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DDA Looks at 'Woodward Grand' Concept and Others for I-696 Site

The concept is one of three proposals on the table for the long vacant I-696/Main Street parcel.

Singh Development will present an initial concept for a luxury apartment complex to the DDA. Credit: JDavis Architects
Singh Development will present an initial concept for a luxury apartment complex to the DDA. Credit: JDavis Architects
Developers presented an initial concept for a $35 million luxury apartment complex on the vacant parcel at Interstate 696 and Main Street to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) at a meeting at City Hall Wednesday afternoon.

Todd Rankine, director, architecture and planning at Singh Development LLC, walked directors through the proposed 4-story building with 192 units, including 19 street-level townhouses and a combination of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The building would be constructed of brick and stone, materials that are low on maintenance and long on durability, according to Rankine. The project would take 12-18 months to develop.

Units would rent for approximately $1,500 to $2,500 per month.

Singh would own, development, construct and operate the project. In the past 25 years, the developer has constructed 20 "luxury" projects in Michigan and has to more in the pipeline, according to attorney Dennis Cowan, who introduced the development team to directors.

Singh's portfolio also includes the 82-unit Waltonwoods Royal Oak assisted living facility located at 3450 W. 13 Mile Road, which was built in 1998 and renovated in 2012.

[Read: Developers Present Luxury 'Woodward Grand' Concept for I-696/Main Street Parcel]

Date set to discuss proposals


The Singh concept is one of three proposals on the table for the vacant I-696/Main Street parcel.

In December, Versa DevelopmentCG Emerson Real Estate Group and Farran Group presented their concept to build apartments, a 4-story medical/office building and a retail area on the property.

[Read: Developers Present 'Gateway' Concept for I-696 Site to DDA]

A third consideration is an office building office but no tangible plans have been presented to the DDA to look at yet.

DDA directors will meet at 9 a.m. on March 1 for a work session to discuss the three concepts, though it's unlikely that the office building complex will be ready at that time with design drawings, according to City Manager Don Johnson.

"From my point of view, I am looking at the scale of the development," said Director Bill Harrison of the office complex, adding "with computers today, it's easy to give us an idea of what the building might look like."

Director Michael Sophiea asked that the third developer send over any materials that might be helpful in terms of the discussion.

"I don't picture us coming to any kind of conclusion at that meeting anyway," Sophiea said. "We might get a direction and we might be able to talk more about the process moving forward."

In other I-696/Main Street news, the DDA approved a request from the Detroit Zoo to renew its licensing agreement to use the vacant parcel for the purposes of overflow parking. The agreement has an out if the property is sold. 

RON Ostrodamus March 20, 2014 at 01:09 PM
Above all I a cannot understand WHY the city allowed themselves an out on 696 if the property is sold. If the tower read Royal Oak Zoo instead of Detroit Zoo maybe they would realize what is good for the zoo is good for Royal Oak. They really threw the baby out with the bathwater with that decision.
Philip March 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Do you realize that only the Zoo's entrance is in Royal Oak? Most of it is in Huntington Woods.
Mark Itall March 21, 2014 at 06:20 PM
411 Main? No such project. Still having real problems with basic facts, eh Ron? Really makes people not take your good points seriously.
RON Ostrodamus March 22, 2014 at 10:33 PM
Mea Culpa Mark. You are right and since my computer type is delayed it impossible to retype. One cannot edit a comment on a blog not one's own.

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