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April 23, 2014

DDA again delays decision on I-696 and Main Street land sale

By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer

ROYAL OAK — The Downtown Development Authority at its April 16 meeting again delayed making a decision on whom to sell the vacant land at Interstate 696 and Main Street.

The DDA delayed the decision to allow for two of the potential buyers, Schostak Brothers and Farran Realty Partners, to discuss a possible joint venture.

The DDA is giving the two developers three weeks to see if they can come up with a cooperative design, and for the third potential developer, Singh Group, to decide if it wants to keep active its bid for the property.

At the end of three weeks, the full DDA board will meet to look over the joint-venture proposal and then will meet again at its regularly scheduled meeting next month to make a possible decision.

When it met last month, the DDA delayed making a decision on a buyer to obtain more information from the three developers.

Representatives from Schostak told the DDA last month that it has a specific tenant — an international tech company called Tata Technologies — for whom it would be constructing a building.

Farran Realty did not have a specific tenant in mind for its mixed-use design, but it did say it planned to include up to 15,000 square feet of commercial space and 50,000 square feet of office space.

Tim Thwing, the director of the Planning Department, said that the two potential buyers have expressed interest in working together.

“Unless you wanted to pick one of them today, my recommendation would be that you give (Farran) a period of time to meet with Schostak,” Thwing said. “Again, the goal there was to try and save, or to get the Tata group as a tenant in the office space.”

Bringing more office workers downtown has been a stated objective of the DDA, the city and the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce.

Dennis Cowan, an attorney representing Singh Group, said his client was not interested in joining the combined design.

“We stated earlier that Singh does not do partnerships,” Cowan said. “That was the way they wanted to move forward on the project, so we respectfully decline that opportunity.”

Cowan was not able to say if his clients would terminate their proposal. The Singh proposal is entirely residential.

“We believe we have a proposal that fits, matches the area, which is primarily residential,” Cowan said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robert Guttersohn at rguttersohn@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5006.