SOUTHFIELD – About 300 people got a peek at the future of Lawrence Technological University and the rest of Southfield and Lathrup Village at the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the City luncheon, featuring Southfield Mayor Ken Siver and Lathrup Village Mayor Frank Brock Jr.
The venue was the spectacularly remodeled former Southfield Holiday Inn, the iconic circular hotel on Telegraph Road just south of I-696. It’s scheduled to reopen in April as a 192-room Best Western Premier after a $3.6 million remodeling by a New Zealand-based hospitality firm.
The Epicurean Restaurant Group, which formerly operated Detroit’s Coach Insignia restaurant atop the Renaissance Center, will handle food at the new Best Western, and provided the food for Monday’s event.
Siver lauded Lawrence Tech’s role in the city’s continuing redevelopment, especially the Southfield City Centre project, which seeks to create a walkable, mixed-use downtown area along Evergreen Road from 10 Mile Road north to the Southfield municipal complex.
“LTU is a key partner in the growth of the City Centre,” Siver said. “It’s such a pleasure to work with Lawrence Tech. You guys are wonderful.”
Siver also praised the LTU Collaboratory, a business incubator on the LTU campus founded as a partnership between LTU, the city, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Some 15 startups have been assisted by the Collaboratory so far, including LivePicture, a video display technology company that exhibited in a trade show area before the mayors’ speeches.
Other plans for the City Centre include a boutique hotel and 155 more housing units, along with a 70-unit expansion of Arbor Lofts.
The “biggest undertaking we’ve ever attempted” in Southfield is, of course, the Northland Mall redevelopment – 120 acres and millions of square feet of building space. Siver said the city envisions a mixed-use development of housing at various price points along with retail, medical office, research and other businesses, anchored by the massive former Macy’s store, which will be gutted and refurbished.
Siver said the city didn’t necessarily want to tackle the Northland rebuilding, but “when no viable redevelopment proposal emerged, we decided we did not want blight, we did not want dumping, we did not want scrappers, we did not want an eyesore at the entrance of our city.”
For more on the city’s plans for Northland, visit www.imaginenorthland.com.
Siver said the city also plans more financial incentives for individuals to rehabilitate their homes.
Lathrup Village’s Brock, meanwhile, said the future of his city depends in part on redevelopment proposals for Southfield Road, which is also being eyed as a more walkable, pedestrian-friendly space. Along I-696, Michigan First Credit Union also plans a $24 million, 178,000-square-foot addition.