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Psst, Have You Heard What's Coming to Downtown Royal Oak?

Retail, office space and new places to eat are projects planned for the summer.

There's lots of construction going on around downtown Royal Oak. Here's a quick rundown of what's in the works:

P2 Exchange accessories store

Tawny Thieu will open an accessories concept store in July in the former building at 112 E. Fourth St. (Paris relocated to 506 S. Washington Ave. three months ago.) The new shop, P2 Exchange, will be Thieu's third store downtown –  and are the others.

Franklin Deli convenience store

Franklin Deli – a convenience grocery store with beer and wine sales, a restaurant and limited seating – is moving in at 511 S. Main, the former home of Doug's Napa Auto Parts. The store will include a walk-up order window and a sidewalk café along Main Street.

New restaurant

A new building is being constructed at 315 S Main St., the former site of restaurant. Last September, the , resulting in broken water and gas lines and the closure of four other businesses in the vicinity of the restaurant.

Jason Craig, the city's chief building official, said construction workers are building a new structure between and the former Beyond Juice from the inside out.

The new building will have its own walls and structure, Craig said. Previously, La Feast shared a wall with Hermann's Bakery. The new building will be used as a restaurant again, according to Craig.

Dobie Building being renovated 

Construction barriers are up at 500 S. Washington where renovation work is being done to the Dobie Building. The building will be used for retail sales, an architect's office and residential dwelling.

The was the last business to operate in the building.

"I am not sure what will end up on the first floor, but an architect is going to use the second floor for his office and will also live there," Commissioner Jim Rasor said.

Other downtown projects planned

  • frozen yogurt
  •  downtown brewery, distillery and restaurant
  • sports-themed restaurant
l.c. June 20, 2012 at 01:27 PM
how exiting/ add more street patrols while you have the commisioners ear.neighborhoods are just doing fine w/out the patrols......Ha!
Howard Collens June 20, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I am pleased to see the vacant commercial space in downtown coming to good use. The variety of the businesses in this article speak well to maintaining and strengthening a vibrant downtown.
j. simmons June 20, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Between Jolly Pumpkin Brewery and Hamlin Corners Pub, those two establishments alone will add near 1000 bar seats to the downtown landscape. Little doubt that whatever lands in the old LaFeast location will seek a liquor license, too. Hang on to your wallets, the tax increase request to pay for more police is coming.
Debbie Campbell June 20, 2012 at 04:50 PM
The city commission’s never ending expansion of the drinking district is a huge drain on our limited public safety resources—it’s not sustainable growth and continually adding more bars is at odds with the Master Plan, the Liquor License Ordinance and recommendations from our police department. Birmingham’s PSD, Primary Shopping District program has been such a success in their ability to grow a sustainable, diverse mix within their downtown that works. We need to do what they’re doing-- RO citizens don’t have to settle for an alcohol fueled theme park.
l.c. June 20, 2012 at 05:47 PM
tax the biz.'s please;residents should have nothing to do w/the runaway liquor joints.let then hire their own security like they should.
Ray Smith June 20, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I would rather have a Jolly Pumpkin or a Hamlin Corners -style restaurant/bar -- any day-- than an empty storefront.
j. simmons June 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM
The problem with that Ray, is that the politicians will be asking you and I to pay extra in taxes to police those types of establishments. Bars require more public safety service than a retail store or a attorney's office, for example. Recent studies have proven Royal Oak is already short on police officers. How many more bars do we need?
Ellen Marie June 20, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Why is it that you support the hotel complex on Main Street, which also includes a big bar? Do you remember when you wrote this comment: "Perhaps the rental units will provide student housing options. My nephew and 3 of his classmates attend U of D and they rent/share a house in RO. OU has the new Med School which is attracting students from all over the country—Wayne State students are always looking to rent in RO—With all the bars it would be like living in the biggest frat house ever !" Is a big frat house on Main Street what you really want?
Debbie Campbell June 20, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I think a "boutique hotel" and perhaps apartments offering some potential student housing would be a great addition--but NOT combined with more mega bars!!! I was being facetious concerning the frat house. About Principal Shopping Districts: If the city commission chose to create one, the “Principal Shopping District” area is funded by a special assessment of businesses within the district. Those funds can be used to pay for public safety/security and recruiting and promoting businesses. District businesses could pay for their own police force instead of sucking patrols out of the neighborhoods-- Maybe a huge public safety millage increase wouldn't be needed. Click here to find out more http://www.michiganadvantage.org/cm/Files/Fact-Sheets/BusinessImprovementDistrict.pdf
Rick Karlowski June 20, 2012 at 08:45 PM
That is exactly the attitude the landlords are counting on. They keep their places empty so they can get a bar versus an empty storefront, and then get the high rents a bar generates. If it was made clear that wasn't going to work anyymore, you might get more retail as the rental rates decrease. That, coupled with a PSD and a true advocate for retail recruitment.
j. simmons June 21, 2012 at 02:59 AM
It's all about community standards and expectations. For many years, Birmingham made it crystal clear that no liquor licenses would be imported into their community. Aspiring liquor license applicants didn't even apply to transfer a liquor license into that community. Birmingham's downtown has flourished with a great mix, and wide variety of retail, professional offices, and residential. No vacancy problems there. Downtown landlords hold out for a bar or restaurant knowing Royal Oak will approve them. It's all about community standards.
Clawson Citizen June 21, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I agree. Royal Oak is over doing it with all these Liquor related establishments! I want better retail shops to be able to do REAL shopping AGAIN in "Uptown"<-that is what the downtown was called, back when I was growing up. Last time I tried to go "downtown RO", I vowed I would never be back. All I did was "dodge drunks!" Not my idea of a nice relaxing evening. With this recession, I really hope these new restaurants/retail stores even make it. Wonder if they will go down like their predecessors before them. Please NO MORE DRUNKS/ALCOHOL related establishments. Thought we are trying to be more "healthy" too. I feel for the ROPD, every night and weekend, at 2 am. SMH....
Clawson Citizen June 21, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Good point! NOT every patron wants to sit next to drunks! while trying to also, enjoy a nice evening in Royal Oak!
Clawson Citizen June 21, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Good point!!
Mark Itall July 22, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Birmingham has also had issues with vacancies. I can remember them papering over the empty storefronts when they had events. It is cyclical.
Mark Itall July 22, 2012 at 04:23 AM
A better mix would be nice. Let us keep in mind the beginnings of how Downtown RO got to be like it is now. Folks like Clawson Citizen and their parents stopped shopping in Downtown RO as the malls opened up in the 60s and 70s. One by one, all the downtown retail businesses died off due to their customers all leaving. Soon it was a ghost town, you could play cards in the middle of 11 and Main. This happened in all downtowns for the same reasons. And once again, I would like a better mix, but I have difficulty empathizing with those who want retail back in Downtown after they, their families and friends personally drove it all out of business a long time ago. If you really want retail that badly, help out. Break out the wallet super big time and open a store. After all, that is the only way you get new stores. I would be happy to shop with you.
Debbie Campbell July 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Mr. Itall –Royal Oak could and should be more proactive in recruiting and promoting independent retailers—As evidenced by the strong retail component in downtown Birmingham things have cycled back around since the 70’s--shoppers are tired of the malls and eagerly embrace the “shop local” philosophy –please check out the link below to see what Birmingham is doing that has been very successful: http://birmingham.patch.com/blog_posts/bruner-spills-the-beans-on-the-birmingham-principal-shopping-district Unless the City Commission starts following the Liquor License Ordinance and Master Plan and recommendations from the ROPD land barons in the downtown will keep rental rates prohibitively high and simply leave property empty waiting for a bar to move in.
Debbie Campbell July 22, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Additionally absentee landlords and property owners in our downtown keep their property in a shambles—I invite you to take a stroll behind the abandoned bank drive-through on Main Street between Second and Third —It is an unkempt mess—weeds growing up through pavement with pothole sized chunks out—trash—debris all over –Even the wooden shanty that looks as though it may have housed a dumpster at some point is a foot deep in unsecured trash, blankets and clothing as though an individual had perhaps taken up residence and was sleeping there !!! The drive-through doors are up about 18 inches and it appears folks have been using those for shelter as well-- I mean seriously --Who owns this property and why aren’t they made to maintain it? My neighbor was fined for some peeling paint on their garage but this mess is allowed to sit out on Main Street in our downtown for YEARS—It’s outrageous!!!
Mark Itall July 22, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Could not agree more with your last posting Debbie.
Clawson Citizen July 28, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Um..excuse me but you have NO IDEA how my family 'shopped in the 60's & 70's!" No we did NOT desert these downtowns!! I remember ALL the stores from "uptown Royal Oak". ONLY if you grew up back then, will you know why it was call ed "uptown!" There was, Kresge's, Neisner's, Sander's, Winkelmans, etc! We always went to DTE on Williams to trade in our light bulbs! Paid our gas bill at Consumer's, paid your phone bill at Ma Bell! You had two theatre's to go to, on on Main & one on Washinton, my wedding ring came from Dobie's jewelers! We bought our milk from Johnson's Depot on Lincoln, shall I go on? I can also name off every store in downtown Ferndale as well, "from the 60's & 70's!" Remember Federal's!? Oh, we also had a theatre on Woodward there too! So get your facts STRAIGHT before you accuse people of we shopped back then! And if I also remember it correctly, those stores also could not WAIT to be part of a "big new mall" that was being built! Big names like Montgomery Wards, Federal's, Sears, were the "anchor stores" to the malls! hmm.. Woolworth's, Kresge's etc, ALL moved into these malls! Maybe that is why we had no choice! but to go to the malls to shop! It went both ways! I was happy when in the mid 80's-90's, shopping was coming back to "uptown RO!" it was fun to shop, then yes enjoy a nice lunch or dinner. Then it went almost ALL bars! Who's catering to the younger generation now?!
Clawson Citizen July 28, 2012 at 05:38 AM
thank you Debbie! Mr Itali does not have his facts at all!
Clawson Citizen July 28, 2012 at 05:45 AM
I also agree with this post as well! and that will go into neighborhoods as well! I am dealing with absentee landlord now in our condo units with these foreclosures! WHAT A NIGHTMARE! I seriously want to move, but! because two condo went into foreclosures? guess what? now I am screwed! The value of my condo completely dropped!! I have done everything correctly too with my mortgage & only have 5 more years on it as well! And, this "flip it over" & "rent it" landlord, never even MET his tenants! We just had a big hearing with him and the nightmares we are having with his tenants! And just my luck, they are my next door neighbors! So, we all must watch our "downtown's" & neighborhoods with this recession. To lose all this value in the only major asset I have worked very hard for, is killing me right now. But, unlike my neighbors, I did & will not walk away from my mortgage.

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