Redevelopment of former Wyndham Garden hotel in Sterling Heights takes shape

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

With a heftier price tag and slightly delayed timeline, work has begun on a $19 million project to redevelop the former Wyndham Garden Sterling Heights into mixed-use development with apartments, retail and office space.

The property called Plato’s Cave, at 34911 Van Dyke Ave., is expected to open this year, said developer Chris Potterpin, co-founder of Los Angeles-based Repvblik LLC.

“We’ve pulled our demo permit and started some interior demolition and construction, and we’re working through our construction timeline,” he said.

Plans had called for the project to be completed by fall of this year, but the effects of COVID-19 pushed things back, Potterpin said.

A rendering shows a studio apartment at Plato's Cave, a mixed-use development at 34911 Van Dyke Ave. in Sterling Heights.

“We’ve had to look for a few additional (subcontractors), we’ve had to go back and have our bids refined a couple times because of the way prices have been spiking and supply chain issues,” he said. “We’ve been a little bit longer in the bid process than we had been in the past given the construction market today.”

The developer has no plans to seek no federal funding or tax credits. Late last year, they closed on construction financing for the project. 

“That’s all locked,” Potterpin said. “We’re swinging some hammers and we’re eager to start swinging more.”

Repvblik announced last year that it had purchased for $5.25 million the the former hotel and convention center for what was to be a $10 million adaptive reuse project. The previous owner put the two-building complex up for sale in  April 2020, just at the start of the pandemic in Michigan.

The company, which has done other adaptive reuse projects, plans to turn the former hotel rooms into relatively affordable rental housing for the area’s workforce, students and seniors.

The number of planned apartments has increased from 208 to 213 for studio and one-bedroom units, Potterpin said. 

City officials have said that the project will fill a need for affordable rental housing in the city.

The mixed-use development Plato's Cave will also feature one-bedroom apartments, the developer said.

The development is under way with the site-plan approval process with the city, said Sterling Heights city planner Chris McLeod, adding that the project soon will enter its engineering and building plan review process.

“They have submitted some interior remodeling plans for some of the interior spaces that will soon undergo review as well,” he said.

Earlier this month, Potterpin said they wrapped up either auctioning or donating a couple thousand pieces of equipment and furnishings left behind during the sale. 

Potterpin said this company has received interest from potential residents and commercial tenants. The development will include 67,000 square feet of retail and office space. Amenities will include a restaurant, co-working space, a fitness lounge and storage.

They’ve also spoken with interested commercial tenants in industries including health and wellness, medical and a small, urban grocery store, Potterpin said.

"We've had five or six interested tenants that are pretty cool projects," he said. "Very different uses for the space."

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN