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A three-phase residential and retail main street project has passed the site approval stage and is heading toward approval by the Royal Oak City Council.The project, called Main Place, will spread retail stores and 84 condominiums over a 2.5-acre site. Development costs are expected to be $50 million.

Two square blocks of the popular Royal Oak Main Street will be rebuilt, says Tim Blum, senior vice president of HSA Commercial Inc. of Chicago. The company is building the project as a joint venture with the Morningstar Group.

The companies will tear down a National City Bank and renovate warehouses to create the project, Blum says. Phase one will feature the construction of a five-story building, with two levels of retail anchored by a Barnes & Noble bookstore, and three levels of offices above. “The office part will stay if we can get preleasing. We’ve retained Colliers International as our office broker. We have interested parties, but if we can’t get preleased in time we’ll have to drop the three floors of office from the project,” says Blum.

Phase two will be a 10-story building between Fourth and Fifth streets on Main. The building will have two levels of retail on the bottom, two levels of parking above that, which will be totally dedicated for the residents of 84 loft condominiums on the top six floors. The condos will run at about $200 a s.f.

“We will have national apparel stores, such as The Gap and Eddie Bauer. Royal Oak is known for being heavy in entertainment, this will round out the retail component that’s sorely missing,” Blum said.

The last phase is to renovate an existing warehouse building that fronts Fifth Street, between phase two and the railroad tracks on Main Street. That building will be retrofitted to provide two stories of offices and retail.If the project is fully approved, phase one will start in March, Blum said. Phase two will start about seven months later, and phase three is about a year away, he said. The entire project should be completed in two years, Blum said.

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