Developer Shares Initial Concept for 600 S. Main in Royal Oak

GallowayCollensTOPsunsetREVISEDDeveloper Shares Initial ctechadConcept for 600 S. Main in Royal Oak

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 26, 2016)

Royal Oak, MI – With the Downtown short on parking and a desire to attract more workers and residents to bolster the existing businesses, the City of Royal Oak is considering selling the parking lots at 600 and 700 S. Main to a developer with a mixed-use plan.

Currently the land is a surface parking lot with a corner cut out by the railroad tracks. It’s actually two parcels, with approximately 155 parking spaces on the north side and 43 on the south side.  Before the City purchased the lots, they housed a car dealership.

Judy_Palmer30yearsA development team of Burton Katzman Development, Core Partners and Lord Aeck Sargent architects approached the city with a basic idea to buy the lots and build them up to include a parking deck, office space, lofts, and ground-floor retail.

On Monday they introduced their ideas to the public and the City Commission, providing rough sketches to show potential rough layouts of the space. To make the project as attractive as possible and to maximize space, the concepts presented put the parking deck in the middle with the rentable spaces wrapped around the outside.

John Pavone, Burton-Katzman Development Partner, explained the basic idea, stating they want to “replace the parking that is there and deliver as much retail as possible on the south main frontage and encourage office users to locate on the property with the goal of creating daytime activity and baby modern natural 04daytime excitement.”

The initial concept would include between 320-340 parking spaces, 14,500 feet of office space, 13,000 feet of retail and 92,000 feet of residential. The building would be 4-5 stories tall.

The developers came up with a general idea of what they’d like to do, and asked the City for a six month exclusivity agreement to invest in coming up with more concrete plans to propose. The agreement requires the city not to make other deals involving the property for a sixth month time-frame. It does not mean they are going to accept the project’s proposal. It just gives the developer some assurance that the City is taking their time, money and effort seriously as they invest in doing more detailed planning.

A couple of residents spoke at the beginning of the meeting in opposition to the exclusivity agreement, with the idea that competition could bring the City a more lucrative proposal.

sidebar012stairsLater in the meetings those concerns were addressed. Commissioner Michael Fournier stated “Those have been out on the market, people have looked at them. Everyone’s had the opportunity to come up with their own idea… to enter into a due diligence period where folks are going to have to spend money that [agreement] is typical.”

Mayor Jim Ellison also chimed in. “To me there’s nothing wrong with giving a developer an exclusive right,” he said. “It’s not about how much money we get for the property, it’s about the project and how it’s going to impact the Downtown.”

A sketch of the proposed layout has retail in yellow, residential in blue and office in red. The white boxes on the roof are where elevators and stairwells would be placed. The sketch is just for massing purposes and is not how the building will look when completed. “This is more about what is going to fit on that property,” Mayor Ellison said. “We don’t know the beauty of what is going to be there.”

The Commission has given the developers six months to explore the possibilities and at the end of six months they can accept or reject the project.

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