Thursday, August 13, 2020

Developer presents plan for former Eloise property

Kay Beard building 
John Hambrick has some big plans for the former Wayne County General Hospital property in Westland.
Hambrick, who purchased the 16-acres of property from Wayne County for $1 in 2018 received approval last week from the Westland Planning Commission members to split the land into five parcels. While Hambrick said he plans to demolish the buildings that formerly housed a power plant and bakery, he said he may renovate the firehouse into a facility serving coffee and ice cream. Other buildings at the site would be retained, he said. He told the commissioners that he has no plans to change the look of the Kay Beard building or the firehouse at this time.
He told the members of the planning commission that a hotel and event venue, although he did not elaborate on or present plans for those projects.

Hambrick said an inspection of the firehouse building determined it had “good bones” and he said he has talked to both a chef and coffee roaster about opening up the space to the public.
Buildings at the property housed mentally ill patients and patients with tuberculosis after being a “poor house” established in about 1839. Eloise as the facility was called, was closed in 1984 after serving thousands of patients on 900 acres at the site. Since that closure, it has served as office space for a few Wayne County employees. Currently on the site is the homeless shelter, Samraritas Family Center which is expected, Hambrick said, to remain on site, along with a food bank located on the former site of the commissary on the property.
Hambrick told the commission that he has negotiated a plan with Wayne County to keep the food bank where it is and that the service will “never have to leave.”
The site has been a strong attraction for “ghosthunters” and those looking for paranormal activity and even featured public tours.
The site was the topic of a horror film “Eloise” in 2017.
Planning commissioners will now be asked to rezone the five new parcels and the issue will then be sent to the members of the city council for review.