Saga continues with old psychiatric hospital property in Northville

(via Observer & Eccentric)

David Schostak, CEO of Schostak Brothers and Co., was making some remarks at the June 25 groundbreaking for the long-awaited Northville Park Place development located at the corner of Seven Mile and Haggerty roads in Northville Township.

Surrounded by members of his company, the project’s financial backers and our newspaper staff, Schostak said the project, which will include retailers and restaurants, is an excellent example of cooperation between the public and private sectors. Yet all it took was a quick glance around to determine there wasn’t anybody at the ceremony from the public sector, particularly Northville Township. Frankly, I’ve never been to a ribbon-cutting ceremony not attended by elected officials. Usually there are more of them than you can shake a stick at.

It was a strange, almost awkward moment in an otherwise celebratory affair at which Schostak said a number of tenants have already signed lease agreements, including Chipotle, Granite City Food and Brewery, Rusty Bucket, Sherwin Williams, BurgerFi and Jimmy John’s.

Using the word “cooperation” to describe the relationship between Schostak Brothers and Northville Township is a pretty big stretch, especially when it comes to the long saga surrounding the former Northville Psychiatric Hospital property. It is a story filled with lawsuits, annexation attempts and now legal wrangling.

Not even a week before the ceremony, Northville Township Supervisor Bob Nix was informing other board members at a public meeting that a number of “transactions have yet to be fulfilled” by Schostak pertaining to the brownfield agreement between the company and the township. Although Nix didn’t elaborate on the point and township officials won’t discuss the matter publicly, it is obvious they are not happy with the relationship with Schostak, no more than they were when the company convinced Livonia officials to support the failed annexation attempt of the property.

You may recall last year the township created a brownfield authority so it could capture TIF (tax increment financing) funding from the 82-acre property owned by Schostak, which it will use to demolish the old hospital buildings on adjacent property owned by the township. However, due to a lawsuit, the township has to share those funds 50/50 with Schostak.


Now that the University of Michigan Northville Health Center is open, the township can begin to collect taxes on the property. The latest issue between the township and Schostak is how those TIF funds will be distributed – essentially, who gets the first dollars and when.

Schostak wants the money to put in the necessary infrastructure to support the development, while the township needs the money to tear down the old hospital buildings, which have become a public hazard and haven for trespassers. So you might say the relationship is at another impasse. Most likely it will be left up to the courts to figure it all out – and the legal bills will continue to mount.

There have also been rumors that Schostak may try to sell the property the hospital sits on to the University of Michigan (currently U-M leases the property from Schostak), which would be devastating to the township because a nonprofit wouldn’t have to pay property taxes. In such a scenario, the township would have far less tax revenue to demolish the old hospital buildings and implement the park plan it has for the property.

So when you add it all up, expect this saga to have a few more turns before all is said and done.

Township officials are certainly happy that the development is finally moving forward. In fact, many were in attendance Monday when the U-M Northville Health Center opened its doors for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. In fact, Nix himself helped cut the ribbon. It was quite the dichotomy to the Schostak groundbreaking ceremony.

I suspect once the initial phase of Northville Park Place opens next spring, township officials will show up with smiles on their faces, help introduce the various businesses to the community and root for their success. In the meantime, they will hold their noses as they continue to “cooperate” with Schostak Bros.

July 15, 2014, 5:34 pm

Officials hope to demolish another building on Seven Mile property

(via Observer & Eccentric)

One building on the old Northville Psychiatric Hospital property on Seven Mile Road could soon be coming down once studies are done on how much asbestos it contains and to best bring it down.

So called “Building 72”, which is very visible from Seven Mile Road on the most western part of the property and has been the scene of many trespassing incidents, is the one designated for this study and potential demolition.

The Northville Township Board of Trustees, by 6-0 vote, approved a nearly $20,000 contract with AKT Peerless to perform the asbestos and hazardous materials survey, and to prepare the abatement and demolition specifications for the bidding process.

This decision and funding is in accordance with the requirements of Community Development Block Grant program, a federal granting program administered by Wayne County, which is helping to fund the cleanup of the property. Previously, a $200,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant helped with work at the property’s powerhouse and maintenance building.

“We are accumulating about $390,000 that might be enough money, depending on the bids, that once we get the engineering work done here and the scope of the bids we’ll see if that gives us an opportunity to demolish one of the buildings on the Seven Mile property,” said Northville Township Supervisor Robert Nix.

He said the building was picked by using criteria that considers how much the township has for such a project. Previous buildings to be demolished like the power house building had been discovered to be filled with asbestos causing the costs of the project to sky rocket.

The former hospital opened in 1952 as a modern mental hospital that could house up to 2,000 patients. Its nearly 20 buildings included research facilities, a movie theater, bowling alley, pool and morgue. Building 72 does contain the old bowling alley and like the rest of the buildings it is run down and a safety hazard.

Building 72’s prominence off Seven Mile has made it a trespassing destination, which is an ongoing issue for the Northville Township Public Safety Department. Every month the police are citing trespassers for being illegally on the township-owned property. In 2012, there were nearly 700 service calls to the property, nearly all of them for trespassers.

July 15, 2014, 5:31 pm

Person Steals Property Worth More Than $16K from Psych Hospital

Someone broke into and stole from the former psychiatric hospital sometime before 9 a.m. June 26, according to a Northville Township police report.

Someone cut a heavy chain link used to secure a roll up door on the north side of the Seven Mile property’s former power plant, at 41001 Seven Mile Road, the report said.

The suspect stole two commercial grade gas-powered generators valued at $15,000 and two portable gas-powered generators valued at $1,500, according to the report.

The complainant from National Environmental Group said the commercial generators were heavy and would require multiple people to lift them into a car, the report said. 

For questions about this crime report, email


July 8, 2013, 2:25 pm