Developer backs out of Farmington courthouse deal

Farmington 47th District Courthouse
The former 47th District Courthouse property has been vacant for 11 years.

The City of Farmington just can’t seem to sell the old 47th District Court property on 10 Mile Road, near the Farmington Public Schools administrative campus.

In January of 2015, plans fell through for development of a $2.5 million memory care facility on the property, and a year ago this month, officials turned down two new proposals. Negotiations over the summer with developer SDC Ventures, LLC resulted in a $420,000 purchase agreement, but now Roger Scherr, company owner, has told city officials he’s backing out, too. SDC Ventures’ proposal would have put up to 19 attached condominium units on the site.

The problem, Scherr told city officials, lies with securing the rights to the adjacent 10 acres of land owned by the school district. School officials have said they intend to sell the property – but not when.

“It was my expectation that the neighboring school property would become available in a timely manner to combine the two properties in the site plan approval process,” Sherr wrote in a letter to Farmington Economic and Community Development Director Kevin Christiansen.

The 3.87-acre property and former courthouse building have stood vacant for more than 13 years; the city has actively marketed them over the past four.

“While this is disappointing news, we are confident that the sale of the courthouse property will be in the near future,” City Manager David Murphy said in a press release. “There was quite a bit of interest in the property when we put it out for bid last spring, and we continue to experience positive periods of economic growth for Farmington and in the overall U.S. economy.”