101-year-old Royal Oak building to reopen as cutting-edge auto firm

Once thought obsolete, employees of Streetcar USA are set to move into the newly renovated St. Clair Edison building on downtown Royal Oak's south side this week.

Michael Chetcuti -- principal of Streetcar USA, a specialty auto-technology firm – says he choose the building because of its proximity to downtown and all of the specialty vehicles the downtown attracts. He added the structure's historical character, along with so many of the other buildings in downtown, also made it attractive to rehabilitate.

"It has major historical significance to Detroit because it powered the streetcars on Woodward for 50 years," Chetcuti says. "That's why we named the company Streetcar USA."

The St. Clair Edison building, 711 S. Main St, is 101 years old, making it one of Royal Oak's oldest. Located where the train tracks intersect Main, the building originally served as a power generating plant for streetcars and later on as a warehouse.

Chetcuti's St. Clair Edison LLC refurbished the building this year, turning it into 2,000 square feet of office space on the first floor and another 2,000 square feet of retail space in the basement. Chetcuti is looking for a tenant for the basement and has an open mind about what businesses can go there.

"Ideally, we'd like to see an architecture, design or engineering firm down there, but we will also look at some high-end retail," Chetcuti says. "We want something that will complement our business."

Michael Chetcuti, principal of Streetcar USA
Writer: Jon Zemke
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