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Market study helps Michigan city investigate demand for real estate development

The City of Oak Park is an inner-ring suburb of Detroit, Mich., roughly 14 miles northwest of downtown Detroit. The city has a population of approximately 30,000.

Oak Park enjoys a mix of traditional single-family neighborhoods, multifamily housing, retail, and a sizable industrial and commercial property base that draws workers from neighboring communities. Some of the neighboring communities, including Pleasant Ridge, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, and Berkley, are largely residential, while others like Southfield have a diverse base of residential, office, and retail uses. The nearby Woodward corridor provides easy access to popular traditional mixed-use downtowns serving southern Oakland County, including Birmingham, Royal Oak, and Ferndale as well as the City of Detroit’s New Center, Midtown, and Central Business District.

The city engaged Plante Moran Realpoint (PMR) in 2023 to conduct a comprehensive market study to assess the potential demand for a new retail and residential development on 11 Mile Road.

Market & Site Conditions

PMR’s approach began with a high-level assessment of the site and market conditions of the property, utilizing information related to the physical context (location, accessibility, zoning, etc.), demographics, socioeconomic trends, and current residential and retail supply. This initial data — synthesized and vetted through the extensive experience of PMR’s multidisciplinary staff with deep knowledge of these asset classes and market area — determined there was support for demand that warranted further study.

Outcome: Initial insight into residential and retail demand supported further study

Market Potential

To confirm market potential, PMR conducted a deeper analysis into the market’s conditions. Our team studied the current and past supply trends, conducted market field work (including having conversations with active brokers and developers), evaluated market comparables, and analyzed similar trends in comparable communities using Placer AI to determine the potential for new development at the subject site. PMR’s market intelligence revealed potential demand for properly positioned housing and retail for the 11 Mile Road corridor in Oak Park.

Outcome: Data confirmed demand for both residential and retail development

Implementation Strategy

Many market studies are complete with the confirmation of demand. However, the city needed actionable strategies and recommendations to prepare for a potential development. In addition to our demand findings, PMR presented an actionable strategy to encourage and induce new mixed-use development in the area the city desired to activate. PMR’s solution-based approach is designed to guide the city in implementing future development plans for the corridor and transition the project from drawing board to reality.

Outcome: Provided actionable framework to move forward with development 

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