This concept art depicts the planned Sterling Center apartment complex, which promises to put a four-story residential building across the street from Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights.

This concept art depicts the planned Sterling Center apartment complex, which promises to put a four-story residential building across the street from Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights.

Image by Gallo Cos. and Spire Design Group, provided by the city of Sterling Heights


New apartments to appear in lot across from Lakeside Mall

Council unanimously approves PUD application

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 14, 2021

 The planned apartments will be built upon what is currently a large parking lot on the west side of Schoenherr Road, near a plaza and a church.

The planned apartments will be built upon what is currently a large parking lot on the west side of Schoenherr Road, near a plaza and a church.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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STERLING HEIGHTS — A new four-story apartment complex is on course to be part of the eventual cityscape near the Lakeside Mall area.

During a June 15 meeting, the Sterling Heights City Council voted unanimously to approve a developer’s planned unit development application for a residential apartment complex on the west side of Schoenherr Road, south of Hall Road/M-59, across the street from Lakeside Mall.

According to the city, the PUD concept offers flexibility, consistent with the city’s master land use plan, to promote innovation and efficient land use.

The plans include an apartment complex on around 7.85 acres of what is currently a large parking lot at Sterling Center Shopping Center, located at 44501 and 44677 Schoenherr Road, which is zoned C-2. Besides the plaza, a church is also near the proposed development.

The planned building’s exterior will be made of special materials that simulate the appearance of wood or limestone, as well as metal, according to Sterling Heights City Planner Chris McLeod. The building would be four stories tall — around 47 feet at its highest point, he said.

The apartment complex is expected to contain 91 two-bedroom units and 35 one-bedroom units. The expected monthly rents for the units range from $1,250 to $1,600.

During the council meeting, attorney Philip Ruggeri presented the application request on behalf of Tony Gallo and Sterling Retail LLC. According to Ruggeri, the target market is mainly young professionals, and he said there is a high demand for apartments.

“As you can see by the design, this is more of a trendy upscale-type product not seen here in Macomb County anywhere,” Ruggeri said, later adding, “I thought that was one of the nicest designs of apartments that I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s not the standard look. It’s something that’ll have tremendous curb appeal.”

An area outside the apartment building is slated to have landscaping and amenities such as a fire pit and a grilling area, Ruggeri said.

Ruggeri said he believes that the development will be a “tremendous asset” to the area and a “mini-Lakeside Mall situation” by putting residential units near retail businesses.

“I think this is going to trigger some thoughts on how to redevelop Lakeside Mall, which is directly across the street,” he said.

During public comment, resident and mayoral candidate Charles Jefferson asked whether a traffic study has been done in the area. Mayor Pro Tem Liz Sierawski called the design a “beautiful building” and said it “looks like something in Birmingham,” but she also brought up the traffic study idea and called the area “very, very busy.”

“I’d love to see the speed limit lowered in that area anyway because it’s pretty quick and very dangerous for pedestrians,” Sierawski said.

Gallo said no traffic study has been done but added that the traffic impact should be less than it would be for a movie theater.

Councilman Michael Radtke also gave his thoughts on the proposed design.

“So I really like the design,” he said. “It’s something that you would see in, like, a D.C. or New York City, something kind of fascinating.

“I was curious why there wasn’t maybe a deck on top of the building or a pool on top of the building. I think it really could go a long way with the features. I mean, you’re really going for a higher-end clientele, and I think a lot of those buildings have amenities like that.”

Mayor Michael Taylor celebrated the project as a way to address an overabundance of parking space in the area.

“This is a product that we’ve really been dying for,” Taylor said, later adding: “It’s important because ... over the last four or five, six, seven years, we’ve targeted families, particularly, you know, providing amenities like our splash pad, our parks and recreation, to bring in families. Now I think we have an opportunity with the changing landscape and retail to use those spaces to target younger professionals.”

Going forward, the site plan approval has to be done within a year, and the building permit and construction must be done within three years, though extensions may be sought and granted, McLeod said. Gallo said he hopes to start construction in the first quarter of 2022.

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

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