ALLEN PARK (WWJ) – Allen Park has finally completed a $12 million deal to wash their hands of a failed movie studio project that has weighed on the city for years.
Emergency Manager Joyce Parker on Tuesday announced the deal with Time Equities, which includes the 104-acre property adjacent to City Hall formerly known as Unity Studios. The company plans to develop the site as a mix of offices, retail, commercial and light industrial.
“Not only does this sale end an unfortunate moment in Allen Park’s rich history, the city also sheds debt payments, meaning a savings to taxpayers,” Parker said in a statement.
The deal calls for payments to be made over a 7½-year period, Parker added, and includes a community benefits agreement. Time Equities will provide up to 1,500 square feet in its building and offer employment training and job opportunities to Allen Park residents through a partnership with Wayne County and Michigan Works.
City Hall, which is in need of roof and system repairs that make renovation cost-prohibitive, will relocate to the Stauzenberg section of the property by December 1, as the city continues to work toward a move to a permanent site for its operations, Parker added.
The future debt service based on refinancing is $1.2 million in comparison to the current annual amount of $2.6 million paid from the general operating and Southfield Lease fund, Parker said.
In addition, the city will no longer have to pay taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities on the property, which cost the city approximately $1.2 million in the last fiscal year. Allen Park will also benefit from any future development in terms of additional tax revenues.
Allen Park’s financial troubles are partly a product of a failed project. The city issued $25.5 million in bonds in 2009 to finance land acquisition for the studio. After a review of city finances, the state said officials paid about $11 million more than the property was worth.
But projects never materialized and Unity Studios left the city after just one year, leaving Allen Park with annual $2 million debt service payments. The property was listed formally put up for sale in October 2012.