The building that once housed the Michigan State Police post in South Haven could have a new use soon.
Earlier this month, city council members approved an agreement to sell the building and property fronting LaGrange Street and Elm Place to Berkshire Hathaway Michigan Real Estate for $125,000.
The company has pledged $5,000 earnest money to the city and over the next 60 days plans to conduct due diligence on the site, including an environmental assessment and survey. If satisfied with the results, the real estate company will complete purchase of the building and grounds.
“Berkshire Hathaway currently occupies a portion of the building and is seeking to purchase, renovate and occupy the entire building and its surrounding property,” City Manager Kate Hosier said. “It was the only qualifying bidder that responded to a notice of sale.”
Berkshire Hathaway intends to paint the exterior of the building grey with a cabernet-colored trim; restore the existing canopies; install a new sign, landscaping and lighting; upgrade the parking areas; completely renovate the interior; upgrade all heating and cooling units; replace and upgrade interior floor coverings and create a new micro park for use by the public on the triangular north-side portion of the property.
In doing so, Berkshire Hathaway plans to seek a commercial rehabilitation tax abatement from the city to offset the renovations and upgrades, according to Hosier.
The city acquired the state police post building and property in 2013 when the Michigan State Police closed the office and moved the staff to the Paw Paw post. Shortly afterward, the city temporarily located its own police department to the former MSP post building while extensive upgrades took place at the police department complex on Blue Star Highway.
After that, the city rented the former MSP building to several businesses, including a law office, and most recently, Berkshire Hathaway.
“We’d like to get out of the rental business,” Hosier said.
To determine the sale cost of the building and property, the city had an appraisal done.
“It came back kind of high,” Hosier said to council members on Monday. “They valued the property at $341,000 for all its lots. “Nevertheless staff believes it would be difficult to sell the property at that price...They (the appraiser) did not use commercial properties here for a comparison, but ones in larger metro areas. This is a cinder block building. If interior renovations are done it will be costly.”
Council members agreed.
“When I saw the appraisal rates I was kind of shocked,” Mayor Scott Smith said.
Hosier stated that if the city were to try to market the post at the appraiser’s suggestion it would be a hard sell.
“We’re not seeing commercial prices that high, here,” she said. “We’re coming out of a pandemic. There’s commercial property in the city that is sitting on the market, not moving.”