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EuphoricOctopus
Sep 17, 2013, 6:22 AM
Dan Gilbert's Empire Looks Ready For Capitol Park Expansion

Monday, September 16, 2013, by Paul Beshouri

http://detroit.curbed.com/uploads/GilbCapParkCover-thumb.jpeg

Evidence suggests Dan Gilbert is now a player in the downtown Detroit district of Capitol Park, where sources tell us Gilbert recently took control of the Bamlet Building (often called the Capitol Plaza Building). Built in 1897, the Bamlet's broken windows and crumbling facade earned it a spot on a 2012 list of Downtown's most dangerous buildings. You wouldn't know it today. Workers have been spotted installing security cameras, removing debris from the building's interior, clearing the windows of advertisements and graffiti. Also gone: the "For Sale" signs.

Several sources, including Ryan Snoek, a downtown Detroit broker affiliated with the recent sale of the David Stott and Free Press buildings, as well as Josh Greenwood--co-owner of Urban Bean Coffee just across the street from the Bamlet, told Curbed that Gilbert's purchase is relatively well-known. A representative of Exclusive Realty, the building's last-known listing agency, confirmed it was no longer on the market.

...

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/09/the-bamlet-building.php

LMich
Sep 17, 2013, 7:15 AM
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130916/NEWS/130919874/schostak-bros-plans-111-million-16-story-detroit-office-tower

Aerial reference.

http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/3963/byjy.png

Well, if this ain't some stuff! I'm cautiously optimistic. So long as they can keep the big (1,000) parking garage directly off the square (early reports seem to imply something different), this will be great. If they decide to put anything but the entrance of the building on the square, though, I will raise hell. lol There is more than enough room on this site to put the entrance/exists for the parking garage - or even just a wall of the garage - on Farmer, Monroe, or Bates.

As to the height, the undeveloped blocks immediately on the square were always conceived to be more human-scaled the skyscrapers around it, and I like that set-up. I wouldn't want anything much over 20-stories on any of the undeveloped blocks. Things are supposed to "step up" from the square, visually. The square wasn't meant for skyscrapers beyond what was already there. It's supposed to feel more intimate. Legit light/sight-blocking skyscrapers can be built eslewhere in the financial district and beyond.

This is so exciting. The only Campus Martius block left - even though it's not on the square - is the Hudson's Block.

LMich
Sep 17, 2013, 7:58 AM
BTW, to give some background on the Monroe Block, here are some concepts and proposals (actually only the Cadillac Centre was a proposal) from the past:

Cadillac Centre

http://americajr.com/pictures/detroit/cadillac-centre.jpg
Northern Group, Inc. (http://americajr.com/news/cadillaccentre0107.html)

http://www.modeldmedia.com/galleries/Default/Story%20Images/Issue%20126/Cadillac%20Center/CadillacCenter1.jpg
Model D Media (http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/caddy12608.aspx)

Concept

http://atdetroit.net/forum/messages/91697/115917.jpg
AtDetroit.com (http://atdetroit.net/forum/messages/91697/115140.html?1191976708)

What used to be there (1968)

http://grobbel.org/photos/slides/monroe_st_buildings_across_from_kern_block_june1968.jpg
AtDetroit.net (http://atdetroit.net/forum/messages/6790/160395.html?1224199937)

What is there, today, as seen from the same spot, above.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4f/MonroeNearWoodward.jpg/640px-MonroeNearWoodward.jpg
Andrew Jameson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MonroeNearWoodward.jpg)

Never a really tall block (and didn't need to be), so whatever goes here will be taller than what was there before. This could really be huge in terms of filling in the streetwall, again.

animatedmartian
Sep 17, 2013, 9:14 PM
Kresge adding support for development along Woodward.

$30.25 million Kresge, NCB Capital fund will support Woodward Avenue real estate investments
September 17, 2013

By Amy Haimerl

The Kresge Foundation and Arlington, Va.-based NCB Capital Impact announced a new $30.25 million fund to support Detroit real estate projects along Woodward Avenue between downtown and New Center.

With the support of MetLife Inc., PNC Bank, Prudential, Calvert Foundation, Living Cities, and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, it will be funding mixed-use, mixed income, transit-oriented developments.

"By engaging major foundations and commercial lenders, our work will break the traditional mold of community development financing," said Terry Simonette, president and CEO of NCB Capital Impact, about the Woodward Corridor Investment Fund.

Loans will range from $500,000 to $5 million, with priority for those projects that can be started in 2014. The fund will begin accepting applications on Oct. 1 and will make initial approvals by the end of the year.

...

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130917/NEWS/130919865/-30-million-kresge-ncb-capital-fund-will-support-woodward-avenue

Also, in relation to the Monroe Block, building plans are expected to be released this Thursday.

uaarkson
Sep 17, 2013, 11:51 PM
It's really exciting to see the real seeds of regrowth in Detroit. People look at me funny when I tell them that Detroit's long-term outlook is better today than it has been at any point in the last 40 years.

LMich
Sep 18, 2013, 7:24 AM
I like the fund that they are building for Woodward TOD projects. That will be absolutely necessary to unleash the pent-up demand along the corridor. Because the market is so out of whack with the demand, only certain kind of projects and developers have been able to cobble together the financing for large-scale projects. This will make sure more developers are introduced to the market, and it will also mean a more diverse range in the type of products that can be offered. It seems that because of the market, the only thing you can get done in Detroit is either literal government housing or really high-end stuff. We need more stuff in between if we're serious about repopulation and increasing density.

In more mixed news, the Metropolitan Building's day of reckoning is near. I hope they can save it, but if even Gilbert's people are walking away, I'm not so hopeful.

http://cmsimg.detnews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C3&Date=20130917&Category=BIZ&ArtNo=309170091&Ref=AR&MaxW=600&Border=0
Max Ortiz | The Detroit News

City weighs whether to restore or demolish Metropolitan Building (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130917/BIZ/309170091/City-weighs-whether-restore-demolish-Metropolitan-Building?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s)

By Louis Aguilar | The Detroit News

September 17, 2013

Detroit — The city is taking steps to decide whether another big empty downtown building can be restored or should be demolished.

Bids are being accepted for removal of asbestos and hazardous materials in the city-owned Metropolitan Building, a 16-story site that has been tenantless for 36 years. It is at 33 John R between Broadway Street, near the Boll YMCA, and Woodward Avenue. The Gothic Revival building opened in 1925 and became offices for jewelers and watchmakers, according to the website HistoricDetroit.org.

The city has spent tens of thousands to keep it from being a public hazard. Three years ago, the city spent $60,000 to install scaffolding and netting to keep parts of the facade from falling off. About eight years ago, it spent about $25,000 to put plywood in the lower floor windows. Graffiti covers most of the lower exterior.

While the request for proposals that became available this week says “demolition project” in its title, Detroit Economic Growth Corp. officials said it is the first step in determining the building’s fate.

...

The building has been offered to Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures, one of the biggest landowners of downtown properties, but Gilbert’s people have turned down the offer.

“We’ve been in there several times and it is just not — it is in disrepair. Inside, it is so bad,” said Bruce Schwartz, Detroit relocation ambassador for Bedrock Real Estate Services, in an earlier interview with The Detroit News.

But Schwartz said Bedrock would be open to figuring out a way to save the building.

It's a very real possibility that downtown could lose both the Metropolitan and the adjacent Wurlitzer in the near-future, and this woud leave quite a hole in the streetscape, even though this aren't the most prominent locations in downtown.

Rizzo
Sep 18, 2013, 6:05 PM
Hopefully they are spared. They add really great scale and interest to the downtown landscape. Personally I think both buildings are salvageable. They may not be in the best shape, but they have good bones to be superb residential buildings. Me personally, I'd love to have an apartment in the Metropolitan.

animatedmartian
Sep 18, 2013, 6:14 PM
Rendering for the new office tower.

http://img853.imageshack.us/img853/8458/e4xt.jpg
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130918/NEWS/130919855/meridian-health-plan-expected-to-move-into-16-story-detroit-building

animatedmartian
Sep 18, 2013, 6:16 PM
From the same article as the rendering.

Meridian Health Plan expected to move into 16-story Detroit building in 2017
September 18, 2013

By Kirk Pinho

Detroit-based Meridian Health Plan is expected to be the sole office tenant in the 320,000-square-foot new Detroit office tower being proposed by Livonia-based Schostak Bros. & Co.

Sean Cotton, Meridian's general counsel, said the company has signed a letter of intent for a lease of about 300,000 square feet of space in the $111-million, 16-story building under review for $27 million in tax incentives by the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority board.

....

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130918/NEWS/130919855/meridian-health-plan-expected-to-move-into-16-story-detroit-building

Cleveland Brown
Sep 19, 2013, 2:06 AM
Not quite. It only has 41 floors of offices and over the last two to three years it has filled up pretty well. It's occupancy is probably at least 75%. As I understand Quicken Loan folks are on the lower floors, Law firms take up a couple of floors each, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers has taken all of the old Comerica space, plus a ad agency moved in.

As for the new building, hopefully this will finally be the impetus to renovate the vaudeville theater on Monroe.

uaarkson
Sep 19, 2013, 3:07 AM
New office tower can be summed up in three words: better than nothing. The design is painfully 2003.

LMich
Sep 19, 2013, 7:20 AM
I'd never even heard of Meridian Health. This really came out of nowhere.

As for the building, yeah, nothing groundbreaking, architecturally, but it's also better than what could have gone on the block. Schostak isn't exactly known for spending a lot of money on architects. I like the water element at the entrance, the balconies, and even the general massing of the whole thing. It's at least as tall as Compuware, which is a good scale for the square, below.

Lastly, it avoided my only real fear, and that's that the garage would find someway to intrude on the narrow frontage on the square (Detroit often finds a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory), so I don't really have much bad to say about it. And, symbolically, I think this will real provide a shot in the arm for new construction Class A office space, downtown. Everbody's kind of been waiting on the sidelines to see who'd take the first crack at it since the recession, and it looks like that company was Meridian Health. Hopefully, this gets Gilbert a bit more fired up to come up with something better for the Hudson's Block, which will be the next domino to fall.

animatedmartian
Sep 19, 2013, 7:56 AM
The only thing that irks me is that it doesn't seem to line up with Cadillac Tower. It's kinda hard to tell from the rendering, but it looks like there's an odd open triangular space there. I hope they put out some more renderings from other angles.

LMich
Sep 19, 2013, 7:59 AM
Yeah, the building is oriented to Monroe as opposed to Cadillac Square. It really doesn't bother me personally, though. It'll hide the blank face of the Cadillac Tower well enough.

subterranean
Sep 19, 2013, 12:31 PM
I don't mind the rendering. Not spectacular, but not terrible IMO. I kind of like the terrace overlooking the park and what appears to be restaurant/cafeteria seating below. It'd be nice to be an employee there and have the opportunity to come out on lunch and people watch.

animatedmartian
Sep 19, 2013, 7:26 PM
And now we see the parking garage which actually isn't half bad. The greenery and open plaza is a nice touch and I guess it probably goes all the way through to that open area in the first rendering. Overall, this building has kind of exceeded my expectations and isn't as butt-ugly as I thought it might be (I don't even really remember my initial fears, tbh).

http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/3765/sqmr.jpg

Via Curbed: http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/09/the-new-office-towers-rear-end-retail-and-floating-ivy.php

LMich
Sep 20, 2013, 7:44 AM
I'm glad to see the parking not just tucked away, but with ground floor retail. Really, this is coming out better than I thought.

Some more renderings courtesy of Schostak Bros. & Company:

Entrance:

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CD/20130919/NEWS/130919821/V3/0/Meridian-Health-Plan-building-3.jpg&MaxW=900&MaxH=900

Looking east-northeast from the other side of the square:

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CD/20130919/NEWS/130919821/V2/0/Meridian-Health-Plan-building-2-.jpg&MaxW=900&MaxH=900

Still not sure about the ivy screen that spans the complex. It'd be happy just to see the ivy growing out of the garage, but maybe this will be well executed.

animatedmartian
Sep 20, 2013, 9:40 AM
I can genuinely say I'm excited for this building. The more I see of it, the more I come like it. It's good for what it is without being over the top.

mousquet
Sep 22, 2013, 9:41 PM
Yeah, the building is oriented to Monroe as opposed to Cadillac Square. It really doesn't bother me personally, though. It'll hide the blank face of the Cadillac Tower well enough.
I don't get it either. Why wouldn't the new building make an angle to stick to the Cadillac tower, contiguously so that nothing would bother the streetwall? It seems only a little space to fill in. Unless they plan some kind of alley or something there.

animatedmartian
Sep 22, 2013, 11:50 PM
Aerial views of WSU Multidisciplinary Biomedical Research Building aka the former Dalgleish Cadillac Building courtesy of iTVDetroit. Expected to be occupied by Janurary 2015.

pmFHiNHIrSg

LMich
Sep 23, 2013, 7:16 AM
I don't get it either. Why wouldn't the new building make an angle to stick to the Cadillac tower, contiguously so that nothing would bother the streetwall? It seems only a little space to fill in. Unless they plan some kind of alley or something there.

It seems pretty obvious to me, at least, they they want it more oriented to Monroe than Cadillac Square, so as to give the "front" of the building a better view of Campus Martius proper and more natural lighting. If they'd have oriented the park to Cadillac Square, the views would be directly onto that small median and the First National Building across the street.

The square is the nexus of the Campus Martius district. It's just that the Monroe Block is the hardest block to orient to the park because of its very small frontage on the square.

mousquet
Sep 23, 2013, 10:58 AM
I'm trying to figure what you're explaining. It's not that easy cause I've never been there yet.

http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/3963/byjy.png
The lot is no simple rectangle, but that may actually add even more interest to it. Once someone on here said that kind of layouts that's not any usual grid was often proper to design some interesting buildings and appealing fabrics. So what I meant is the main component of the block facing Campus Martius could just follow the outline of the lot, so it would be oriented to everything so to speak, and perfectly line up with the adjacent Cadillac tower. I hope I'm being understandable. That'd be really fine for the streetscape. Then of course, it would be up to the architects to make something convenient and consistent of it. But yes, it would definitely be more complicated, thus more costly. I guess budgets for new buildings in town will have to be reasonable enough for a while yet.

Don't get me wrong, this thing as it is on those few renderings appears quite decent. I'd certainly be glad to have it in my neighborhood, but I don't live such a significant location. You know, people will be demanding in downtown.

EDIT: okay, I got it. I see you mean. But I'm not sensitive enough to views to share your point. Besides, the "First National Building" is no unpleasant view.

LMich
Sep 23, 2013, 12:01 PM
Speaking of orienting the newer buildings to front the square, here is a picture from a story in the Detroit News (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130923/BIZ/309230016/Employers-opt-fun-color-office-design?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE), today, showing that.

From Compuware:

http://multimedia.detroitnews.com/pix/57/05/d9/bb/7f/55/20130916124424_2013-0823-mo-quicken714.jpg
Greg Conley (right), Quicken Loans, banker, and Justin Moss, Quicken Loans, software engineer, play ping pong on the 12th floor at Quicken Loans offices in the Compuware building. (Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)

Looking at the Compuware Building from the outside:

http://multimedia.detroitnews.com/pix/4a/9f/38/fc/94/8b/20130916123733_2013-0823-mo-quicken709.jpg
Umbrellas are seen on a sandy beach at Campus Martuis as the Quicken Loans offices are seen in the Compuware building in Detroit. (Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)

The Meridian Health Plan headquarters will be turned just enough so the balconies will get a fairly good view of the square. Had it been turned to Cadillac Square, it would be showing one of its "sides" to the Campus Martius.

animatedmartian
Sep 23, 2013, 12:11 PM
The thing I thought the could have done was just fill the space between Cadillac Tower and the building so that it'd make an obtuse angle at where ever the building meets the Cadillac Sqaure streetwall. The rest of the building can be square and oriented to Monroe, but just extend it far enough east so that it meets Cadillac Tower. Or at least have a shorter section that fills the gap or something.

Then again, that very well might not be possible due to budget constraints.

LMich
Sep 26, 2013, 7:44 AM
More procedural stuff, but the Schostak Bros. are lining up all kinds of financing and credits and such for this project:

$27 million in tax incentives approved for new Detroit office tower (http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130925/NEWS/130929905/-27-million-in-tax-incentives-approved-for-new-detroit-office-tower)

By Kirk Pinho | Crain's Detroit Business

September 25, 2013

Developers of a proposed $111 million office building in Detroit received approval Wednesday for $27 million in tax incentives.

The board of the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority voted Wednesday afternoon during a meeting at the Guardian Building to approve the incentives for the 320,000-square-foot office building on the Monroe Block, bounded by Monroe, Bates and Farmer streets, Woodward Avenue and Cadillac Square.

The brownfield incentives won’t be awarded until after the building is constructed.

Construction of the development by Livonia-based Schostak Bros. & Co. is expected to begin late next year or in early 2015.

...

In addition to the brownfield incentives, Schostak and Meridian are pursuing Michigan Economic Development Corp. Community Revitalization Program grants and U.S. Department of Treasury New Markets Tax Credits and other incentives to help finance the building.

I do wonder how much of their own money they are going to back this up with? I mean, I know developers front as little money as they absolutely have to, but I do hate seeing funding sources abused under the guise of hardship because they are developing in such an unconvential urban market. $111 million isn't pocket change, but it's also not a staggering amount of money to come up with for a building with a tenant already lined up.

Anyway, just kind of talking out loud.

LMich
Sep 26, 2013, 9:40 AM
What do you guys think this news will be? New construction? Shed renovations? New programs/events or tenants?

http://imgick.mlive.com/home/mlive-media/pgmain/img/detroit/photo/2013/07/-6c6a9b46f8bf53e9.JPG
Tanya Moutzalias | MLive.com

Eastern Market to make 'major' announcement involving 'huge' investment in Detroit (http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2013/09/eastern_market_to_make_major_a.html#incart_more_business)

By Eric Lacy | MLive.com

September 25, 2013

DETROIT, MI - The city's Eastern Market is expected to make an announcement at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 1 that a press release claims is "major" and involves "a huge investment to improve the economy of Detroit and health of its residents."

This press release, from the Eastern Market Corporation, was sent to MLive Detroit on Wednesday afternoon and mentioned that the announcement will take place in Shed 3 of the market.

No other details were provided, but the press release does mention that more information is expected be released "in the coming days."

The market, according to its website, "has been feeding Detroit since 1891" and attracts more than 40,000 people each week. It is also known as a hub for tailgating for Detroit Lions fans.

subterranean
Sep 26, 2013, 2:49 PM
Given the past renovations, coupled with the Dequindre improvements, I'd say the next logical step is to improve the "neighborhood".

animatedmartian
Sep 26, 2013, 5:32 PM
On the one hand, I'm kind of expecting some huge donation or something. Something more symbolic than real.

On the other hand, factoring the Dequindere Cut and other streetscape improvements, they could possibly be doing something along Wilkins street.

I've actually never really thought about how large the Eastern Market corporation might be so I actually have no clue what they're capable of development-wise.

subterranean
Sep 26, 2013, 6:49 PM
Many times, nonprofits such as this are a pass-through for state and federal funds. Often nonprofits will partner with developers if they have no housing development experience.

animatedmartian
Sep 26, 2013, 8:35 PM
I did some research on EM's website and came across their economic plans and guides. It's from 2008 but I suspect not much has changed about the plans since there isn't really any definite timetables. Quite a lovely urban district if any of it comes to fruition.

http://www.detroiteasternmarket.com/media/files/60_district_em_economic_development_strategy.pdf

They do seem to have a goal of adding residential to the area, mostly north and east of Wilkins and the Dequindre Cut.

http://www.detroiteasternmarket.com/media/files/173_link_detroit_townhall_meeting_notes.pdf

^This PDF shows what Russell street improvements will look like as well as what's planned for the second phase for the Dequindre Cut. It also shows what the plans for the streetscape improvements for the Midtown Loop connection.

What's also explained is the reasoning for demolishing the Afred Street bridge of the Cut; it's for when they begin daylighting the Bloody Run Creek (http://issuu.com/dcdc-udm/docs/bloodyrun) and put in a pond there to St. Aubins, whenever that project gets rolling.

There's a few different projects overlapping here and Eastern Market's announcement could be or might not be related to any of it. Either way, pretty cool to see such a comprehensive plan for this area and I hope it all comes into reality.

EuphoricOctopus
Sep 29, 2013, 8:13 AM
Demand up for downtown Detroit office space

September 29, 2013
By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press

Downtown Detroit has a problem few would have guessed just a few years ago, a shortage of quality office space and perhaps even the need for new construction.

The overall vacancy rate has dipped from a high of about 33% in 2010 to around 25% today, a dramatic improvement, said John DeGroot, vice president of research for the real estate firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank in Southfield. Although still far from a gold standard vacancy rate of 10%-to-12% for a healthy big-city downtown, DeGroot said the rate is likely to continue dropping.

http://www.freep.com/article/20130929/BUSINESS06/309290057/Detroit-downtown-Quicken-Gilbert-Schostak-Meridian

mousquet
Sep 29, 2013, 4:11 PM
Somebody named Gilbert should get a boulevard, a plaza or something named after his ass out there, though. I just wish him that happened as late as possible, cause it's always a posthumous distinction.

animatedmartian
Sep 30, 2013, 1:37 PM
Dan Gilbert Is Planning To Tear Down Every Single Abandoned Building In Detroit
https://d2nyfqh3g1stw3.cloudfront.net/photos/article_landing_laneand_ellsmere_8509.jpg

Bill McGraw
September 30th, 2013

Members of President Barack Obama’s cabinet made a whirlwind visit to Detroit Friday, bringing promises of $300 million in federal funds. But top officials from Washington come here all the time, and millions of federal dollars have poured into the city for decades.

Their visit, and all the complicated news it generated, tended to obscure a truly significant bulletin of the day: Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, the rajah of downtown, is getting involved in Detroit’s neighborhoods for the first time. He wants to eliminate blight. All of it.

That’s man-bites-dog kind of news.

It’s extremely rare for a business person at Gilbert’s level in Detroit to take on such a monumental public challenge, especially one whose success can be both quantified and observed.

And it's equally unusual for a big-time Detroit businessperson who is prominent in reviving downtown to move into a high-profile and long-lasting project in the city's neighborhoods.

It was announced Friday that Gilbert, the 51-year-old billionaire who has made national headlines for his work in transforming downtown, is one of three people who will serve on a task force that will try to figure out how to demolish Detroit’s tens of thousands of abandoned buildings. Roy Roberts, the former emergency manager for the Detroit Public Schools, will serve as the executive – or “land czar” – who will lead the effort day-to-day and report to Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency manager.

Gilbert didn’t mince words Friday on the blight task force’s goal: “We have to get it all down,” he told reporters.

...

If Gilbert, Roberts and their team meet with success, it essentially will create a new city, and one that would be ripe for the sustainable metropolis of swales, ponds and green neighborhoods set out earlier this year in the Detroit Future City plan.

Gilbert is no fan of urban farming, though. When he envisions land cleared of blight, he sees developers rushing in to build anew.

At the Techonomy conference, he said:

“When that blight is gone, maybe we don’t have to be talking about shrinking cities because it will be such a rush of people who want to get into low-value housing — when all the utilities are there and the land is pretty much close to free— not exactly free, but close to it — and all the utilities are there, it becomes very cheap for a builder/developer to develop a residential unit, and they are going to develop them and develop them in mass as soon as we get the structures down and maybe we don’t have to worry about raising peas or corn or whatever it is you do in the farm.”

http://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/6587/dan_gilbert_is_planning_to_demolish_every_last_abandoned_building_in_detroit#.Ukl6oNJ82Sp

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the comments are against Gilbert noting the historical value of many vacant properties (which isn't limited to just housing). For some reason, I feel like Gilbert might actually be successful in demolishing a good amount (maybe in a limited neighborhood) though I do fear the consequences of a city being redeveloped by one businessman.

LMich
Oct 1, 2013, 7:21 AM
I'm kind of worried about this all-encompassing war on "blight." Blight is an incredibly amorphous term, and beyond that, it's a symptom and not the disease. I also don't like the private sector completely usurping the pubic process. Sure, it needs to be streamlined, and truly blighted properties with no hope needs to be brought down quicker, but I don't want to turn out a slow-moving bureaucracy for private-sector dictatorship. The city government through much experimentation and with the help of the private sector have gotten the cost of demolition down, so things are moving in the right directions. There is no need, then, to turn over the keys to one billionair and put him in the driver's seat. I know these guys think they are the titans of the universe, and that's probably why they should be encouraged to help, but also encourage to stay in their lane.

I've already said it, but Gilbert is beginning to spread himself incredibly thin (office buildings, casinos, retail/entertainment, etc...). Even if that's not the case, and he can handle all of these balls in the air, I'm not sure I want his fingers in every pie. There are other organizations and people doing the lord's work in many of these neighborhoods who don't need to be frozen out of the decision-making process or pushed to the side. Detroit doesn't need a savior, it needs a community. Gilbert can be a big part of building community, but he shouldn't, nor can he be, a community onto himself.

LMich
Oct 1, 2013, 9:01 AM
I was just reading through the RFP for the streetcar vehicles by M-1 Rail that was put out on September 20th. Proposals are due back October 21st, a provider is picked on October 28st, negotions with the provider start on the 31st, and contract has to be inked between M-1 and the provider no later than December 1st. So, things are chugging along.

Another thing to note in the proposal is that they are calling for vehicles that have the capability of off-wire functioning. M-1 wants at least three off-wire segements along the line. This should reduce cluttter near a few of the stations, and get the streetcar through underpasses in bridges.

In other news, some goings-on around the arena site. I really do wonder how much of the area will be leveled and how much will be repurposed? It's my hope that they infill as much as possible as opposed to old fashioned "renewal."

Hotel near arena site sold to mystery buyer (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130930/BIZ/309300115/Hotel-near-arena-site-sold-mystery-buyer?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s)

By Louis Aguilar | The Detroit News

September 30, 2013

The Temple Hotel, probably the last of pay-by-the hour hotels in Detroit’s Cass Corridor, has been sold in yet another mystery acquisition in the low-income neighborhood that’s likely to be recast as a $650 million entertainment district.

Who bought the Temple Hotel and how much was paid for the four-story building at 72 Temple St. is unknown. The asking price was $3.7 million, which is about $3.6 million more than any other publicly listed sale made on the block between Woodward and Cass avenues. Several blighted buildings have been sold on the block, however their selling prices have not been made public.

The former hotel is now across the street from the planned $450 million multipurpose arena that will be the new home of the Detroit Red Wings.

The building started to be boarded up at least two months ago and last week the small hotel was completely shuttered, said Cass Corridor resident Richard Etue, who lives around the corner.

It was down to just a few drug addicts and prostitutes in the hotel, Etue said.

The sale has yet to be publicly recorded. When it is, the new owner will likely go through the steps to hide their identity, according to a person familiar with the sale.

...

The North One
Oct 1, 2013, 6:54 PM
I think I saw a new development going up in Birmingham right on Woodward, It seemed pretty large does anyone have any information about that?

animatedmartian
Oct 1, 2013, 7:13 PM
I think I saw a new development going up in Birmingham right on Woodward, It seemed pretty large does anyone have any information about that?

5-story downtown Birmingham project gets $3.2 million state loan
By Chris Gautz
September 25

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CD/20130925/NEWS/130929906/AR/0/AR-130929906.jpg&MaxW=620&v=201307121405

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved a $3.2 million performance-based loan Wednesday to aid in construction of a five-story mixed-use structure in downtown Birmingham.

The 88,000-square-foot building will be known as the Balmoral, and will be built on a vacant site at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Brown Street. It will include underground parking and drive-through space on the ground level for a bank or pharmacy. Commercial office space will dominate floors two through four, but there will also be a small amount of residential space. The fifth floor will be residential units along with exterior patio space.

Woodward Brown Associates LLC, owned by Harvey Weiss and Najib Samona, are the developers of the project. The company purchased the land from Bank of America in April 2010 for $2.5 million, according to a memo on the project. Total capital investment is expected to be more than $27 million.

The location has been vacant since 2005, when a strip mall that sat there was demolished, according to the memo.

The company secured a fully executed lease with a retail tenant on the main floor and has three letters of intent from other companies to locate in the structure, according to the memo.

The construction is set to begin this fall or next spring and will take about 18 months to complete, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130925/NEWS/130929906/5-story-downtown-birmingham-project-gets-3-2-million-state-loan#

animatedmartian
Oct 1, 2013, 7:31 PM
In other news, some goings-on around the arena site. I really do wonder how much of the area will be leveled and how much will be repurposed? It's my hope that they infill as much as possible as opposed to old fashioned "renewal."

Mystery buyer no more, but what a surprise, it's not Illitch.

Cass Corridor flophouse sold to DTE for rumored millions
By JC Reindl
Detroit Free Press Business Writer
October 1, 2013

http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20131001&Category=BUSINESS06&ArtNo=310010071&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Cass-Corridor-flophouse-sold-DTE-rumored-millions

DTE and the hotel owner declined to reveal the price but the run-down building and quarter-acre property was listed for $3.7 million. The hotel owner said his accountant described it “like maybe we hit the lottery.”

DTE Energy spokesman Scott Simons confirmed to the Free Press that the utility closed a deal Sept. 20 to buy the Temple Hotel. The property was last appraised at $81,352.

Simons said DTE owns an electrical substation next to the property and bought the hotel site “for possible infrastructure improvement.” Regarding the future of the hotel itself, the spokesman said, “I would imagine it would have to be razed.”



Some definitive good news.

Crumbling Wurlitzer Building finds a buyer, heads for renovation
LOUIS AGUILAR THE DETROIT NEWS
OCTOBER 1, 2013

http://cmsimg.detnews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C3&Date=20131001&Category=BIZ03&ArtNo=310010096&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Crumbling-Wurlitzer-Building-finds-buyer-heads-renovation

Detroit — The Wurlitzer Building, a downtown building labeled “dangerous” by a judge two years ago, is under contract to a developer who intends to renovate the crumbling historical structure.

The 14-story building at 1509 Broadway, across the street from the Detroit Opera House, has been sold to an unidentified “Israeli developer with major plans,” said Michael Muller, a lawyer for the city of Detroit. The city has pursued the current owner over the building in Wayne County Circuit Court since 2011. That was the year a 40-pound chunk of terracotta fell from the Wurlitzer’s exterior and crashed through the roof of a neighboring building.

“We’re clearing the way for (the sale),” Muller said, so the deal can go through without any outstanding issues from the court case. “It should close in 30 days,” Muller said. The building is owned by 1509 Broadway LLC, whose managing member is attorney Paul Curtis.

The real estate broker working on the deal also confirmed the pending sale but could not disclose the price or the identity of the buyer. “The city has been working with us to complete a sale of the property to a developer that will completely renovate the property,” said Jerome Eagger, principal of Detroit-based Summit Commercial LLC, in an email.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131001/BIZ03/310010096#ixzz2gV4nue77

And still among other news. Busy day today. This story will likely get the biggest hoopla.

Snyder finalizes Belle Isle deal with Detroit
Christine Ferretti, Chad Livengood and Darren A. Nichols
The Detroit News
OCTOBER 1, 2013

Detroit — Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration on Tuesday finalized a deal to lease Belle Isle from the city of Detroit for 30 years and convert the island into a state park.

Snyder and the directors of the state transportation and natural resources departments cemented the deal Tuesday with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said.

Under the deal, Detroit will not receive any direct monetary payment for the lease, but the state’s takeover of Belle Isle is expected to save the cash-strapped city $4 million to $6 million annually, Wurfel said.

The Department of Natural Resources plans to apply for grants to spend $10 million to $20 million in improvements for the island park’s aging infrastructure and facilities, Wurfel said.

City Council members first announced the lease Tuesday morning during the council’s session.

....

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131001/METRO01/310010072#ixzz2gV5Iww00

animatedmartian
Oct 1, 2013, 8:59 PM
State Fairgrounds sale to Magic Johnson could be approved Wednesday
October 1, 2013
By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press Business Writer

Hall of Fame basketball star Earvin (Magic) Johnson, along with a team of developers, may get permission Wednesday afternoon to buy the idle 157-acre Michigan State Fairgrounds site in Detroit for a development that includes a movie theater and big-box retail.

The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority could vote Wednesday to sell the site for $4.65 million for what would be among the largest recent development projects in terms of acreage in the city.

The development would be several times the size of the nearby Meijer in the Gateway Supercenter shopping plaza at 8 Mile and Woodward.

The development team, Magic Plus, said it will retain a few of the historic fairgrounds buildings but demolish others. The plan, in the works for months, has drawn criticism from some who object to a large big-box retail development.

Michael Myckowiak, a Detroit lawyer involved with development and historic preservation issues, criticized the proposal for being auto-dependent and not tying into plans for new public transit along Woodward Avenue.

“There have been a number of large-parcel redevelopment projects around the country that have focused on transit-oriented design and come up with creative neighborhoods that have really added to the quality of life and ... here we’re settling for asphalt and big box,” he said Monday.

....

http://www.freep.com/article/20131001/NEWS01/310010099/Magic-Johnson-State-Fairgrounds-Detroit

LMich
Oct 2, 2013, 7:14 AM
Sounds like DTE is going to bring down the Temple Hotel.

I'm really excited about the Wurlitzer news. It was really looking like a goner. I hope that this piques the ears and eyes of the city that the Metropolitan can be saved as opposed to demolished. Given that it's on a triangular lot, it would be hard to make work for parking and difficult to make an economical reuse of the site for, so I hope they see that in the long run it'd be good to reuse the actual building.

Disappointed about the fair grounds, though. The concepts I've seen show it more urban-minded than Gateway, but still far too auto-oriented. But, Magic's the one with the money, and you have to pay the costs to be the boss.

The North One
Oct 2, 2013, 2:05 PM
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CD/20130925/NEWS/130929906/AR/0/AR-130929906.jpg&MaxW=620&v=201307121405

Thanks! Omg yes! This looks so good! We got some real nice mid-rise density starting to go on!

subterranean
Oct 2, 2013, 4:29 PM
If I remember correctly from my FBCI trainings, when the Palladium 12 was about to go in, the development negotiations included requests for an English roof treatment, playing off the name "Birmingham". I believe what they were asking for was a non-flat roof, perhaps Georgian in style. What came back was decidedly not English. They had placed a mansard roof on top of the thing. I don't know if was formalized in code, but I find it hilarious that most of the new buildings in Birmingham have mansard roofs.

animatedmartian
Oct 2, 2013, 4:40 PM
Birmingham has been building pretty nice midrises for the last few years actually. All of it is apart of a 2016 plan (http://www.a2gov.org/a2d2/designguidelines/Documents/Seminar3Birmingham.pdf) devised in 1996 to give Downtown Birmingham a more traditional urban look. However, the city does have a height limit of only 4 floors plus the attic and there's some very strict architectural guidelines to give the area a traditional look. So don't expect any highrises anytime soon (not that it's really needed in Bham since Troy is down the street).

Of course like everything else, most developments were slow to reach construction due to the economy but quite a few have been built so far and I think there's just a few more waiting in the pipeline.

I actually quite like the way the planning has come out and think it's worked well for the little city.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7250/7018344897_f2ae5357e1_b.jpg

The North One
Oct 2, 2013, 4:50 PM
I love the mansard roofs, it reminds me of Paris.

I don't get why its funny.

Also, going with mid-rises as apposed to high-rises was probably a good idea, we need more walkable surface area rather than height right now.

subterranean
Oct 2, 2013, 4:59 PM
I like the roofs, too. It's funny because the city was asking for something English and it came back French.

The North One
Oct 2, 2013, 8:06 PM
I read the 2016 plan and it seems a bit extreme, I mean they want everything to be neo-traditional or bust. They have some kind of vendetta against modern glass buildings. A nice modern glass midrise wouldn't ruin the "continuity of the urban fabric" at all, just because there's a different architectural style doesn't mean it cant fit in. At least they're trying to make it as pedestrian friendly as possible.

@subterranean-it seems more appropriate considering the French history of the area, so I like it better than an English style. But yeah that is ironic.

Rizzo
Oct 2, 2013, 10:52 PM
I like the roofs, too. It's funny because the city was asking for something English and it came back French.

Well, it's not actually a mansard as there's no double pitch. Plus the base of a true mansard would emerge from a cornice. In this case, it's a tall parapet. It's actually got more english gothic flare to the rooftop than French.

The balconets however...very French.

LMich
Oct 3, 2013, 7:18 AM
I read the 2016 plan and it seems a bit extreme, I mean they want everything to be neo-traditional or bust. They have some kind of vendetta against modern glass buildings. A nice modern glass midrise wouldn't ruin the "continuity of the urban fabric" at all, just because there's a different architectural style doesn't mean it cant fit in. At least they're trying to make it as pedestrian friendly as possible.

It was already kind of mentioned, but Birmingham is physically pretty tiny, and Troy is literally next door with Royal Oak - and its modernish residential mid-rises - down the road. There is more than enough space outside of Birmingham to build modern stuff. So, I'm not going to complain that the town is focusing more on its curb appeal than some vanity tower. I like what's going on on the greater Woodward corridor in the metro area.

animatedmartian
Oct 3, 2013, 1:52 PM
This was the announcement that was made at Eastern Market a few days ago.

State announces $100,000 in grants for 30 small, Detroit-area food ventures

David Muller
October 01, 2013

DETROIT, MI - The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Charter One announced Tuesday $100,000 in grants for Detroit-area small food businesses and urban farmers.

The grants, ranging from $500 for signage at SeedsGROW Market Garden in Detroit to $5,000 for a walk-in cooler at Give and Grow Mushrooms in Clinton Township, are going toward three main purchases: land, equipment and signage and displays.

Ken Marblestone, president of Charter One and RBS Citizens in Michigan and Ohio, said that Detroit's small, independent food scene still has "room to grow." Of the grant money, he said, "We know it's not going to solve all Detroit's problems, but it is going to help us move forward."

...


http://www.mlive.com/business/detroit/index.ssf/2013/10/state_announces_100000_in_gran.html

LMich
Oct 4, 2013, 7:10 AM
This was the announcement that was made at Eastern Market a few days ago.

http://www.mlive.com/business/detroit/index.ssf/2013/10/state_announces_100000_in_gran.html

Looks like the local media really oversold this before it was announced, huh? I mean, this isn't bad news, but it's certainly not a "major announcement," either. But, hey, the MEDC and Charter One got the photo-op they wanted, and that's all that was important. lol

LMich
Oct 8, 2013, 11:52 AM
Looks like the Woodward Avenue Streetcar is steadily moving ahead with its bids. Parsons Brinckerhoff has been chosen for design review and project quality control. M-1 is still shooting for an October construction start, believe it or not.

From Metro Magazine:

http://www.metro-magazine.com/images/news/M-PBDetroit-M-1RailOct32013-1.jpg
Rendering courtesy Parsons Brinckerhoff

PB wins Detroit streetcar contract (http://www.metro-magazine.com/news/story/2013/10/pb-wins-detroit-streetcar-contract.aspx)

October 3, 2013

The City of Detroit awarded a contract to Parsons Brinckerhoff for design review and construction quality assurance services for the Woodward Avenue Streetcar Project.

The 3.2-mile-long streetcar line is being designed and built by M-1 Rail, a consortium of businesses, institutions, and foundations, in partnership with the City of Detroit and the Michigan Department of Transportation. The route will run along Woodward Avenue from the city’s downtown, through midtown, to the New Center area, and includes 11 stations with connections to Amtrak and the Detroit People Mover.

Under its contract, Parsons Brinckerhoff is assisting the City of Detroit with reviews of the project’s design plans, criteria manual, and specifications. The firm will also act as the city’s representative for quality assurance during construction of the project.

The Woodward Avenue Streetcar Project is funded from foundation, corporate, institutional, and Detroit Development Authority sources, along with a $25 million federal grant.

Parsons Brinckerhoff conducted a supplemental environmental assessment for the project, which received an amended record of decision in April. Construction is expected to start in mid-October 2013 with completion slated for the fall 2015.

BTW, M-1's website has finally been updated:

http://m-1rail.com/

Busy Bee
Oct 8, 2013, 1:49 PM
I haven't really followed the whole M-1 saga very closely, but could someone tell me how why they went from median running to curbside? I thought the original median plan seemed better.

subterranean
Oct 8, 2013, 2:07 PM
I haven't really followed the whole M-1 saga very closely, but could someone tell me how why they went from median running to curbside? I thought the original median plan seemed better.

It is my understanding that the 'compromise' was to run curbside for the majority of the 3.3 miles, and running down the center in downtown and New Center. The private funders were pretty adamant about a curbside system, probably because of the stadia.

hudkina
Oct 8, 2013, 7:22 PM
South of Grand Blvd it runs along the curb. North of Grand Blvd it will likely switch to a center-running system.

LMich
Oct 9, 2013, 7:22 AM
It runs in the center at each end, but that's literally for only a few blocks, and only then to allow it to turn around since this is a circulator.

It went from center running the minute Bing pulled the city out of the project. The City of Detroit had always wanted this center-running, and the private entities that were to fund a lot of this wanted curb-running. Dan Gilbert in particular was adament about curb-running. Well, he finally got his way when Bing pulled the city out of the project and the private entities resurrected what was to be a light-rail line as a shortened streetcar line. It wasn't so much the result of a compromise, as it was one partner abandoning the project. Near the end of the Woodward LRT process before it was cancelled, there was something of a compromise, but the city had won more of what they wanted. Within the downtown (south of Adams), the line would have functioned as a side-running streetcar, but the line north of Adams running to 8 Mile would have been a center-running LRT.

BTW, bids come back for the streetcar vehicles very soon, so we'll get to see who they chose. My post from Skyscrapercity back on the first of the process:

Just an update on the Woodward Avenue streetcar line/M-1 Rail since the media hasn't gotten this out there, yet. An RFP for the streetcar vehicles was put out on the 20th. Proposals are due back October 21st, a provider is picked on October 28st, negotions with the provider start on the 31st, and contract has to be inked between M-1 and the provider no later than December 1st. So, things are chugging along.

Another thing to note in the proposal is that they are calling for vehicles that have the capability of off-wire functioning. M-1 wants at least three off-wire segements along the line. This should reduce cluttter near a few of the stations, and get the streetcar through underpasses and bridges.

animatedmartian
Oct 9, 2013, 10:20 AM
Fed's blight fighters to get started in Detroit
OCTOBER 9, 2013
MICHAEL MARTINEZ THE DETROIT NEWS

http://cmsimg.detnews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C3&Date=20131009&Category=BIZ&ArtNo=310090023&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Fed-s-blight-fighters-get-started-Detroit
Several organizations expressed hope that the task force will work with them throughout the blight removal process and learn about what has been successful and what hasn't.

A federally appointed task force that includes Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert will meet for the first time today to figure out how to deal with Detroit’s 78,000 abandoned structures.

The blight task force’s inaugural meeting likely will be organizational, as the three members decide how frequently to meet, whether meetings should be open to the public and what should be done about the thousands of abandoned commercial and residential buildings throughout the city’s 139 square miles.

Detroit’s expansive blight problem was cited in Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s report to the state about the city’s fiscal woes in May; he later declared a blight emergency. The city has targeted blight over the years but has lacked funding for a grand-scale effort. Community groups and business leaders frequently have stepped up to raze buildings and clean up neighborhoods.

Like the city’s bankruptcy filing — aimed at getting municipal operations on solid financial ground — a plan to eliminate structural eyesores is seen as helping Detroit set the stage to stabilize neighborhoods and help with the city’s turnaround.

“We have to give consideration to what can be rehabbed, what can be saved, where the stable parts of the city are and what the environmental impacts are,” said Glenda Price, president of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, who was named to the panel by the Obama administration last month.

....

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131009/BIZ/310090023#ixzz2hDbchoqy

animatedmartian
Oct 9, 2013, 1:38 PM
Bill Pulte offers his solution to blight control via Forbes.

BuBwuAMKhXw

LMich
Oct 10, 2013, 11:47 AM
Speaking of blight, here is the rather detailed City of Detroit's interactive demolition map (http://www.detroitmi.gov/DepartmentsandAgencies/BuildingsSafetyEngineeringEnvironmental/Divisions/DemolitionDivision/DemolitionMap.aspx) showing demolitions approved, in progress, and completed. It includes all classes of buildings, not just single-family homes. Basically, the entire map is lit up. lol No, but seriously, there are a few dots downtown that are worrisome. And something that stuck out is that immediately outside greater downtown, it looks like they are just leveling the North End.

animatedmartian
Oct 10, 2013, 12:47 PM
That map shows approvals of the last 5 years so I'm guessing those buildings might have been approved at one time but action wasn't taken or whatever.

That highlighted building on Randolph and Monroe is Buffalo Wild Wings so obviously it was never demo'd and doesn't seem to face demolition anytime soon. Seems like they don't update the map to reflect that.

But yea, it's crazy to see where the concentration of demolitions are. I'm surprised to see Warrendale with a concentration of dots since I thought that area was pretty stable for a while.

LMich
Oct 10, 2013, 1:06 PM
Well, that's kind of the problem of this mass demolition. When an area gets sparse, then another area empties out, so that's where the bulldozers move next. Notice how few demolitions you have directly east and west of Midtown and downtown; it's either because you've hit a stable neighborhood (Lafayette Park), or because there is basically nothing left (Briggs/North Corktown) and the people who are left are the ones sticking it out.

animatedmartian
Oct 11, 2013, 8:51 PM
First look at The Z: It's not your typical Detroit parking deck
By Kristin Bull
October 11, 2013

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CD/20131011/NEWS/131019961/AR/0/AR-131019961.jpg&MaxW=620&v=201310071326

http://imageshack.com/scaled/800x600/29/6noe.jpg

http://imageshack.com/scaled/800x600/197/nh27.jpg

When is a parking garage a destination?

When it is an art gallery, too.

A 10-story parking garage soon to open in Detroit's central business district will blend 1,300 parking spots with the work of 27 mural artists from across the globe.

Called The Z (because it zigzags the corners of Broadway and East Grand River, and Library and Gratiot), the garage is a collaboration between Bedrock Real Estate Services and Library Street Collective, a fine art gallery connected to the garage. The parking garage will open in December.

The Z is a 500,000-square-foot project, which includes 34,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space that will start to fill in the spring, said Dan Mullen, Bedrock's vice president of development. Tenants have not been determined, he said.

Mullen, along with Matthew Eaton, a partner at Library Street Collective, gave members of the media a sneak peak at the artwork on Friday.

They said the 130-foot-wide murals inside the garage were meant to turn the parking garage into a Detroit destination. The artwork is diverse: In a mural inspired by a lazy day in the tropics, a giraffe takes a nap in a windowsill; in a mural meant to symbolize Detroit's rebirth, a tiger chases a baseball.

"This is about different experiences you can't get anywhere else," Mullen said. "We really wanted to blow people away."

Southfield-based Neumann/Smith Architecture is architect on the parking project, and Rich & Associates Inc. in Southfield is consulting on the structure's design. Colasanti Construction Services Inc./Sachse Construction, a joint venture of Detroit-based Colasanti and Birmingham-based Sachse, are the construction managers.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20131011/NEWS/131019961/first-look-at-the-z-its-not-your-typical-detroit-parking-deck#

Not so sure that it's a 'destination' per se, but quite nice that there's something other than blank white walls.

hudkina
Oct 13, 2013, 8:06 PM
It's sort of like the artwork in each of the people mover stations. Though this is obviously more vivid and modern. I'd like to see this happen in other garages around town.

subterranean
Oct 14, 2013, 12:22 PM
Those murals are really beautifully done.

mousquet
Oct 14, 2013, 6:52 PM
Those murals are really beautifully done.
They are. Dig the colorful childish graphical style.

Rizzo
Oct 15, 2013, 2:01 AM
I really like the city's embrace with public art. There's needs to be a lot more of this. Alot of great talent in the city.

LMich
Oct 16, 2013, 7:12 AM
Gilbertown continues it's growth:

http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20131015&Category=BUSINESS06&ArtNo=310150113&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Dan-Gilbert-adds-2-buildings-his-growing-holdings-downtown-Detroit
Kathleen Galligan | Detroit Free Press

1265 Griswold - Bamlet Building

Dan Gilbert adds 2 buildings to his growing holdings in downtown Detroit (http://www.freep.com/article/20131015/BUSINESS06/310150113/Gilbert-Bedrock-downtown)

By John Gallagher | Detroit Free Press

October 15, 2013

Billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures and its real estate arm, Bedrock Real Estate Services, have purchased two more properties, bringing its total holdings in downtown Detroit to more than 40 properties owned or controlled by Gilbert’s network.

The latest purchases are at 1505 Woodward and 1265 Griswold, adding 84,000 square feet to its growing real estate holdings. Gilbert now has a total of about 8 million square feet of commercial and parking space downtown.

...

Both of the new purchases are vacant. The buildings will be converted to mixed use.

The 1505 Woodward building is on the northwest corner of Woodward and Clifford Street. The eight-story, 48,000-square-foot structure was designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn and built in 1931. Its original tenant was the Richman Brothers clothing store.

The 1265 Griswold building, at the southwest corner of Griswold Street and Grand River Avenue, borders Capitol Park. The 36,000-square-foot, six-story structure was originally the Bamlet Building and was built in 1897 by architectural firm Spier & Rohns.

Bedrock will oversee renovations, management and leasing of the two structures.

...

http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20131015&Category=BUSINESS06&ArtNo=310150113&Ref=V1&MaxW=600&Border=0
Kathleen Galligan | Detroit Free Press

1505 Woodward - Richman Bros. Building

I wonder how Karp & Associates is coming along on the Farwell Building next door to the Bamlet? Haven't heard much about it. BTW, was the Bamlet the last building on Capitol Park that didn't have any plans for it? This might complete the puzzle on the square.

LMich
Oct 16, 2013, 7:24 AM
Also in Gilbertown, a more mixed plan for an aquisition:

http://cmsimg.detnews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C3&Date=20131015&Category=BIZ&ArtNo=310150030&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Gilbert-talks-city-buy-half-block-theater
David Coates | The Detroit News

Gilbert in talks with city to buy half block, theater (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131015/BIZ/310150030)

By Louis Aguilar | The Detroit News

October 15, 2013

Detroit —Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures, which controls almost 8 million square feet of space downtown, is in talks with the city to buy another half a block, including a long-empty historic theater that would be at least partially demolished, according to court documents.

The historic building is the National Theatre — said to be the last surviving theater designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn. Talks are ongoing and no deal has been sealed.

Eric Larson, managing partner of Bedrock Real Estate Services, said Monday in an email: “We have had conversations with the city about the National Theatre and are exploring options to preserve the architectural history and legacy it represents.” Bedrock manages the real estate holdings for Rock Ventures.

...

The deals were discussed in email exchanges that took place between a Rock Ventures vice-president, Deb Dansby, and the city’s director of planning and development, Rob Anderson.

One proposal is the sale of a huge former parking garage known as the Bates garage. It wraps around Monroe and Randolph. The shuttered garage is owned by the city's Downtown Development Authority, and is in the process of being razed.

Rock Ventures also wants to buy the National Theatre at 100 Monroe. The building is the last survivor of Detroit’s first theater district, and the last theater known still standing to have been designed by Kahn, according to the website HistoricDetroit.org.

...

The exchanges also seem to indicate the city is hoping Rock Ventures would keep at least the facade of the National. The city official wrote this: “Facade retained in place with reasonable effort not classic standards. Plastic replacement pieces, OK, just retain character in place.”

...

I mean, I get that the city is just desperate to unload the building, so they want to put as few demands on the potential buyer as possible. But, man, they don't have to sound that desperate. lol I can see the rest of the email, right now...

"Yeah, you can just fill in the facade with some painted-over lego blocks, Dan. No big whoop, dude. Hell, you can reconstruct the missing parts with styrofoam for all we care."

subterranean
Oct 16, 2013, 12:21 PM
A lego facade may be kind of cool. Just sayin'.

LMich
Oct 16, 2013, 1:45 PM
Well, for whatever negative spin I put on that story, to be honest, I'm just happy that they are talking of saving any of it. A decade ago, they'd have demolished this thing in the dead of the night after an hour of discussion.

Truth be told, Dan has been really good when it comes to re-use of existing structures. Albeit, a lot of this has to do with the fact that he's incredibly careful about what Bedrock buys. He doesn't buy junk and stuff he knows he's going to have to demolish, or sitting on stuff to sepculate. And, maybe it's because of a lot of the truly rotted stuff has long sense been brought down. But, fortunately, Gilbert isn't the kind of guy who's going to knock down some treasure for a surface lot, either, so there is that, and I give him credit for that.

subterranean
Oct 16, 2013, 2:46 PM
I've got to say, despite me being a little fearful of one company owning so many properties, he has done a decent job with the properties. And I have to imagine that after a few years of his buying spree, and the transformations that have/will occur, that a lot of other folks will jump on board. Downtown and Midtown are just looking so good, it's impossible to ignore in the development community. I know it's a long way off, but I can't wait to see more new infill next to some of these historic beauts.

DKNewYork
Oct 16, 2013, 3:28 PM
I mean, I get that the city is just desperate to unload the building, so they want to put as few demands on the potential buyer as possible. But, man, they don't have to sound that desperate. lol I can see the rest of the email, right now...

"Yeah, you can just fill in the facade with some painted-over lego blocks, Dan. No big whoop, dude. Hell, you can reconstruct the missing parts with styrofoam for all we care."

First time poster on this thread (usually on Pittsburgh and New York pages) with a question: I am thrilled with the amount of development occurring in downtown Detroit---much of it due to Dan Gilbert---but is there now enough of a critical mass downtown that perhaps the National Theatre should be preserved as a theatre? Seems like there are many more people downtown during the day and maybe the city is at the point (or approaching the point) that it can look toward adding cultural aspects to the downtown revival.

My in-laws live in Southfield and I get there once a year but have no sense if there is enough activity downtown to support a renovation of the theatre, or if there is even an organization that could put the building to use.

Any input would be appreciated. And good luck going forward.

subterranean
Oct 16, 2013, 4:47 PM
At risk of sounding like a Pure Michigan ad, Detroit's theater circuit has been hailed as second only to Broadway. I think some folks might be surprised at the variety and number of arts and culture venues/opportunities in Detroit. Despite the population decline in the city, it's still the cultural hub of a region of over 5 million people and draws from a state with over 10 million and some folks from Ontario. I have no doubt in my mind that the market could absorb another venue. However, the interior of the National Theatre is in pretty rough shape. It would take an incredible investment to bring it back. But who knows.

http://www.degc.org/arts-culture.aspx
http://historicdetroit.org/building/national-theatre/

DKNewYork
Oct 16, 2013, 6:09 PM
At risk of sounding like a Pure Michigan ad, Detroit's theater circuit has been hailed as second only to Broadway. I think some folks might be surprised at the variety and number of arts and culture venues/opportunities in Detroit. Despite the population decline in the city, it's still the cultural hub of a region of over 5 million people and draws from a state with over 10 million and some folks from Ontario. I have no doubt in my mind that the market could absorb another venue. However, the interior of the National Theatre is in pretty rough shape. It would take an incredible investment to bring it back. But who knows.

http://www.degc.org/arts-culture.aspx
http://historicdetroit.org/building/national-theatre/

Thanks. I appreciate the feedback as well as the introduction to the Historic Detroit web site. Bummer that the interior of the National is in bad shape. Still, maybe it can be saved. I am very familiar with the development of downtown Pittsburgh over the past 30 years and cultural venues, primarily performing arts spaces, have played and continue to play a large part in its success. Not across the board---some of these venues have not attracted an audience, which means that they are struggling financially and offering no tangible benefit to Pittsburgh's downtown. But for the most part the strategy has paid off beautifully. I hope Mr. Gilbert realizes that once the people are downtown for work, they need things to do. It would be great to see this theatre brought back.

Off topic a bit: I am fascinated by the discussion surrounding the DIA and its relation to the city's bankruptcy. Astounding to think that the collection could possibly be sold to repay creditors. I am midway through a really interesting socio-economic history of the DIA, A Museum on the Verge, written by a Wayne State art professor named Abt. It explains how the museum got to this position. It is proving to be a great read.

hudkina
Oct 16, 2013, 7:03 PM
Keep in mind that Detroit has a ton of tbeatres already. The Fox theatre is one of the largest in the world. There's also the opera house, orchestra hall, Fisher theatre, music hall, Fillmore, gem theatre, city theatre, bonstelle, hillberry and more.

DKNewYork
Oct 16, 2013, 7:38 PM
Keep in mind that Detroit has a ton of tbeatres already. The Fox theatre is one of the largest in the world. There's also the opera house, orchestra hall, Fisher theatre, music hall, Fillmore, gem theatre, city theatre, bonstelle, hillberry and more.

I know where the Fox and Fisher Theatres are located. Are the others you list downtown? Sorry but I don't know downtown Detroit that well.

animatedmartian
Oct 16, 2013, 9:52 PM
A lot of them are less than a mile from each other. I think it's interesting Detroit never really had a 'theater district' per se, but more or less theaters spread out across town. Though a majority of them are located in Downtown and Midtown.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performing_arts_in_Detroit

animatedmartian
Oct 16, 2013, 9:57 PM
http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20131016&Category=BUSINESS06&ArtNo=310160159&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Chinese-firm-buys-old-Free-Press-David-Stott-buildings
Chinese firm buys old Free Press, David Stott buildings
By JC Reindl
October 16, 2013

A Chinese firm has bought the old Detroit Free Press and David Stott buildings in downtown Detroit and has plans for a $50 million residential and commercial redevelopment of the former newspaper headquarters.

Shanghai-based DDI Group was the highest bidder for both buildings in back-to-back online auctions last month, said said Ryan Snoek, a regional manager for Luke Investments, the buildings’ previous owner.
The DDI Group paid about $9.4 million for the David Stott, 1150 Griswold, and about $4.2 million for the old Free Press Building at 321 W. Lafayette, said Snoek, noting the final prices included a 5% buyers premium.

“They actually beat out Dan Gilbert for the David Stott,” Snoek said this afternoon. “Dan Gilbert was the other bidder.”

Snoek said DDI has bought U.S. real estate before, although this was their first Michigan purchase. DDI officials were astounded by the opportunity in Detroit to buy a skyscraper for under $10 million.
DDI is planning a $40 million to $50 million redevelopment of the Free Press building that would include ground-floor retail and roughly 150 units of rental apartments, according to Snoek. Work is slated to begin early next year and finish by late 2015 or 2016, he said.

DDI Group is considering future residential development in the 38-story David Stott building.

http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20131016&Category=BUSINESS06&ArtNo=310160159&Ref=V2&MaxW=300&Border=0&Chinese-buy-Free-Press-Building-David-Stott-Building

http://www.freep.com/article/20131016/BUSINESS06/310160159/Chinese-buy-Free-Press-Building-David-Stott-Building

LMich
Oct 17, 2013, 7:14 AM
So happy the Free Press Building is being saved. They've been trying to get this building saved, forever. Schemes have been proposed before for residential reuse, but it was always said it was a hard one to go residential. We'll see if this works.

As for the National, there are more than enough old theaters in the greater downtown area that the National doesn't need to be reused as a theater. Of all of the things Detroit may lack, live theater - from small, intimate stages to the Fox - is not one of them.

LMich
Oct 18, 2013, 11:19 AM
Up the street in Royal Oak, on 400 North Main...

Developers aim for Hyatt hotel in downtown Royal Oak (http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20131017/NEWS/131019829/developers-aiming-for-hyatt-hotel-in-downtown-royal-oak)

By Sherri Welch | Crain's Detroit Business

October 17, 2013

Developers of a $40 million, eight-story hotel and mixed-use project planned for Royal Oak's Main Street are negotiating an agreement to fly the Hyatt flag at the 114-room hotel.

The deal has yet to be finalized, said Greg Cooksey, managing member for 400 Main LLC, the developer of the project.

The city's planning commission gave final approval to the site plan for the project in June. But Cooksey said the developer is still finalizing its development agreement with the city, local and state incentives packages, and financing.

"We hope to break ground in the spring," he said.

Slated for the former site of the Jim Fresard Pontiac-Buick-GMC auto dealership on Main Street, the project, first proposed in spring 2012, also includes:

* an eight-story, 82-unit apartment building

* a five-story office building restaurant attached to the 114-room hotel, including banquet and meeting space

* a separate, three-story office and retail building

* a four-level parking garage.

...

Rendering:

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CD/20121212/NEWS/121219952/AR/0/AR-121219952.jpg&MaxW=620&v=201310071326

LMich
Oct 18, 2013, 11:26 AM
And, down Jefferson at Harbortown, it seems they've got state money that gets the expansion closer to having shovels in the ground:

Detroit Harbortown gets state aid for $20M project (http://www.freep.com/article/20131016/NEWS01/310160179/1001/rss01)

Associated Press

October 16, 2013

LANSING — A Michigan development agency says it has awarded $1 million for a $20 million expansion of Detroit’s Harbortown residential complex that will add 134 rental apartments.

...

The agency says the Harbortown project is a five-story, 165,000 square foot building within the existing Harbortown complex on the Detroit River. It says the apartments will be a mix of one- two- and three-bedroom units.

The the is ugly as sin - I think I posted a rendering of it months ago somewhere in the thread - but it's some new housing, so...

hudkina
Oct 18, 2013, 10:06 PM
I know where the Fox and Fisher Theatres are located. Are the others you list downtown? Sorry but I don't know downtown Detroit that well.

Here's a map I created:

http://goo.gl/maps/iN7E7

LMich
Oct 19, 2013, 3:03 AM
Not sure how much of a "development" this is as it is a human hand in speeding up the deconstruction of the city. But, since it's mad national news...

http://cmsimg.detnews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C3&Date=20131018&Category=BIZ&ArtNo=310180088&Ref=AR&Profile=1410&MaxW=640&Border=0&Urban-woodlands-farming-project-launches-swath-Detroit-s-east-side
Max Ortiz | Detroit News

Urban woodlands and farming project launches in swath of Detroit's east side (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131018/BIZ/310180088/1410/METRO01)

By Christine Ferretti | The Detroit News

October 18, 2013

Detroit — A demolition on Belvidere Street on Friday marked the launch of the largest urban farming and woodlands project in the United States.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Gov. Rick Snyder approved an agreement to clear blight from the city’s east side, the Department of Human Services announced. The deal with Hantz Farms Inc. involves 1,500 blighted parcels of land that will be converted to a tree-growing operation.

...

Tina Bassett, a spokeswoman for Hantz Farms, said the company owned 150 lots and maintained about 700.

“Neighbors would come out and ask for help. We went ahead and did it anyway,” she said. “But now, all 1,500 (lots) are available to purchase and we’re looking forward to it.”

...

The agreement allows for the company to buy lots for up to $600,000, demolish at least 50 dangerous structures and plant 15,000 hardwood trees during the first two years. Representatives of the project have said the company would cover costs for title work, demolition of structures and removal of trash at a cost of an additional $3.2 million.

Hantz has a vision to cultivate the land as a commercial urban farm. The city must give approval before that takes place.

...

http://cmsimg.detnews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C3&Date=20131018&Category=BIZ&ArtNo=310180088&Ref=V2&Profile=1410&MaxW=600&Border=0

I'd much rather these stay commercial woodlands/woodlots than commercial farms. BTW, just so people don't get the wrong impression, this isn't 140 contiguous acres as there are homes and some business scattered throughout the highlighted area.

ardecila
Oct 19, 2013, 4:09 AM
^ This is nice. I really like the little stone (concrete debris?) walls they've built along the curbs. It gives a surprisingly polished look, like an Olmsted park or something.

Here's a map (http://openingofdetroit.org/graphics/maps/HantzFarmsParcelMap.png)of the land available to Hantz.

LMich
Oct 19, 2013, 4:19 AM
Walls along the curb? In the picture with the News article? I'm confused.

ardecila
Oct 19, 2013, 6:16 AM
Sorry...

http://www.hantzfarmsdetroit.com/images/gallery/gallery_3.jpg
src (http://www.hantzfarmsdetroit.com/gallery1.html)

I think these actually are busted-up concrete slabs, which is cool... they are recycling on-site.

NYC2ATX
Oct 20, 2013, 8:47 AM
Something to ponder...I have recently been doing a lot of research about localized cuisines and specialties native to the various regions and urban areas of the U.S. ...basically an expanded and more detailed catalog of along the lines of Philly = cheesesteaks, Maine = lobster, Chicago = deep-dish, etc. etc.

Now here's a thought: I'm sure Detroit has some area delicacies that locals know to be "so Detroit" (feel free to inform me of some?) ...so I'm wondering, what if the Motor City really did attempt the first large-scale urban farming experiment and that merged with classic Detroit specialties to create a new 21st-century "cuisine of Detroit"? ...could be pretty epic, not to mention some tasty icing on the greatest comeback tale for any city yet. :rolleyes:

Guiltyspark
Oct 20, 2013, 5:54 PM
Something to ponder...I have recently been doing a lot of research about localized cuisines and specialties native to the various regions and urban areas of the U.S. ...basically an expanded and more detailed catalog of along the lines of Philly = cheesesteaks, Maine = lobster, Chicago = deep-dish, etc. etc.

Now here's a thought: I'm sure Detroit has some area delicacies that locals know to be "so Detroit" (feel free to inform me of some?) ...so I'm wondering, what if the Motor City really did attempt the first large-scale urban farming experiment and that merged with classic Detroit specialties to create a new 21st-century "cuisine of Detroit"? ...could be pretty epic, not to mention some tasty icing on the greatest comeback tale for any city yet. :rolleyes:

The coney dog.

animatedmartian
Oct 20, 2013, 9:57 PM
The D speaks to Chinese biz
Good deals in real estate draw investors; more expected
By Dustin Walsh
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CD/20131020/NEWS/310209983/AR/0/David_Stott_building.jpg&MaxW=290&v=201310071326

The growing wealth in China is leading to an influx of investment from the nation as metro Detroit continues its economic rebound.

Crain's first reported last week that September's auction sale of the David Stott and former Detroit Free Press buildings was won by Chinese real estate developer DDI Group.

The Shanghai-based company, also called the Dongdu International Group, acquired the two downtown Detroit buildings, sight unseen, for $4.2 million and $9.4 million, respectively, outbidding Detroit-based Rock Ventures LLC, said Ryan Snoek, a real estate consultant who coordinated the sale on behalf of the seller, in the crainsdetroit.com story.

Local experts on the Chinese market said metro Detroit should prepare itself for more deals. There's an influx of Chinese investment as the U.S. and local markets remain strong investment options in the midst of insecurity and slower growth in China.


According to a June report by real estate firm CBRE, the U.S. is the largest market for Chinese real estate investment and investors, both commercial and individual. These investors are expected to spend $178 billion in the U.S. over the next few years.

Longo said the DDI deal embodies the perfect real estate investment for a Chinese firm.
"Chinese investors are looking at what I'd call term 'value-based deals,' " Longo said, adding that historic buildings are of particular interest.

"They got the buildings at an auction for a bargain price, and I don't see them looking at this as a 40-year hold. I think their local strategy is to get quicker returns on their invested capital that they are seeing in China."

Longo said he predicts DDI will hold the property for 15 years or less, which is considered a short-term investment in China.

Stevanovich said a group of Chinese government officials and investors is particularly interested in a riverfront development concept. The idea would be to create a marina, resort and yacht building development in metro Detroit.
Ten delegates from Hainan and Nantong provinces, Chinese business leaders and Miami-based yacht builder Paracas Yachts have been in contact about the potential project, Stevanovich said.

The group is hoping to create the marina on the Detroit riverfront or along the 34 miles of waterfront on Lake St. Clair in Macomb County.
"We're sitting on fresh water that doesn't exist in China," Stevanovich said. "It would be nice to have yachts built in Detroit, with the manufacturing expertise here, and we're hoping to get a marina and resort."

Xu said Michigan's open space and natural resources will draw more investment in the future as the region's exposure grows.



http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20131020/NEWS/310209983/the-d-speaks-to-chinese-biz#

It seems Detroit is poised for Chinese investors. Good news?

animatedmartian
Oct 20, 2013, 11:20 PM
Michigan Bell Building and National Theater in Detroit are in for changes
By John Gallagher

October 20, 2013

http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20131020&Category=BUSINESS06&ArtNo=310200050&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Michigan-Bell-Building-National-Theater-Detroit-changes

Two historic structures in Detroit are in for big changes, one clearly positive, the other more uncertain.

Start with the positive. The old Michigan Bell Building (better know as the Yellow Pages Building) on Oakman Boulevard near the Lodge has been remade in a $52-million renovation as the new home for the nonprofit Neighborhood Service Organization.NSO works with the recently homeless to provide decent housing and an array of services, from drug counseling to recreation.

A ribbon cutting Wednesday will celebrate the progress on the 255,000 square-foot structure. Joe Heaphy, NSO’s manager for the project, says residents have moved over the past year into the center’s 155 apartments, while NSO’s office headquarters only recently opened there. Wednesday’s event is meant to celebrate past progress and renovation yet to come.

The project rescues a landmark building that had stood empty for years. Along with the Focus:Hope facilities nearby, this section of northwest Detroit is now solidifying as a locale for delivering human services. “What we’re developing here is a nonprofit campus with Focus:Hope anchoring one side and us anchoring the other,” Heaphy said.

http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20131020&Category=BUSINESS06&ArtNo=310200050&Ref=V1&MaxW=600&Border=0

The historic structure facing a more uncertain future is the National Theater, built in 1911 from a design by architect Albert Kahn and his design associate Ernest Wilby. The National is one of those quirky designs from another era, with twin towers framing a deeply recessed arched entrance and colorful Pewabic tile adding to the flavor.

The theater has stood empty for decades, a fact which by itself wouldn’t necessarily doom it. But it stands on Monroe Street smack in the middle of the rapidly redeveloping central downtown, and businessman Dan Gilbert hopes to obtain the site to build another piece of his growing network.

That piece probably will rise as a residential building, said Jim Ketai, managing partner of Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services. Right now the ownership of the site is caught between a private developer and the City of Detroit. If that clears up, Gilbert hopes to obtain title.

Ketai said he likes the exotic design of the National Theater and would like to keep at least some of the structure to incorporate it into something new. That may mean just saving the facade as an entrance to either a retail or residential structure to rise behind it.

Downtown is redeveloping so swiftly and the need for new housing and retail is so great that any historic structure that isn’t in use faces an uncertain future. The trick will be to preserve as much of Detroit’s architectural heritage as possible while filling the needs of the present and future. Often those two goals meet as one; many of our best “new” buildings downtown — the Broderick Tower, the Westin Book Cadillac — are adaptive reuses of historic structures.

At the old Yellow Pages Building, a redevelopment project accomplished that twin task in first-rate fashion. At the National Theater downtown, it remains to be seen.
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013310200050

Glad to hear new residential might be finally coming. Downtown really needs it.

cabasse
Oct 21, 2013, 1:05 AM
in my exploration of detroit, i used to drive by the yellow pages building and wonder if anything would ever come of it. this is sweet news.

animatedmartian
Oct 21, 2013, 2:31 AM
in my exploration of detroit, i used to drive by the yellow pages building and wonder if anything would ever come of it. this is sweet news.

Last time I went by, there was also some low-income multifamily housing being built across the street.

I've always sort of liked this area because it's pretty much in the armpit of the Lodge and Davison freeway interchange. There's a lot of light industrial in the area but it's always pretty quiet and empty driving through. Maybe at some point in the future, it'd make a good low-income urban live/work type of neighborhood with the YP building as the focal point.

LMich
Oct 21, 2013, 7:26 AM
The Michigan Bell Building is rather old news. I guess they just held the ribbon cutting much later than the completion of the project, because I remember them talking about the completion of the project months ago. I do miss the neon Yellow Pages sign, though. It's kind of a landmark of the area. I wonder what they did with it?

I am very eager to see what Gilbert has planned for the National Theater block. I'm kind of mixed, myself, on what should be there. It's kind of a transition block by nature, but they could really make it into a featured block, if that makes sense.

subterranean
Oct 21, 2013, 12:18 PM
The Bell Building is very old news. Despite NSO wanting to keep it in-tact, the Yellow Pages sign was dangerous and not salvageable.

hudkina
Oct 22, 2013, 1:07 AM
While I think a full renovation of the theatre would be nice, I'd be happy with just a facade entryway as long as it is for a significant residential project or something along those lines.

animatedmartian
Oct 24, 2013, 3:11 AM
Update on Cobo Hall's atrium and ballroom renovations. They're both complete.

A5udXxWTg0k

hudkina
Oct 24, 2013, 7:57 PM
The decor is a bit early-2000's in my opinion, but overall it's nice.

LMich
Oct 25, 2013, 11:58 AM
The News had a story this morning about the Cotton family, the folks putting up the Meridian Health Plan Headquarters on the Monroe Block. Anyway, included in the story was another angle of the proposed building looking north, but from an elevated angle, this time, instead of street-level:

http://cmsimg.detnews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C3&Date=20131025&Category=BIZ&ArtNo=310250048&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&As-health-firm-grows-does-Cotton-family-s-impact-area

Something new to take from the rendering is that there appears to be two decks in and on the "box" projection near the base.

subterranean
Oct 25, 2013, 12:28 PM
Looks almost as if there could be a third deck thing near the top, too.

hudkina
Oct 25, 2013, 1:19 PM
I think it's going to have a really nice placement compared to the rest of Campus Martius. It will really complete the urban feel of the square. The only thing I see is that little wedge between the building and Cadillac Tower. It looks a bit strange, especially considering the nature of that wall on Cadillac Tower. Maybe one day they can put a giant mural or something on that face.

LMich
Oct 25, 2013, 1:34 PM
Looks almost as if there could be a third deck thing near the top, too.

Yeah, there looks to be a walk-out both on the south face of the tower near the top, and then the canopy on the main roof. I'd seen those, what I hadn't notice was the second platform above the "box" near the base.

It's really cool how they are integrating so much of the building into the park with all its nooks and crannies. It's like they are utilizing every inch of it for views. Compuware started that trend. I was a bit disappointed in One Kennedy Square, though, which seems to turn its attention inward.

EDIT: Was just searching to see if I could find any new renderings of the Harbortown Riverside, and came across one of the developers, instead, who manage the Harbortown Market. I was surprised to find that there is plans for a nearly 15,000 square foot expansion of the strip mall:

http://afjonna.com/NewDevelopements/HarborTown/PDFS/ExpansionPlanHarbortown.pdf

Anyone know how old this is?