park.
Danielson is planning a 5,000-square-foot building on the remainder of the property, to the north of the proposed studio. The building would house a furniture manufacturing space and a retail showroom. Danielson got his start creating wood sculptures. He shifted toward handcrafted wood furniture and is now planning to push a product line and grow his brand.
The city has been trying to sell the land for years.
Engineer Mike Saunders, who works for Bak Photography and Danielson, evaluated this property more than 20 years ago when K&F Electric considered it before choosing its Tefft Court location.
“The ground is low. Very low. It’s going to need fill,” Saunders told council.
The extra work required to develop the site is reflected in the offering prices, Saunders said.
Members of council reacted positively to the proposals. However, there were concerns about size of the retention pond.
In particular, Councillor Dean Girbach said he felt the furniture business was a good fit for the industrial park. Girbach, Councillor Janet Dillon and Councillor Linda TerHaar had previously met the potential buyers to vet the project.
Mayor Brian Marl said he saw no red flags with the proposal. He proposed that Girbach, Dillon and TerHaar meet with city staff and legal counsel to deal with issues and develop a framework for a purchase agreement.
In recent years, hoping to generate revenue and add land to the tax rolls, the city has sold several parcels of land, including 207 S. Monroe Street, land for the car wash and land for the hotel/hardware store project. The city is also currently in the process of selling land to GBA Development for a retail/restaurant development on Michigan Avenue.
Caprarese had previously told council Swisher wasn’t getting a lot of interest in property that wasn’t located on Michigan Avenue, so interest in this parcel is a positive development for the city.