A sign marks a vacant area along 17 Mile Road, near Van Dyke Avenue. Sterling Heights approved a planned unit development proposal to build three hotels on the property at a March 5 City Council meeting.

A sign marks a vacant area along 17 Mile Road, near Van Dyke Avenue. Sterling Heights approved a planned unit development proposal to build three hotels on the property at a March 5 City Council meeting.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Council approves trio of hotels near Van Dyke corridor

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published March 15, 2019

It might break the rules in Monopoly, but the Sterling Heights City Council successfully approved a plan to put three hotels on a stretch of property along 17 Mile Road, near Van Dyke Avenue.

During a March 5 council meeting, six members unanimously approved a planned unit development application for a cluster of hotels near the Van Dyke corridor. Councilman Michael Radtke was absent.

According to Sterling Heights City Planner Chris McLeod, the development is being sought by HHC Hospitality LLC and Tower 17 LLC. The development is set to occur on around 7 1/2 acres in the 7000 block of 17 Mile Road, west of Van Dyke Avenue, close to the city’s Sterling Enterprise Park industrial district.

The hotel development area has been zoned C-3 general business and M-1 light industrial. Developers want to establish three four-story hotels on the property that collectively would comprise around 287 rooms. 

The SpringHill Suites would have 96 rooms; the Fairfield Inn & Suites would have 91; and a future, unnamed hotel would have around 100, McLeod said. A board packet states that Hyatt House was originally the third planned hotel, but now officials say the third hotel is yet to be named.

City officials said the development process will take two phases, with the unnamed hotel being the second phase. The proposal’s predominantly brick buildings will come with unified parking and landscaping suitable for the area.  

City officials said the Planning Commission recommended the approval at a July meeting, though a proposed restaurant has been eliminated from the plan since then, officials said. City officials said in an informational packet that, despite some change in plans, they brought the proposal to the City Council because the project’s scope is actually smaller than what the Planning Commission saw. 

During public comment, resident Harry Marchlones expressed environmental concerns about the property development, and he pointed out the gray parking area and the dark building footprints on a property concept image.

“I know we all want more hotels, more business and everything else,” he said. “But if you look at all this stuff that’s gray there and black, that is acres of ground that used to absorb nitrogen and sediment and all this other stuff, but it no longer can. So it’s going to flow into that little river behind there and out into Lake St. Clair.”

Resident Charles Jefferson wanted to know about the broader development plan for the 17 Mile and Van Dyke area, and he wanted to know if a restaurant is still part of the hotel development plans, as mentioned in earlier plans.

McLeod said the restaurant is no longer part of the plan. Property to the west, occupied by houses, did not end up being part of the proposal space, McLeod added. 

“Property deals go sour quite often,” McLeod said. “Ideally, the city, I think, would welcome the opportunity to potentially bring the properties back into this PUD and potentially amend that third hotel. … Whether or not that occurs, we can’t force a property transaction.”

Mayor Pro Tem Liz Sierawski said she drives by the area just about every day and thinks the development will improve it. 

“I think that this is a beautiful use of that property,” she said. 

Councilwoman Deanna Koski mentioned the residential homes in the area, and she wanted to know what the hotel development’s borders will be like. McLeod said the boundaries are being created “in a natural fashion.”

“It’s being done with a series of evergreens and deciduous tree plantings,” he said. “There is no border wall per se, in terms of a separation wall.”

Mayor Michael Taylor said he is excited to make that corner “look even better.”

“People are always curious about how many hotels we can sustain, but there is a lot of demand there,” he said.

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.