Developer tops off Royal Oak lofts

By Catherine Kavanaugh

Daily Tribune Staff Writer

PUBLISHED: September 30, 2005

ROYAL OAK— For condominium buyers Mary Leddy and Mary Mullings, a “topping out” ceremony Wednesday at Main North Lofts was like a reunion.

Leddy, a 20-year Royal Oak resident who works as a nurse at William Beaumont Hospital, hadn’t seen Mullings, a Beaumont retiree who lives in Bloomfield Hills, for 12 years.

“Now we’re going to be neighbors,” Leddy said.

Only three of the 94 units in the nine-story building going up on Main Street just north of 11 Mile Road are left. Buyers paid $275,000 to $875,000 for the two-bedroom, two-bathroom condos that will sit atop Hollywood Video, an eatery for salad lovers called Moe’s, a southwestern restaurant called Doc Green’s, and a couple other businesses.

The building will be finished in spring 2006, but the developers, construction workers, city officials, and future residents celebrated yesterday after a crane swung the last piece of concrete they had all signed into place.

With the structural work completed, the building will be enclosed in brick, stone and metal next. In a few weeks, construction also will start on a parking deck and then in November the second of three nine-story buildings called The Terrace will start taking shape.

The development by Joseph Freed Homes of Chicago will add about $100 million to the city tax base and hundreds of new residents. The sales staff is focusing on the 176-unit east tower now, which will have a ground-floor gourmet grocery store called Plum Market. The 42,000-square-foot business will be run by the family that owned the Merchant of Vino stores. It will carry mostly natural and specialty goods.

“We say Plum Market is where wellness meets taste,” said Matt Jonna, president of what could be the flagship store.

The Mullingses are looking forward to taking an elevator down nine floors to dine and shop.

“That’s what attracted us,” Mary Mullings said. “We can walk everywhere. We won’t have to move our car.”

Down on the sixth floor, Leddy plans to rent out her condo to hospital workers needing temporary housing as they finish training programs and residencies.

“For me, it’s an investment,” Leddy said. “I believe in Royal Oak. I love Royal Oak.”

She picked out a fireplace for the condo and asked for extra electrical outlets near it so her tenant will be able to plug in Christmas lights.

“Even though I’m renting it out, I want all the home touches,” Leddy added.

Despite all the building going on at the northeast corner of Main and 11 Mile, the city has received few complaints from neighbors, according to Mayor James Ellison. He has been involved with the project from its design phase and is eager to see its completion.

“This intersection will be the new core of Royal Oak,” the mayor said.

Architect Mark Farlow, a Royal Oak resident who works for Victor Saroki & Associates of Birmingham, said each of the three buildings will have its own character and be tied together with impressive landscaping, including a fountain.

Farlow, a 1975 Kimball High School graduate, said he can’t wait to go to his 30-year reunion this weekend.

“When people ask me what I’ve been doing, I can point to this,’ he said. “I’m totally geeked.”

Contact Catherine Kavanaugh at cathy.kavanaugh@dailytribune.com.