Planning Commission OKs last piece of 888 W. Big Beaver

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 6, 2018

TROY — The final piece of a mixed-use center on Big Beaver Road has passed muster. 

The Troy Planning Commission unanimously approved preliminary site plans for Seasons 52 and Yard House restaurants at 888 W. Big Beaver Road at a Jan. 22 meeting. 

The Planning Commission unanimously approved a one-story, 18,475-square-foot commercial building on the site at its Jan. 9 meeting. 

Last February, the Planning Commission unanimously approved conceptual plans for the development and an eight-story parking deck on 12.8 acres at the City Center Building, 888 W. Big Beaver Road, east of Crooks Road. 

Unicorp President Charles Whittall told the Planning Commission last February that the company was investing $150 million in the mixed-use site, which he said would include a five-story apartment building, a decorative internal street, retail space and restaurants — namely, Shake Shack, Yard House and Seasons 52. 

The old parking deck was demolished in September. Work on the new deck is underway.  

Other components of the development include Zen Apartments, the plans for which the Planning Commission unanimously approved at its Sept. 12 meeting. Work on the building has not started. 

The new two-story Fidelity Investments building on the site is completed, and the Shake Shack restaurant opened on the site in October. 

Unicorp National Developments purchased the building for $21 million in an auction in 2016. The Melting Pot and Morton’s The Steakhouse are currently located in the approximately 24,000-square-foot building, which is between 55 and 60 percent occupied and used to house Volkswagen of America. 

Yard House and Seasons 52, both Darden restaurants, will front Crooks Road. Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant, said the restaurants are the last two remaining parts of the development. 

Darden presented plans for the restaurants to the Planning Commission in November. The Planning Commission postponed approval of the plans so Darden could incorporate a streetscape consistently through the development, add public art, provide details on dumpster screening, revise building elevations and entrances, and resubmit a decorative lighting plan. 

Carlisle said city staff recommended approval of the plans because of the “significant improvements” in architecture and materials used for Seasons 52. 

“I think it’s a better building than it was before,” said Norberto Loianno, of Slattery and Associates, architects for Seasons 52. 

“We postponed and gave them direction, and they listened. … In my opinion, it’s a dramatically better project,” said Planning Director R. Brent Savidant. 

“This has a level of professionalism we don’t always see,” said Planning Commissioner Carlton Faison. 

“At the end of the day, it’s a very fine-tuned project,” said Planning Commission Chair Ollie Apahidean.