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A Hyatt Place hotel heads for downtown

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published October 29, 2014

ROYAL OAK — Plans for a Hyatt Place hotel in downtown Royal Oak are moving forward following the City Commission’s approval of an estimated $50 million project on North Main Street.

Commissioners unanimously approved a special development agreement Oct. 20 that authorized the redevelopment of the former Jim Fresard auto dealership at 400 N. Main Street. The dealership closed in 2008, and the property has been vacant ever since.

“We’ve been talking about this for a really long time. It seems like a year, two years, several years,” said City Commissioner Jeremy Mahrle.

Representing the development, Dennis Griffin, of CBRE Group, said that because of the late season, he cannot estimate when the project would start. He said the construction process would take about 16-18 months, and the demo of the old Fresard building would take about two weeks.

The 400 N. Main St. project covers 3.5 acres along Main Street between Pingree Boulevard and University Avenue. It features a six-story Hyatt Place hotel with a proposed restaurant at the south end of the building. The second floor of the hotel would include banquet and meeting rooms, a 30- by 50-foot outdoor patio and about 120 guest rooms on the third through sixth floors.

To the north of the hotel would be a six-story, mixed-use building with retail, office space and about 60 apartments on the fourth through sixth floors.

A three-level, off-street parking deck would service the property.

“The intent is to have the ground floor (of the parking deck) for residential only,” said Jason Krieger, of Krieger Klatt Architects.

Commissioner Michael Fournier was concerned about possible noise from the patio. Krieger thought that the patio could be designed in a way that would mitigate the sound.

“We’re hearing everybody’s concerns and we have the same, and we want to make sure what we design is right and is not going to be a nuisance,” he said.

Griffin said the proprietors insisted on some type of open entertainment and relaxation space. 

“It’s meant to be a functional open space with a variety of uses,” Griffin said, adding that the plan is to have it available for events including wedding ceremonies, brunches and bridal showers. The space will face the parking lot of Main North.

The two new buildings will front Main Street with a grand hotel lobby and glass fronts. Krieger said the actual building will be shorter than Main North. There will be four main entrances to the property, including a newly added drive along Pingree Boulevard for apartment residents only.

Iterations of the development plan have been in the works since 2012.

Early plans included four multilevel buildings featuring an eight-story hotel and apartment building; three- and five-story retail and office space; and a rooftop terrace. The original plan for the parking structure was four levels.

“We’ve come out of the process with a better plan,” Griffin said.

On April 16, the DDA reached an agreement with the development team providing up to  $3 million in tax reimbursements from the DDA through the next 10 years. The reimbursements will come from the increased taxable value of the site following completion.

“I think, overall, it is one of those projects that I think in the future we can brag about,” Mayor Jim Ellison said. “We all worked hard, we all worked together, and it is going to be a successful project, and it is going to really put a shine on our city, and I’m looking forward to it.”