Royal Oak Reviews Plans for 8-Story Hotel Complex With Offices, Apartments
Members of the Royal Oak City Commission praised the overall plan but voted 5-0 to send a long-awaited downtown hotel proposal back to the city’s Planning Commission to review major last-minute changes that city officials said took them completely by surprise.
“I know your team has integrity” but the changes require further study by the Planning Commission, Mayor Jim Ellison told the team of five developers.
After trying for decades to lure a hotel to the city’s downtown, commissioners said they still hoped for eventual approval for the plan to build a complex of buildings that would include an eight-story hotel that would be a magnet for all of southeast Oakland County.
“A hotel has been a Royal Oak priority since I started working for the city (in 1991) — and based on historical information, that goal even precedes my time,” City Planner Tim Thwing said Monday.
The proposal that city officials considered at Monday’s commission meeting includes the eight-story hotel with 112 rooms, flanked on one side by an eight-story apartment complex and on the other by a five-story office building that would have a large restaurant at its base, according to documents Thwing submitted to the commission.
Nearby are to be a three-story office building with shops on the first floor, and a four-story parking deck, according to plans submitted to the city by Southfield-based Versa Development.
The project would be built at 400 N. Main, two blocks north of the downtown entertainment epicenter at 11 Mile and Main, on a 3.5-acre parcel that was the site of the Jim Fresard Pontiac-GMC dealership.
“Obviously, we’re very excited about this,” said Jason Krieger with Krieger Klatt Architects in Royal Oak, designers of the project. The firm designed the Hotel Indigo in Traverse City and has major projects in the works for downtown Birmingham and Ferndale, Krieger said Monday.
After more than a year of discussions with the city, the Royal Oak hotel complex gained the approval June 11 of the Royal Oak Planning Commission.
But planning commissioners attached contingencies that included concerns about whether the development would have enough parking in a downtown where parking already is scarce. A city parking evaluation estimated that the project at peak demand would require 617 parking spaces while supplying only 564, a deficit of 53 spaces.
Also, in the three weeks since the original plan was approved by the planning commissioner, the developer sliced from the design several screening walls and major amounts of landscaping while bringing some buildings closer to sidewalks, according to a memo to commissioners from City Manager Don Johnson.
Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press.