The Southfield City Council approved the rezoning of a former hotel July 25, leading the way for a potential five-story senior assisted living facility to be made in the vacant space.

The Southfield City Council approved the rezoning of a former hotel July 25, leading the way for a potential five-story senior assisted living facility to be made in the vacant space.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Former Southfield hotel looks to become senior assisted living facility

By: Mike Koury | Southfield Sun | Published July 27, 2022

SOUTHFIELD — A developer looking to convert a former hotel into a senior assisted living facility has gotten the necessary approval in order for the change to take place.

At a July 25 meeting, the Southfield City Council approved the rezoning of 26620 Franklin Road, which formerly was a five-story hotel on 1.41 acres of land. The request was to change the land from B-3 general business to OS office service.

The request was discussed during the council’s July 11 meeting and was made by representatives from Kiwi Hospitality LLC. David Dowling, the owner of Yukon Building & Land Development, stated they were looking to make an 85-unit senior assisted living memory care facility. What once was a Holiday Inn but now is part of the nearby Best Western Premier that was completed in 2017 and a two-story executive stay add-on finished in 2020, the building will be updated if the developer gets all final approvals.

Updates include a new generator system; a domestic water system; state-of-the-art fire alarms; and new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Air-conditioned rooms will be independently controlled, and all rooms in the building will be set up with Wi-Fi connections and smart systems.

“The building will be 100% independent of all properties on-site,” said Dowling. “The five-story building will have a newly constructed 5,000-square-foot dining and kitchen facility equipped … to provide breakfast, lunch (and) dinner for the residents and the staff. The main dining (area) will seat 75 guests. The kitchen and dining are attached directly to the existing five-story building. There are also areas on each floor where the residents — which are more restricted — will have accommodations for eating and lodging. The exterior garden area will be open for the visiting guests for the residents. This is a secured space, fenced, restricting others from entering the property or residents able to wander off.”

Dowling added that the facility would be operating 24 hours a day and, in most cases, residents in the facility would be living there until end of life. He expects there to be 55 full-time employees. This facility also will operate completely self-contained by the owners of another senior living facility, the Chester Street Residence in Royal Oak.

“I’ve been in front of this board before with this particular property back in 2018 with a La Quinta (hotel) that didn’t work out with the owners,” Dowling said. “We also came in 2018 for an executive stay, which was going to be an extension of the (Best Western executive stay) 54 units that we did put in place (in 2020). We found out later that the marketing didn’t work for that large improvement. So the building has stayed idle until this point.”

Director of Planning Terry Croad stated the building had been vacant at least six years prior to the Best Western moving in and that they have tried many different zoning tactics to try to encourage redevelopment.

“We have two-thirds of it redeveloped; as Mr. Dowling had stated, the marketing has changed,” he said. “In order for them to provide facilities for human care, they need the rezoning from B3 to OS. This is condominiumized, the property, I believe …  so we’re only dealing with the 1.41 acres that this property (will) be located (on).”

Councilman Lloyd Crews asked about the safety of residents in the facility, as the building is connected to the Best Western.

“I’m just thinking about … safety of the seniors that might be moving into this, you know, as opposed to the people that may just be staying overnight in the hotel,” he said. “I just want to make sure there was a point where we know they’re safe.”

While physically connected, Dowling said, it’s completely separated from the hotel.

“Generally when you have a senior citizen in this care, they’re monitored and you have to watch for their care because they wander,” he said. “It’s all key coded. So any resident that comes in from the hotel couldn’t even get into this building, nor could these folks get into the hotel, besides through the main lobby.”

The rezoning returned to the council on July 25 for a public hearing. The council approved the item. A site plan is expected to come before the group in August.