Hotel and Condos Sidelined by Planners

by CYNTHIA KMETT

A Home 2 Suites Hotel is proposed for the Big Beaver Zoning District on Wilshire. Basically behind Noodles, the project ran into some stumbling blocks at the last meeting of the Troy Planning Commission.

The Home 2 Suites Hotel brand is part of the Hilton Hotel chain, and it is to be built by Group 10 Management, which has been very active in Troy of late. They built the Galleria of Troy and the Hilton Gardens at Big Beaver and Wilshire, among other projects. They also have the TRUE Hotel on Maple site plan approved for the Hilton Hotel family.

But this site is a bit awkward. For one thing, it doesn’t have enough room on the site for the required parking for a five-story hotel. They have room for only 60 parking places on site and are planning 86 more spaces on other lots. That has forced Group 10 to go for shared parking with both the shopping plaza fronting on Crooks and the office building on Big Beaver. While shared parking may be approved by the Planning Commission, it always makes them a bit nervous, wondering if it will really work out. In addition, there’s no easy access to the major mile roads from the site. In fact, Group 10 has plans to turn a drive along the side of the office building into a newly paved road. It is not, however, as wide as a standard road would be.

Then there is the EIFs. Planners don’t like EIFs, even when developers say it has become much improved in recent years. Planners only want it as an “accent” material, not half the building. They want “more desirable materials” used in Troy. There were some minor concerns from the city, like needing seven more trees and blocking parking spaces with a crosswalk. Group 10’s Kenny Koza was on hand to remedy those concerns.

As to shared parking, he told the planners the company “would never jeopardize the success of the hotel by lack of parking.” As a member of Troy’s Downtown Development Authority, Koza added this $12 million extended stay hotel will be an asset on Big Beaver. While both the city’s staff and the city’s traffic consultant had no problem with the shared parking, planners still did. They also wanted to see documents that were “signed” giving the hotel those parking spaces. The hotel was postponed to the end of the month.

Developer Gary Abitheira wants to build the GFA Square Lake Condominiums, north of Square Lake and east of Livernois. It would have 14 townhouse units on just a 1.107-acre parcel in Neighborhood Node zoning. Here’s another parcel when access to the major mile road is not easy. The land available to the developer cannot hold a full-size road. Plus, the adjoining property owner won’t sell him the land that would make the road wider. The condos would be three-stories high and build in cluster fashion.

And, then there are the trees. The site has 22 woodland trees, which would be cut down for the project. That means the developer has to add 41 replacement trees. The planners wondered where one would plant 41 trees on this lot. Part of this site also backs to residents on Florence Street, who must be shielded from a new development. That would normally mean a 10-foot landscaped berm, but it’s pretty tight here, so Abitheira is asking for a six-foot fence instead. With lots of issues to be settled, planners seemed very unsure of this project and tabled it, too.