VOTE: Does Royal Oak need better parking options?

Posted at 5:41 AM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-23 05:41:30-04

Just two weeks before midterms, two contentious millage proposals and continuing parking problems have caused another Royal Oak restaurant to pack up. 

VOTE: Do you think Royal Oak needs better parking options?

The owner of Beirut Palace in downtown Royal Oak confronted the Mayor and city commissioners at a meeting Monday night. 

He told them that their "short sighted" planning is why he's moving his business, and his speech was met with applause during the tension-filled meeting. 

"It's been the actions of this commission, the mayor and the city manager that has resulted in Beirut Palace moving out of Royal Oak to a nearby city so I can support my family," said Sam Ahmad, owner of Beirut Palace.

The 21-year-old business took a 30 percent hit in May, and kept dropping through the summer to more than 50 percent, with customers complaining about having to circle the block to find parking. 

"You've closed most convenient parking," Ahmad said. "Given away more than $6 million to a private developer and promised tax payers the office building would generate $234 million in taxes every year."

However, that advertised revenue wouldn't come in until certain construction projects are complete, and Ahmad could not wait. Beirut Palace was sold to another restaurant investor. 

The Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority responded saying, in part, "We welcome the fresh new concept to downtown. Many businesses continue to see opportunity in Royal Oak… and, Royal Oak remains an attractive town for development, new businesses, and new residents.”