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Royal Oak getting new batch of stylish lofts


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JUDY ROSE: Royal Oak getting new batch of stylish lofts

January 9, 2004



Downtown Royal Oak is about to get its second high-style, high-price, postmodern loft project in 15 months -- with top prices exceeding $300 per square foot -- about two to three times the average for a metro Detroit house.

And even though groundbreaking is still two weeks away, you'll have to hurry if you want to buy a loft. The first phase is almost fully reserved and reservations are starting to be taken on the second phase.

The first 18 units will be called Troy Street Lofts -- lavish, high-concept lofts that have floor-to-ceiling windows, Italian bath fixtures and a choice between granite or concrete countertops. They'll be at the corner of Troy and Seventh streets, two blocks east of Royal Oak's Main Street.

They'll be followed fast by 22 similarly designed units called Main Street Lofts. These will be at the northwest corner of Main Street and 11 Mile -- as central downtown as you can get in Royal Oak.

Royal Oak's market for slick, urban lofts already was proven by the highly successful eight-story Skylofts nearby at Main and Fourth. Here, all 70 lofts sold out in just 11 months, says sales manager Rachel Lane -- between October 2002 and September 2003.

Base prices at Skylofts ran from about $225-$265 per square foot, before buyers added luxuries. The top sales price was about $850,000, says Lane. That was for a 2,800-square-foot loft created by joining two units.

At the two new loft projects, base prices are $289,000-$469,000 for lofts that measure 1,090 to 2,543 square feet. That includes a sleek Italian kitchen, a gas fireplace fronted with black granite or stainless steel and hardwood floors. Or, if you're on the ground floor where the weight is not an issue, you could choose a floor of stained concrete.

You can add to this, for example a plasma TV and theater sound for about $5,000. Or a second deeded parking space for $14,900.

"A lot of our single, young professional men are very into audiovisual," says marketing director Khristian Speelman. "They're equipping the loft throughout with sound."

The architect for this project is the Birmingham-based uber-flash firm AZD Architects, whose sometimes startling designs pop up in local high-living magazines. The style is classic loft -- exposed ductwork and trusses with an overlay of Eurostyle slick.

Troy Street Lofts has a storefront sales office at the Royal Oak corner of Main and Fifth. You can see architect's renderings and an installation of the kitchen, fireplace and floors.

There's even the choice of a kitchen counter made from recycled paper set in resins. It has the dark gray matte finish of an industrial surface.

Construction is expected to be speedy, says Robert Wolfson, speaking for the developers. The Troy Street Lofts should be ready for its first occupants this summer, he says.

At the Main Street Lofts, groundbreaking will happen in mid-spring, Wolfson says, with first owners arriving in late 2004.

The lofts are the project of a group of builders and architects under the name RSW Development. All the members have done metro Detroit projects before, but not one like this. The 18 lofts in the first phase here have nine different configurations. Those on the first floor are a single story tall, albeit a tall story with 12-foot ceilings.

These have 1 1/2 or two baths and one bedroom, plus either a second small bedroom or flex space that could be used as an office or exercise room. First-floor lofts are 1,094 to 1,353 square feet with base prices of $289,000 to $339,000.

Lofts on the second floor are 20 feet tall, with soaring two-story windows in the living room. All of these have a large loft and full bath upstairs, which can be left open or finished as a guest bedroom.

The size of these two-story units is a hearty 2,027 to 2,543 square feet. Base prices are $379,000 to $469,000.

For more information on Troy Street Lofts or Main Street Lofts, stop in at the sales office or phone 248-545-6900 during sales hours, 12-7 Wednesday-Saturday and 12-5 Sunday Closed Monday and Tuesday.

You can see floor plans and more architect renderings at www.troystreetlofts.com

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I should've stated this when I first posted the article, but Royal Oak is a street car suburb of Detroit. It's attracting a lot of people who want an urban lifestyle, but don't want to live in the city of Detroit. I know that for a while they were even going to put some smaller condo towers downtown....I don't know what ever happened to that though.

Here is an older rendering of the project from the city's website


Here is an updated rendering


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It is in downtown - downtown Royal Oak, that is. This would be incredibly out of scale in downtown Detroit. Downtown Detroit needs midrise & highrise residential buildings, not 2 or 3 story buildings.

It would be cool if Detroit would turn all those unused office buildings into residential, or at least mixed use. Buildings like the Guradian sit 14% occupied. Turning buildings like the Guradian into residential would also all housing in the CBD that is virtually non-existant today.

Also, it would be really awesome if we could cover over some of those nasty surface lots with buildings like the one in this thread.

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