Once deemed dangerous, downtown Royal Oak building to begin life anew

One of downtown Royal Oak's most dilapidated buildings is set to beat the odds (and the wrecking ball) to become the city's newest office building.

Deemed "dangerous" by city officials who planned to raze it earlier this summer, 401 N Main St. not only got a stay of execution but is set to be reborn into 5,000 square feet of Class A office space later this month.

"It has a long history of proposals for it," says Jim Schneider, president of Royal Oak-based Schnieder+Smith Architects.

The two-story building at the corner of Main and West University Avenue, a block north of the Main Art Theatre, has been on a weird journey in recent years. It was built as a one-story storefront in the 1920s. Four years ago a developer added a second floor intending to build four luxury condos. That project stalled, stopping construction and allowing the building to crumble.

A number of different proposals for it were floated but none of them took root until the city started the process to condemn the building. New private developers now plan to renovate the structure into office space by next April. Construction workers have already started some interior demolition and plan to begin working in earnest by the end of the month.

Schnieder+Smith Architects have done the design work for the building. The firm also did design work for the renovations of the Luke Building next door and the Tribune Building in downtown Royal Oak. They have also done work for a number of restaurants in the city's central business district, such as Pronto!, Woody's and the Comet Burger.

Source: Jim Schneider, president of Royal Oak-based Schnieder+Smith Architects
Writer: Jon Zemke

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