Troy to open transit center next week

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Troy’s new multimodal transit center will open next week, with a ribbon-cutting scheduled for Tuesday for the long-delayed, $6.3 million project.

The 9:30 a.m. ceremony will mark the grand opening of the facility, which will offer passenger rail service, regional bus routes and taxi services.

“The grand opening of the Troy Transit Center is an exciting moment for our city and region,” Mayor Dane Slater said in a statement. “Increasing our community’s connectedness is a priority, and this marks a step in the right direction.”

Amtrak officials said the center is a major improvement for the railroad company’s service, which includes six daily trains between Pontiac and Chicago via Troy, Detroit, Dearborn and Ann Arbor.

“Amtrak and our passengers depend on engaged communities to provide stations,” Mark Murphy, general manager of the company’s long distance services, said in a statement. “With the opening of the Troy Transit Center will come more connections to other transportation modes and a welcoming all-weather place for Amtrak passengers.”

Troy’s transit center, near Maple Road and Coolidge Highway, didn’t exactly have an easy journey getting to this point.

The city initially partnered with the neighboring community of Birmingham to take on the project in 2000. At that time, real estate developer Grand Sakwa Properties donated the land with the condition funding for the transit center be secured by 2010. Birmingham backed out a year later.

Troy secured an $8.4 million federal grant, but Grand Sakwa said the money wasn’t acquired before the deadline, meaning the property reverted back to the company.

The city took the developer to court and offered to pay the company $550,000, based on a 2010 appraisal.

The City Council approved a scaled-down version of the transit center in January 2012.

Construction of the 28,000-square-foot center, designed to replace an Amtrak station across the tracks in Birmingham, was completed last fall. However, Amtrak officials said the company couldn’t sign a lease until the city had title to the property.

In May 2013, an appeals court granted the reversion of the parcel. Troy initiated a condemnation case, allowing the city to buy the site, officials said.

In February 2014, an Oakland County Circuit judge dismissed the city’s lawsuit, affirming Grand Sakwa’s ownership of the land.

Two months ago, an Oakland County Circuit judge issued an order transferring title to the property to Troy, on condition that the city pay Grand Sakwa $1.05 million.