Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Owner of storage project offers site to city for $1

Metro Storage owner Tim Judge has offered to sell the East Michigan Avenue property where a $3 million project was planned to the City of Wayne for $1.
Wayne Economic Development Director Lori Gouin presented a project update and Judge's offer to members of the city council at their regular meeting last week.
Gouin explained that she had several conversations with Judge and had reviewed his financial records of the plan to construct a 95,000-square-foot project on the 2.3 acre parcel. Judge purchased the land from the city in 2016 for $1, although Gouin explained that his cost was actually $10,001.

She said that currently Judge is facing a loss of $256,000 on the project and has unpaid taxes from 2018 and 2019 of about $18,334. She told the council that as Judge attempted to move forward with the construction, he found that costs, particularly of steel needed for the building, had escalated beyond cost effectiveness for him. He revamped the plan, she reminded the council members, in 2017 and 2018, in attempts to make the project cost efficient, but was unable to build within acceptable costs. Gouin reiterated that Judge has spent more than $256,000 on the project to date on various fees for engineering, permits and utility installation at the site. He has put the site on the market, she said.
The land is on the site of a former radiator manufacturing plant and is considered contaminated. Council members previously approved the establishment of a Brownfield Development area for the site allowing Judge to recoup some of the costs of mediating the contamination. Gouin said he could receive about $326,000 in reimbursement for the remediation at the site, which has not been done.
Gouin reminded the council members that the city has not collected tax revenue from the site as it is in the Downtown Development Authority boundaries and that entity collects the city share of tax revenue. 
She said that if Judge does not pay the taxes on the property, Wayne County will claim the site and offer it to the city for the unpaid amount. If the city refuses, it will go into the Wayne County Land Bank and county officials will attempt to market the land.
Gouin said that there had been a great deal of misinformation circulated about the project including erroneous and unflattering information about Judge and his business practices.
“Mr. Judge is very disturbed about some things that have been said,” Gouin told the council “He is a very good man and he is already out $256,000 on the property.”
Council members took no action on Gouin's report.