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May 6, 2013

Appeals court rules Troy is building transit center on land city doesn’t own

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, addresses the crowd during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Troy Transit Center Nov. 27, 2012.

The future of the Troy Transit Center is unclear after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled last week that the city doesn’t own the land where the transit center is currently being built.

According to court documents, developer Grand/Sakwa Properties donated 2.7 acres of the total 77-acre mixed-use commercial and residential property at Maple and Coolidge to the city of Troy on the condition that Troy would develop the land for use as a transportation center. The consent agreement — dated June 2, 2000 — also required that the city fund the center within 10 years of the date of judgment, which the Appeals Court ruled never happened, or the land would revert back to the developer.

The court’s 3-0 decision has left Troy city officials wondering if they must pay for the site, which houses the half-built transit center.

Groundbreaking for the 2,000-square-foot site was held last November. The project — for which the Troy City Council capped total costs at $6.2 million — includes a 2,000-square-foot building with a waiting area and public restrooms, a 24,000-square-foot pedestrian bridge over to the railroad tracks in Birmingham, an elevator, slips for buses and taxi stands, enhancements to the Amtrak platform and designated parking space on the Troy side.

“Every option is on the table right now, that’s where we’re at. We can’t rule anything out,” Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick said.

The answer, as far as what to do next, is “not real specific,” according to Kischnick.

“We need to figure out what all the options are and touch base with all the different parties involved and get all the right information and figure out how to move forward,” he said. “We need to move quickly, but thoroughly.”

Alan Greene of Dykema Gossett PLCC, the attorney representing Grand/Sakwa Properties, could not be reached for comment at press time.

Staff Writer Terry Oparka contributed to this report.