The city of Birmingham is certainly well acquainted with luxury. Still, some of the new developments currently under way and on the horizon may amp that luxury up a few notches.
There’s the highly publicized Daxton Hotel, which is currently under construction at 298 Old Woodward. When completed, the $55 million boutique hotel will join the Townsend Hotel as a home away from home for celebrities, athletes and the jet set.
Up the street will soon be The Pearl luxury apartments, which boast 10-foot high ceilings, 24-hour concierge service, underground parking, and a house car for drop-offs and pick-ups on weekdays. The apartments will join The Bristol, a high-end five-condo development, and the 28-condo Brookside Residences as the newest additions to the residential landscape in Birmingham.
“The city strives to be a destination location whether it’s to live, work or play and provide services that match accordingly,” says Birmingham Planning Director Jana Ecker. “There are a number of significant projects under way that will add to what has already been established in Birmingham.”
Birmingham seems to be an especially hot market for new development this year, with new office building (The Jeffrey) and mixed-use building (750 Forest) also under construction.
But the development isn’t happening without a careful eye on its impact to the already classic cityscape that Birmingham possesses.
“The city carefully studies the impact of new development on its existing businesses, stakeholders and residents prior to approval of a particular project,” says Ecker. “That said, new development brings more residents to Birmingham and increases property values which helps the city provide a range of exemplary services.”
According to Ecker, the city refers to its Master Plan to see how a proposed project aligns with it. There are also zoning regulations and ordinances to maintain a consistent vision while still being flexible for technological and other advancements.
In Bloomfield Township, the big news is the development of the Bloomfield Park site. According to Bloomfield Township Director of Community Relations Greg Kowalski, the development, now known as The Village at Bloomfield, has no single completion date.
“It will open as buildings are completed and occupied,” he says. “Menard’s is opening in summer 2019 as is the Hampton Inn.”
When fully completed, this mixed-use development will have a lot going on. In addition to the two-story, 243,672-square-foot Menard’s store, there will be a 22,245-square-foot Aldi’s store opened at the site in December 2019. There will also be a large one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment complex is currently being built and could be ready for occupancy in 2020. Planet Fitness, which normally moves into existing buildings, will be instead building a 30,000-square-foot facility at the site.
There will also be a 150-unit American House senior living development, and a new two-story, 83,000-square-foot Henry Ford Health System health clinic next to Aldi.
“There will be primary care, a walk-in clinic a pharmacy and OptimEyes,” says Kowalski. “It will become Henry Ford’s 11th outpatient clinic in Oakland County when it opens this fall (2019).”
In Bloomfield Hills, the former Kingsley Inn was recently renovated and last year reopened as the new Doubletree by Hilton hotel, says City Manager David Hendrickson. The new development includes Joe Muer Seafood, Zalman’s Deli and The Duke Lounge.
In addition, Agree Realty Corporation will expand their headquarters on Long Lake Road and renovate a site next to their existing award-winning office building.
As promising as new development is for cities and townships, it’s not without challenges. For example, with more development comes the need for more parking. And in Birmingham, parking challenges are nothing new, says City Manager Joe Valentine. What is new is how the city is choosing to deal with it.
“Software improvements have enabled us to track in real time parking availability throughout the parking system,” says Valentine. “We have put in place tools to communicate that availability through the City website while also looking at other options of usage, such as mobile technology, in the near future.”
The city also recently added an on-street valet parking service on opposite ends of downtown. This parking service provides the drop-off of vehicles at an affordable rate, according to Valentine.
“The on-street valet complements our rooftop valet service that’s been in place for a number of years now,” he says. “Both are intended to give our parkers options, so they can experience the city in the most convenient way possible.”
For Ecker, the Birmingham Planning Director, the strong services the city provides and “wise development choices” are what continue to make the city a destination to live and visit.
“More foot traffic helps the entire business community,” she says, “which leads to more retail attraction opportunities and reinforces the city’s position as a premier urban shopping district in the region and beyond.”