Royal Oak’s I-696/Woodward Parcel up for Development Approval


From a trickle of activity at a prominent, yet vacant parcel, at I-696 and Woodward in Royal Oak — used for excess snow piles or overflow parking for the Detroit Zoo — comes three development proposals that the Downtown Development Authority will consider at its next meeting on March 19.

The DDA is expected to select a final developer, followed by approval of a development plan, permits, and other requirements. Vacant since I-696 was completed in 1989, the 4.2-acre site is often cited as one of the most accessible locations in the region. And yet development proposal after development proposal has failed to gain traction.

“We really like the site, and we only began looking at it in the last year or so,” says Avi Grewal, project manager for Singh Development LLC in West Bloomfield, which develops residential homes and apartments, office buildings, and retail space in Michigan and nationally. “People are looking for an urban experience, and you can’t beat the location.”

The proposals include:

  • Singh wants to develop Woodward Grand Luxury Apartments, a $35-million project that would offer 192 apartments, a clubhouse, a courtyard with a swimming pool, a fitness area, and covered parking.
  • Versa Development, Farran Group, and CG Emerson have submitted plans for a $50-million project that would offer 160 apartments, retail space, a medical office building, and a parking deck. The team is working to bring a hotel, apartments, and commercial offerings at 400 Main, just north of 11 Mile.
  • Schostak Brothers & Co. in Livonia plans to construct a large office building, upwards of 150,000 square feet, along with complementary commercial uses. The building could serve to consolidate two area facilities for India-based Tata Technologies, which has its U.S. headquarters in Novi, and a North American Engineering and Innovation Center in Troy.