Lakewood Eyes 2023 Construction For $100 Million Mixed-Use Project

John Benson,

More than two years after the former Lakewood Hospital was demolished, the city has slowly and methodically moved forward with a massive mixed-use project in its place.

It now appears that the period of due diligence on national real estate developer CASTO Communities and North Pointe Realty’s $100 million plan for the 5.7-acre property at Detroit and Belle avenues will soon give way to construction, beginning in early 2023.

“Planning Commission has provided preliminary approval, as CASTO is working back and forth with Architectural Board of Review (ABR) on the various design components of the project,” Lakewood Director of Planning Shawn Leininger said.

“ABR has worked through all of the commercial buildings -- basically, the northern third of the property, which includes the Roundstone building, the public space, the Curtis Block building and a resident building,” Leininger said.

“Now they’ll work on the remainder at the site -- the garage, a multi-family building, Garden Apartments and townhouses -- at their next meeting.”

Earlier this year, City Council approved a resolution authorizing the negotiation of a development agreement with CASTO related to the future of the former Lakewood Hospital site.

Originally estimated at $90 million, the proposal boasts a nearly 30,000-square-foot ground-floor commercial development (retail and restaurants), as well as a 20,000-square-foot plaza and community space and at least 200 units of mixed-income for-sale and rental housing.

The latter includes affordable units to address the increasing cost of housing in Lakewood.

There’s also a new parking garage serving the development, as well as providing additional downtown Lakewood public parking.

A key to the project is for rapidly growing Roundstone Insurance to remain in Lakewood and occupy a new multi-story Class-A building featuring more than 65,000 square feet of office space.

Regarding the Curtis Block building -- beloved by city officials and residents -- the 1913 structure located at the southwest corner of the Detroit and Marlowe avenue intersection requires $2.2 million in repairs.

“At the last Architectural Board of Review meeting, we were only there to talk about the revised concept that showed instead of a three-story addition a one-story addition on top of the Curtis Block (building),” Leininger said.

“As far as the details, we haven’t worked through the structural aspects of how that’s going to come together. The estimated $2 million cost is to preserve the façade and replace it with a new structure that could support the addition, as well as new residential units and commercial units.

“But from Detroit and Marlowe, it will be the same building we see today.”

Leininger said that once ABR and the Planning Commission approve the development plan, it -- along with the development agreement -- will go to City Council for approval early next year.

“Our goal is to advance all of the approvals at the beginning of the year and allow the developer to then move forward with construction in the first part of 2023,” Leininger said.