CORUNNA — After two years of effort that spanned multiple Realtors and several interested parties, the city of Corunna has finally found a purchaser for the vacant Pleasant View site, 729 S. Norton St.
Tuesday, officials announced the city has entered into a purchase agreement with Fiddler’s Green LLC — a nonprofit organization that provides housing for veterans — for the sale of the former medical care facility.
Fiddler’s Green will purchase the property for approximately $500,000 — including closing costs — according to City Manager Joe Sawyer. The nonprofit organization intends to convert the existing 63,177-square-foot facility into a veterans housing community.
The completion of the sale is anticipated by the end of January, Sawyer said.
“I feel this is a great fit for the building, and for the community. It is nice to see the facility that has provided over half a century of service to our loved ones now move forward in service to our veterans,” he said. “The configuration and design of the facility are well suited for the Fiddler’s Green veteran housing community model, and the use conforms with uses allowed in the current (multi-family residential) zoning district.”
The original section of the facility on Norton Street opened in 1952. The current 136-bed facility served as Shiawassee County’s medical care center until a new 103,000-square-foot, $25-million structure opened in January 2018 in Caledonia Township.
The transition left the vacant facility in the hands of the city because of deed restrictions on the original property. Because of the nearly 6-acre property’s multi-family zoning designation, city officials expressed concerns about being able to attract a potential buyer that could conform to the zoning, Sawyer said.
To provide an incentive, the city council established a Commercial Redevelopment District encompassing the former Pleasant View site on Aug. 20, which allows individuals looking to renovate damaged or outdated property within the district to apply to receive a property tax abatement for up to five years.
In October, the city council designated the site — along with the now vacant Michigan State University Extension building next door — as eligible for adaptive reuse, which allows properties that would be unnecessarily difficult to bring up to code under their current zoning to receive a special conditional use, meaning a residential property that qualifies could be developed as a commercial site.
Fiddler’s Green owns and operates a veteran housing community in Bad Axe. According to its website, the nonprofit caters to “independent, able-bodied military veterans who desire housing and a community living experience with other veterans, and we work with veterans and local VA services to make renting affordable.”
Company information says Fiddler’s Greene offers additional support services for veterans, helping them find employment and access health care and other services through partnerships with the VFW and the American Legion, among others.
Sawyer said Fiddler’s Green has planned investments of more than $1 million in renovations, furnishings and equipment to convert the former Pleasant View facility into a veteran housing community, with the facility likely being open and available to veterans by mid-2020.
Fiddler’s Green is expected to apply for a commercial redevelopment tax incentive, according to Sawyer.
A representative from Fiddler’s Green could not be reached for comment prior to publication.
The Corunna facility was financed by a 1951 bond issue for $425,000. The 70-bed facility was expanded in 1965 to include an additional 82 beds. In 1988, a final renovation took place.