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Plans revealed for Legacy Oaks condos

Developers seek approval to build the project in three phases.

June 05, 2014
GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Plans were revealed last week for a condominium development to be built on the former University Liggett Middle School campus on Briarcliff Road.

The project hinges on city approval on a zoning change.

On Tuesday, John Williamson, senior vice president for American Community Developers, met with members of the Woods planning commission to share plans for the 13 acre site, which include the addition of a second building similar to the existing structure. In all, plans call for 24 condos, 12 in each building.

According to Williamson, the development, called Legacy Oaks, will be done in three phases. The first phase, which could begin as early as fall of this year, will see six condos built in the existing building, ranging in size from 1,800 to 5,000 square feet. Phase one construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

"We plan on keeping the integrity of the building," Williamson said. "It's not a historic building, but we want to keep as much of the original building as possible."

Williamson pointed to existing features such as the high ceilings, wide hallways and the elegant front entryway as components of the buildings the developers will keep in place. He also said the gymnasium and auditorium will be kept for use by residents, as will two tennis courts.

Before condo construction can begin in the 50,000 square foot structure, the building's heating system will be redone and air conditioning will be added, as well as an elevator. The building will also be brought up to date on all building and fire codes.

Once phase one is completed, phase two, the additional six condos in the original building, will begin. Phase two is expected to take 12 months.

The price point for the condos is expected to begin in the low $300,000's, and will be built to owner specifications.

Phase three involves building a new structure on the current athletic field that will mirror the existing building, and will also contain 12 units.

The project is expected to cost approximately $7 million and is expected to take four years to complete.

"We want the new building to look like it has always been there," Williamson said, as he displayed the brick and roofing materials that are almost identical to the materials used on the existing building.

Each building will also feature an enclosed garage with 24 parking spaces, built to match the building.

A house on the property that once served as home for the school's head master, will be refurbished and offered for sale as part of the Legacy Oaks property.

The developers met Tuesday, May 27 with members of the planning commission, then hosted an information meeting on Thursday, May 29 for neighbors living near the Briarcliff campus.

About 75 residents attended, and while questions were raised about traffic patterns, construction times and parking, the project was met with a round of applause by many.

"Our intent is to minimally disrupt the property," Williamson told the residents. "We are sensitive to construction issues and noises and will do our best to keep disruption to a minimum."

Built in the early 1960's, the building first served as the all-girls Liggett School, the building also served as the middle school for the University Liggett School before the middle school was moved to the Cook Road campus in 2012.

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