A group of investors and developers are floating plans to turn the closed Fresard car dealership at 400 N. Main St. in Royal Oak into a boutique hotel, apartment building, and restaurant complex.
A preliminary proposal to redevelop the prominent downtown spot went before the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority
The property owners, who closed on the building and plot of land surrounding it about two weeks ago, are asking if the DDA would commit to some level of financial support at some point.
Dennis Griffin, who represents the investors on behalf of commercial real estate company CBRE
, and Jason Krieger, a DDA board member and architect who drew up renderings of the plan, told DDA members that it needed to gauge the board's interest in order to approach the Michigan Economic Development Corporation
about financing opportunities and development incentives.
"Obviously there's a whole bunch of details that have to be worked out," Tim Thwing, the city's director of planning, says. The tentative plans call for a 100-room, eight- to nine-floor boutique hotel with restaurant, bar and meeting rooms on the first two floors along with a 5-6 floor apartment building and a parking structure. Investors are interested in an operator such as Hotel Indigo
, Krieger says.
The former Buick-Pontiac-GMC showroom would be renovated into a restaurant, bar and banquet facility, Krieger told the DDA board May 16. The investors, and Hotel Indigo - if it signs on - would want local business owners to operate them.
"They really want to get entrenched in the community," Krieger said at the DDA meeting. "They want it to be a Royal Oak place with their branding."
At the request of the DDA board, which did express interest in supporting the project financially, the owners and operators will eventually return to the DDA with a timeline and more details, possibly within weeks.
The Fresard dealership closed six years ago, and it is also the site of a failed Kroger grocery store proposal that was rejected by residents.
Source: Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine