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July 14, 1995 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-07-14

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request. If Franklin fails to fight
the development, the judgment
would have to be amended: As
it stands, the property may only
be used for office buildings until
When or whether it will come
up again at a future Franklin
council meeting is anybody's
guess — the clerk for the Village
of Franklin said there has been
no request for another date to
take it up — but Mr. Gendel
thinks it's a dead issue.
"Bluntly, they got to them.
Money talks, everything else
walks. If they table it, it means
they're not interested," he said.
Not necessarily, said Mickey
Nemer of Forbes/Cohen/Nemer,
which plans to sell 20 acres of the
Galleria property to Sony
Corporation and Loeks-Star
Theatres for the multiplex.
"The Franklin Foundation, be-
cause they had two people out of
the city, weren't ready to talk to
the village, and I'm not sure the
village even wanted to be put on
the spot. The foundation, when
they're all together, may decide
to vote on it, but I guess they
weren't comfortable," Mr. Nemer
Members of the group were not
available for comment.
Mr. Nemer, a Franklin resi-
dent, believes the project will be
a boon for Southfield. The art-
deco complex will boast 6,000
seats and feature either four
restaurants or a combination of
restaurants and retail, such as a
Walt Disney store. Fountains,
spires and palm trees will com-
plete the Hollywood-style ambi-
"Do we wait until Southfield is
a has-been? You have something
that's an enhancement and at-
traction while the neighborhood
is still vital," Mr. Nemer said.
The Southfield City Council
seems to think so.
Despite raucous opposition by
Mr. Gendel and nearly 150 oth-
ers who staged protests and made
speeches at council meetings, the
council approved the use of the
site, the construction of the en-
tranceway between Case and
Lockdale roads, directly across
the street from Wellington, and
a new traffic signal at Dufty and
12 Mile roads. Dully runs north
between Wellington Place, the
Knights of Columbus Hall and
a city fire station.
Council members Sidney
Lantz and Joan Seymour were
the only dissenters in the June
26 vote for the new entranceway.
"Can you imagine the thou-
sands of cars getting out of that
driveway at peak hours? The traf-
fic now is horrendous," said Mr.
He said the problem will be
compounded by the planned
rerouting of the southern portion
of Franklin Road within the next
few years. Southfield traffic engi-
neer Robert Northrup said the

road will cross Northwestern
about a quarter-mile south of 12
Mile and intersect with 12 Mile a
few blocks east of Northwestern,
near Mr. Joe's bar.
"They were playing hardball,"
Mr. Lantz said of the Sony-Loeks
representatives. 'They could have
moved the entrance in front of
Dufty, but they didn't want to
change the whole site plan."
He noted that the theater will
also inconvenience other near-
by residents. Approximately
4,000 people live in the nine com-
plexes in the area.
Mr. Gendel, who called him-
selfa "movie buff," said he has no
plans to move out of Wellington
Place, although he worries that
the value of his property will de-
cline. The presence of the theater
will compromise the very quality
of life for families nearby, he said.
"This is going to radically
change our lives," he said, noting
that at least one resident has al-
ready moved out.
But the major complaint of the
Gendels, Smith and other resi-
dents is the new driveway.
"The theater might be a nice
thing if they transposed the build-
ing and put the entrance on
Case," Mr. Gendel said. "There
are a lot of oldies in Wellington
and these people are not going to
be able to do what I do," which he
explained as "aggressive" driv-
Smith said when a gate is re-
moved to allow Wellington traf-
fic onto Dufty, the Wellington
complex will be a convenient
thruway for outside traffic,
among other problems.
Frieda Gendel fears the addi-
tional traffic will prevent ambu-
lances from getting to residents.
"We'd be satisfied if they put
no entrance off 12 Mile," she said.
"We had hoped Franklin Village
would use the judgment and tell
them they could not do it."
But Brent 0. Bair, managing
director of the Road Commission
for Oakland County, said an of-
fice complex "would have a
greater impact on traffic than a
movie theater. From a traffic
standpoint, it's a friendlier de-
Mr. Bair said there are no
plans to widen 12 Mile Road, al-
though Mr. Nemer said his com-
pany has been in discussions with
the city over using the eastbound
left-turn lane for through traffic
to ease the congestion.
"I don't think the theater will
cause that many problems where
we'll have to look at it," Mr. Bair
The theater developers will
pay the costs of coordinating the
traffic signals at Dufty, Lockdale
and Case and reconfiguring east-
bound 12 Mile Road.
Barring opposition from either
Franklin Foundation or the 12
Mile residents, the multiplex
could be up within the year, Mr.
Nemer said. El

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