By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Businessman Mounir Hider’s plan to develop the northeast corner lot at Michigan Avenue and Howard Street into a four-story mixed-used development was approved at the Jan. 11 City Council meeting.
Hider, and his brothers, Malik and Mohammed, plan to create ground floor commercial space, with apartments on the upper floors.
The city sold the property to Hider for $400,000 for the mixed-use development.
The lot, the former location of Brothers Tuxedo, was acquired by the city for $10,942 in 2013 from the Wayne County Treasurer through the city’s first right of refusal in a tax reversion situation, which gives a community an opportunity to purchase a site to promote its economic development.
The lot, which is about 0.2 acres, is situated at a key downtown west Dearborn intersection, in an area slated by the city’s master plan for mixed-use, multi-story buildings to increase the area’s economic viability.
The city’s re-development of the lot has been delayed twice by litigation: In 2014 with Hakim Fakhoury, who lost his claim of interest in the land, and from 2015 to 2017 with another potential developer who never submitted plans nor started construction.
Last July, the land was promoted for development, and the city received six offers. Three bids were incomplete and were rejected, and another proposal, for a high-end restaurant, was rejected because it was not in line with the city’s plans for the area in terms of mixed-use development.
Two remaining bidders, the Howard Group and Mounir Hider, were interviewed and their proposals evaluated.
Hider’s proposal was chosen because it encompassed more building area, including more ground floor commercial space; had more residential units than the Howard Group (27 as opposed to 15 on the upper floors); provided a greater estimated increase in property value and greater city tax revenue; and its design was felt to be of higher quality and more in keeping with the plan for the downtown area.
Mayor Abdullah Hammoud said it is important for the city to change its reputation as being a difficult city in which to launch a business.
“What we continue to do is throw up more red tape before we can actually proceed with breaking ground,” he said. “Under my tenure, we plan to change the culture surrounding economic opportunity and development.”
Hider said he hopes the City Council sees how passionate he is about the project.
“My brothers and I are very honored for this opportunity, and we are looking forward to developing this landmark that we can all be proud of,” he said. “We intend to move on this project with a sense of urgency.
“We already have a team of professionals lined up to execute this project, and our intention is to collaborate with our neighbors, the city and our contractors to ensure the smooth project execution.”