Troy-based Kensington Church has entered a nearly $3 million contract with Detroit Country Day School to purchase the private school's 3.5-acre Bloomfield Village Campus, at 3600 Bradway Boulevard, where the church is hoping to establish a new community church campus.
Detroit Country Day School in October 2017 broke ground on a $30 million expansion project to combine the junior and lower schools into a single campus on Maple Road, thus eventually leaving the Village Campus vacant near Maple and Lahser roads. Meanwhile, Kensington Church has been renting space from the Birmingham School District for the past decade at nearby Groves High School for Sunday services, said Don Kegley, CEO of Cunningham-Limp Co., which is under contract with both Detroit Country Day School and Kensington Church.
“That has worked, but it is a situation that is a bit of a gypsy, where they (Kensington Church) have to go in early Sunday morning and set up, then take it down and clean it up. It doesn't really permit a campus or community life beyond Sunday morning,”Kegley said. “The idea is to hold worship services on Sunday morning, and also to have a facility for the services that we currently band aid together. It could bible study, recovery groups, book clubs and new member orientations. There are smaller groups that meet at coffee shops or YMCAs around town because we don't really have a home there. The idea is to be part of a community and fit in that community for those that already go to Kensington, and those who may be interested in exploring Kensington.”
Kegley met with Bloomfield Village officials and members of the public on Tuesday, April 16 at Hackett Hall at the Bloomfield Village Fire Department to hear concerns from the community. More than 100 members of the community attended the meeting, with those in attendance overflowing outside of the hall, said Bloomfield Township Supervisor Leo Savoie, who attended the meeting.
“The crowd was fairly vocal in their opposition to it,” Savoie said.
Kegley acknowledged strong opposition from members of the public in attendance on Tuesday.
“There was a great deal of passion and anxiety, but it was mostly respectful, and we feel we were treated fairly,” Kegley said. “The reality is, we only have the land under contract. The designs haven't progressed to the point where we can answer a lot of specific questions.”
Overall, the church is proposing to keep the majority of the historic 36,000 square-foot building, which was constructed in the 1920s for the Birmingham School District and renovated in 2003 by Cunningham-Limp. Preliminary plans call for razing about 19,000 square feet of two arms built to accommodate classrooms. About 16,000 square feet would then be added to accommodate an auditorium and lobby for services and pre-functions. Parking would be located to the north of the building. The auditorium would house about 450 people for worship services. Construction costs would range from about $5 million to $6 million.
Kegley said a parking study and traffic studies at both existing and proposed facilities would be conducted as part of the 120-day due diligence period that started on March 22. The project will go before the village board in about a month, at which time additional information is expected to be available.
“Traffic flow, noise, parking, and off-campus parking – those are the understandable concerns of the neighbors,” Kegley said. “We want to solve those problems. We recognize we won't get unanimous support, but we want to create something that the majority will be happy to have as part of the neighborhood. We want to be transparent and have them be part of the process. The collective determination would be something that would compliment and assimilate into the neighborhood, or it won't. If the community decides they don't want it, we won't build it.”