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Royal Oak

DDA delays selling land at I-696 and Main Street

March 25, 2014

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Schostak Brothers, one of three bidders for land at Interstate 696 and Main Street in Royal Oak, would want to turn it into a headquarters for a tech company. The Downtown Development Authority currently owns the land.

ROYAL OAK — While the Downtown Development Authority formally accepted three of four requests for proposals March 19, it held off on a final decision to sell the plot of land at Interstate 696 and Main Street.

The DDA instead voted to request additional information from the prospective buyers, who presented detailed development plans during the meeting.

The DDA asked the potential developers — Farran Realty Partners, Singh Development LLC, and Schostak Brothers and Company — to provide projected costs of their developments, an approximation of taxable value and the highest amount of tax increment financing reimbursements they’ll be requesting.

TIF reimbursements allow developers within a DDA to have portions of their construction projects paid for with some of the property tax they paid to the DDA.

Bill Harrison, a DDA board member, said that knowing how much a developer will be asking back would give the authority a better idea of exactly how much it will be making from the sale of the property.

“That way, we have an out-the-door price, just like when you buy a car,” said DDA member Bill Harrison.

Jeff Klatt, the architect who designed the Farran development, said his goal in designing the project was to keep it “an extension of the downtown area.”

The Farran development would include up to 180 residential units and two separate retail and office buildings totaling 70,000 square feet.

Singh would turn it into luxury apartments and lofts.

Dennis Cowan, an attorney representing Singh Development, said that they would be requesting no reimbursements or other subsidies from Royal Oak.

“We believe this will help expedite the project,” Cowan said.

Schostak would want to turn the land into a headquarters for an international tech company that would bring high-paying jobs downtown and a “daytime population that we believe this community needs.”

Mark Schneider, the president of the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, said during the public comment portion of the meeting that the chamber would like to see the land sold to anyone looking to turn it into office space.

He said that the downtown needs to find a way to support retailers.

“One way to do that is to bring more people downtown during the day,” Schneider said.

City Manager Don Johnson said that the fourth RFP received was incomplete.

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