Loft model to open with preview party

By Catherine Kavanaugh

Daily Tribune Staff Writer

PUBLISHED: July 9, 2004

ROYAL OAK — Main North Lofts will take modern conveniences one step further with Wi-Fi technology throughout the nine-story building proposed for Main and University streets.
Buyers of the 95 lofts will get wireless access to the Internet as the developer, Joseph Freed & Associates of Palatine, Ill., looks to carve another niche in the city’s hot condominium market.

North Main Lofts will sit atop street-level stores and an indoor heated parking deck. The brick-and-glass structure is the first phase of an $80 million overhaul of the block bounded Main, 11 Mile Road, University and Troy streets. The developers also plan to construct two other nine-story buildings with businesses, parking and housing.

“We’re really extending Royal Oak’s downtown with influences from other great downtowns,” said Jim Collela, Freed’s sales and marketing director.

North main Lofts’ facade of red brick and storefront-size loft windows with metal and granite accents will be reminiscent of the older housing in

New York and Chicago but the interior amenities will meet the latest demands of single professionals and empty nesters, according to Collela. In addition to the newest technology, they want a workout facility, bicycle storage, wide hallways, a community room for parties and flexible living space that can be used as bedrooms or offices, he said.

Potential buyers and curious residents can get a peek at Main North Lofts during a preview party from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The developers have transformed a trailer into a full-scale model of a 1,246-square-foot loft complete with a balcony that offers a panoramic view from an eighth-floor unit.

Jazz musicians will perform and from noon to 3 p.m. Royal Oak businesses from Andiamo Osteria to Zumba’s Mexican Grille will serve their specialty dishes.

“The day will be about good taste,” Collela said.

It will also be about selling lofts in a city where half a dozen housing projects are going up in and around the downtown. Next weekend, the Denali Development Group will show off its Metro Lofts on Harrison Avenue — or as the area is now being billed, Royal Oak’s warehouse district.

Collela isn’t swayed by competition for condo buyers who can afford, in his case, $250,000 to $750,000 for 900- to 2,500-square-foot units.

“There’s a lot of competition, but it’s bringing a lot of people to the market,” he said.

Collela is offering lower pre-construction prices to get a waiting list going and then hopes the design of Main North Lofts, with its location just outside the eclectic downtown and the mix of stores, offices and restaurants expected to join the project, will give him a sales edge.

Buyers will have a short walk to Main Art Theatre — the only business the developers are building around — and an even shorter walk to Hollywood Video if its owners go ahead with plans to lease space on the ground floor.

“No more rushing to avoid late (video return) fees,” Collela said.

The developers will go before the Plan Commission again Tuesday, looking for final site plan approval and a recommendation for the City Commission to rezone the block from business and one-family residential classifications to a planned unit development.

PUD allows all land uses and lets developers exceed density and height requirements if city officials deem the project is consistent with other goals, such as improving the appearance and value of property, creating a buffer between the downtown and neighborhoods and making Royal Oak more pedestrian friendly.

The public hearing on Main North Lofts begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

If the project moves forward as planned, construction will begin in the fall and end in early 2006. For more information, call 248-336-1700.

Contact Catherine Kavanaugh at cathy.kavanaugh@dailytribune.com or 248-591-2504.