Hotel Development Looks for Financial Support from DDA

Posted on February 20, 2014

Developers for a hotel complex at 400 N. Main are working with the State of Michigan to secure funding assistance through the Community Revitalization Program, which requires local participation.

Members of Royal Oak’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) received an update and a request for support Wednesday from the developers of a $60 million hotel complex at the former Fresard auto dealership site.

The complicated project for the site at 400 N. Main Street – which includes an 8-story hotel, an 8-story apartment building, a pair of office buildings and a 4-level off-street parking deck – is moving forward at a “rapid pace,” according to Greg Erne, principal at Versa Development.

The development team – which includes Royal Oak-based CG Emerson Real Estate Group, Southfield-based Versa Development, Hotel Investment Services, Inc. (HIS) of Plymouth, T.H. Marsh Construction and Krieger | Klatt Architects, both of Royal Oak – and the city have been working together in “a strong spirit of collaboration” to re-develop the obsolete site and create “something special,” Erne said.

The developers have been working with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to secure funding assistance for the project through the Community Revitalization Program (CRP), which requires strong local participation in order to commit its funding.

“This is really an important part of the project right now,” Erne said.

The proposal presented to the Downtown Development Authority is:

  • The developer is allowed to capture the incremental ad valorem real estate taxes for up to 10 years
  • The amount of the capture will be capped at $4 million plus interest and carrying costs
  • The method for the capture will be a Reimbursement Agreement between the Downtown Development Authority and the Developer

The proposal is structured to be no-risk to the DDA, Erne said.

“We are not here to ask the DDA for a check,” he said, adding “We’re all in this together but we are not asking you to take on risk.”

Erne said he expects the project to break ground in the fall.

Directors will discuss the request at a special work session on March 1 and come back at the March DDA meeting for formal action.

The proposal for the Fresard property, which has been vacant since the auto dealership moved to Ferndale in 2008, first came before directors in May 2012 to measure the DDA’s interest in the project and move the discussion along.

“You did come to us over a year ago and present it and ask us if there would be interest and at that time I believe we told you yes,” said Director Jay Dunstan.

“We’re taking you up on that,” Erne said.