Downtown Royal Oak, which has long desired a hotel to complement its housing, retail, and office markets, may now get two inns. In addition to a planned $40 million, 114-room Hyatt hotel and mixed-use development along Main Street north of 11 Mile, another hotel has been proposed for a surface parking lot north of Oakland Community College along Main, at Sixth Street.
“The city has done a great job of adding housing downtown to what is a growing retail and restaurant market, and now we’re seeing more interest from office users and hotel operators,” says Don Nahat, president of Huntington Real Estate Group in Royal Oak. “We’re seeing more people that want to live or work in a dense, urban environment because it’s more efficient.”
In recent weeks, Huntington has signed leases at the former Citizens Bank building at Third and Center streets, a three-story structure that has been vacant for several years. Factory Detroit, an ad agency, recently moved into the second floor, while RBC Wealth Management, a division of the Royal Bank of Canada, is taking over the third floor in November. Nahat hopes to add a restaurant on the first floor and lower level.
The city plans to draw other development and will soon demolish a two-story office building at the northeast corner of Troy and Third streets. “Initially we’ll extend our surface parking at that corner, but the goal is to add another development there, which could be a private project or a municipal building,” says Stuart Meek, assistant to the city manager.
On the restaurant front, Luigi Cutraro recently opened Trattoria Pizzeria Luigi, an Italian restaurant, on Washington, south of Fourth Street, while Aaron F. Belen will soon open Bistro 82 and Sabrage in the former Sangria space at Fourth and Lafayette (which he acquired from Luigi and Nino Cutraro). In turn, Hanna Development and Management Co. recently re-acquired D’Amato’s and Goodnight Gracie, which opened in the Washington Square Building in 1996.
John Hanna, president of Hanna Development, says D’Amato’s menu was recently revamped by Chef Paul Jackman, and now includes such dishes as angel hair pasta with meatballs and Chicken Parmesan. Hanna also has proposed adding a full-service hotel at Main and Sixth, which would include a banquet facility, offices, and a parking deck.