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Apartments slated for downtown Royal Oak along Washington Avenue

February 19, 2014

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Developers are hoping to construct new apartments along Washington Avenue in the space occupied by Business Letter Service in Royal Oak. The Planning Commission approved the site plan at its Feb. 11 meeting.

ROYAL OAK — The Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals,  last week, unanimously approved the site plan for a five-unit, street front apartment complex to be constructed at the current site of Business Letter Service at 810 S. Washington Ave.

The plan, which still must be reviewed by the Building Department to assure compliance with state code, calls for the development of a 5,400-square-foot, three-story building just south of Lincoln Avenue.

“It’s a great project,” said Mayor Jim Ellison during the Feb. 11 Planning Commission meeting. “And I think it’s going to revitalize the whole movement down south that we’re seeing.”

“I think this is the best plan that we can get for it,” said Planning Commission Chairman Tom Hallock. “I think it’s appropriate. It’s not gigantic.”

Dennis Cowan, an attorney representing the developers, Infinity Acquisitions, called the apartments a “modest yet high-quality” project.

“We believe this is a very right-sized project in this mixed-use district area,” he said.

Cowan acknowledged the current owners of the site, the Naismith family, who have owned and operated Business Letter Service for 42 years.

“There’s a little bit of sadness because the chapter of a longtime Royal Oak business of 42 years is coming to an end,” he said.

Hallock also acknowledged the longtime business.

“I delivered your mail 38 years ago,” Hallock said. “And there’s not too many businesses around where I
can say that, because most of them are out of business.”

Garel Rice, who lives just south of the proposed project, spoke out against it, saying it doesn’t fit the area and would make parking along the adjacent alleyway more of a headache.

“We’re just really maxed out for parking,” Rice said. “There’s nothing left.”

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