Developer plans pair of ‘Chicago-style’ luxury high-rise buildings

By DOUG HENZE
Of The Oakland Press
Two luxury condominium towers, billed as bringing Chicago-style living to metro Detroit, are expected to be on the rise as soon as the end of the year.
Chicago-based Joseph Freed & Associates will build the 18-story and 12-story buildings on the north side of Big Beaver Road between Crooks and Coolidge roads starting in late 2006 or early 2007. To be called The Monarch, the $101 million project will offer some of the only high-rise living in suburban Detroit.

The 155 to 170 condos will range from 850 square feet to 3,500 square feet and sell from the upper-$300,000s to about $2 million. The buildings also will offer about 15,000 square feet to 17,000 square feet of retail space geared toward residents.

“It should be pretty fabulous,” said Kris Gosselin, director of sales and marketing for Joseph Freed in Michigan. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities for this (in metro Detroit). We have an aging boomer market and they’ve come to expect a certain lifestyle. We anticipate (units) to be high-end finishes, more of a European-style cabinetry, hard finishes – marble, granite.”

The Monarch, to be constructed on a 2.5-acre site between Alpine and McClure streets, will consist of the 131,000-square-foot west tower, the 226,000-squarefoot east tower and a five-and-a half-story parking structure. The climate-controlled structure, where each resident will be assigned two spaces, will have secured access.

The Neumann Homes design center on the property will be relocated by the end of April and Joseph Freed will construct a sales office and model by the end of the summer, Gosselin said. Sales of the units will begin then, followed by construction of the towers.

The one- to three-bedroom units will have gourmet kitchens and ceilings exceeding nine feet, Gosselin said.

Residents also may have access to a fitness center, a meeting room, 24-hour concierge services, high-speed Internet access and an indoor virtual golf area. Details on the exact amenities are being finalized now.

“We will have a rooftop feature with landscaping on top of the parking structure,” Gosselin said. “There may be a putting green up there and an outdoor lounge area.”

The majority of condo buyers are expected to be emptynesters moving from larger homes, Gosselin said. Busy executives who have their primary residences outside of Michigan also may be interested in owning a unit, she said.

“It’s going to be people who travel and want to lock the door and go and not have concerns,” she said.

Neighbors behind the proposed site of the towers initially raised concerns about whether the buildings would block sunlight, but those issues have been resolved, said Doug Smith, Troy’s director of real estate and development.

“They did a good job of talking with the neighbors behind there,” Smith said, referring to the developer. “I think the neighbors were generally satisfied when they finished the process.”

The condo project is the first step toward redevelopment of the Big Beaver Road corridor, which largely has been limited to corporate headquarters or retail space, Smith said. The future of the corridor is more mixed-use development.

“It’s an exciting development – a great opportunity for us,” Smith said of the Monarch project. “You’ll have at least the upper floors having a view of downtown Detroit. In the northern and western suburbs, Southfield’s about the only one that has a couple of those kinds of towers.”