Genesee County to sell downtown Flint building to buyer connected to Mott Foundation

FLINT, MI — The county has agreed to sell a large office building in downtown Flint to a company tied to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

The County Board of Commissioners agreed on Wednesday, June 1, to sell the building at 601-605 N. Saginaw Street to SW3 Street Property, a limited liability company that lists its offices at Mott Foundation headquarters and lists an executive of Mott as resident. agent.

The county bought the building, which once housed the Downtown Buick car dealership, 21 years ago, but has since announced plans to consolidate several of its offices into the north tower of the former Citizens Bank complex, also centrally located. -town.

A Mott Foundation spokeswoman declined to comment on the $1.15 million sale or long-term plans for the building, which houses offices for the county’s Community Action Resources Department and other organizations. .

The resolution approved by commissioners on Wednesday says the county will lease the building to SW3 or its interested successor, for successive one-year terms as needed after the sale.

County Administration Director Josh Freeman said in a memorandum to Board Chair Domonique Clemons that the building and others that will be sold due to county consolidation have been appraised in for their sale.

The commissioners agreed to proceed with the sale in a 6-2 vote with the two Republican board members – Shaun Shumaker, Fenton Twp., and Meredith Davis, Flushing Twp. — oppose the movement. Commissioner Debra Newman, D-Swartz Creek, did not attend the meeting.

Shumaker said the sale lacks transparency and “seems quite dodgy” as it is being sold without having been listed for sale, excluding other potential buyers.

“The free market was not allowed to operate…” Shumaker said Wednesday. “You wouldn’t buy something for $1 million” without auctioning it off.

County officials said a purchase agreement for the property still required amendments – which Shumaker said should have made commissioners wait before allowing the sale.

“If you sold your fucking house and didn’t have final approval…on the papers, would you sign it?” He asked. “You wouldn’t at all.”

In December, the county agreed to buy the north tower of the former Citizens Bank complex on Saginaw Street from the University of Michigan for $8.5 million, a move that was expected to upend the ownership of the building. of GCCARD offices and other parts of the city centre. domain.

In addition to the GCCARD building, county officials said they plan to consolidate employees into the tower from the current county administration building, located across Saginaw Street from Flint City Hall; the McCree Health and Human Services Building on Saginaw Street; and the Donald R. Haley Building on Beach Street.

GCCARD is the county’s anti-poverty agency and its programs include Head Start and Meals on Wheels.

Staff from the agency’s weatherization program will eventually be moved to another facility on Lippincott Boulevard and proceeds from the sale of the GCCARD building could be used to address deficiencies in the Lippincott facility, the memo says. from Freeman to Clemons.

In addition to housing the former downtown Buick, the GCCARD property was once considered a potential home for a minor league ballpark during former Flint Mayor Woodrow Stanley’s tenure, but a deal to make of Flint part of a proposed new league was never concluded. achievement.

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David H. Henry