Building Authority votes to transfer land to city

BIG RAPIDS — The parking lot located at 223 N. Michigan Ave. could soon be in the city’s name after the Big Rapids Building Authority voted to transfer the deed on Thursday.

The land, a parking lot next to Bernie’s Place, could be owned by the city within the next 30 to 45 days.

According to documents provided to the City Commission during its Aug. 19 meeting from city attorney Eric Williams, the authority was formed in 1966. However, the city has no documentation of activity by the group since 1986.

Questions about the authority surfaced in July when city officials realized that the land was not in the city’s name as officials tried to sell it.

Carlleen Rose, John Milan and Bob Horan Jr. were named to the new group on Sept. 3.

Rose and Milan both said they hoped to give the land on North Michigan Avenue to the city and disband, saying they didn’t want to overlap with the Downtown Development Authority.

However, the group didn’t disband on Thursday in case there are issues as the deed is finalized, Sobers said.

Meanwhile, development for the land is still undecided after Phillip Seybert, owner of Mount Pleasant-based P.S. Equities Inc., withdrew his application for the planning commission to review the site plan and a payment in lieu of taxes request.

He originally proposed a $3.3 million senior complex called “Castle Rapids.”

“There was obviously interest in it and he put together a fair amount of work,” City Manager Steve Sobers said. “I don’t know that we’re done, but officially he’s withdrawn his application, so he no longer holds an option.”

Sobers said he hasn’t heard of any interest since Seybert, although the city hasn’t been actively looking as officials hoped to get the land from the Big Rapids Building Authority.

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