View Full Version : DETROIT | Development & Construction: Motown Lowdown

Pages : 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54

Aug 25, 2007, 4:28 PM
Source: Detroit News
Special report: Restoring Detroit's architectural glory

Timber! Historic hotel cuts down rooftop trees
Felling symbolizes step toward Hilton restoration
Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

Field supervisor Jeff Moss, left, and foreman Tim Smith chop down the last of the trees on the damaged roof of the Pick-Fort Shelby Hotel. They believe the two-story tree, which is visible from the street, is 12 years old.

There's one less tree today in downtown Detroit -- and that's a good thing.

This tree had taken root on the damaged roof of the former Pick-Fort Shelby Hotel, which closed in 1973. The roughly two-story tree had grown so large that it was visible from the street, 20 stories below.

Over the years, media pundits said the tree proved downtown Detroit was beyond hope and empty buildings like the historic Pick-Fort Shelby on West Lafayette Boulevard should be demolished.

But on Friday, the felling of that tree represented another step forward for the Pick-Fort Shelby. The hotel is undergoing an $82 million transformation and will become the Fort Shelby Doubletree Guest Suites Detroit, slated to open in December 2008.

Earlier this summer, construction crews began removing tons of debris from the Fort Shelby that had accumulated through years of neglect. This week, they started working on the roof, where several large trees had grown over the decades.

On Friday afternoon, it took three men and two chainsaws to remove the final, biggest tree, which had grown in a crooked angle in a corner next to a stone-column railing.

"Timber!" yelled one of the crew as the tree was destroyed and then hurled into a Dumpster.

Crew members counted the rings of the tree and estimated the tree was at least 12 years old. The species of the tree was not known.

"A full-grown tree on a building is certainly a tell-tale sign the building has gone through years of severe neglect," said Elizabeth Knibbe, a principal at Quinn Evans Architects in Ann Arbor, who serves as the historical preservationist on the Fort Shelby project. "There used to be a lot of buildings in Detroit with large trees on them. Not weeds, trees."

Many were of the Boxelder and Tree-of-Heaven variety, she said.

"There's movement in the right direction that there are (fewer) trees on Detroit roof tops."

There are still at least three other large vacant buildings in downtown Detroit that have been neglected for so long that they have multiple trees on their roofs.

One, the Lafayette Building, is being hawked by city officials to developers. The others are owned by developers who have long-standing reputations of neglecting their buildings and failing to pay fines on various building code violations.

Push for convention business

The planned 204-room Fort Shelby Doubletree is part of a push to turn downtown into a regional contender for hotel and convention business. The Doubletree will contribute to nearly 1,900 new hotel rooms expected in Detroit by the end of next year, more than doubling the number of existing rooms.

Three new casinos-hotels -- the MGM Grand, MotorCity and Greektown -- plus the Westin Book-Cadillac and Doubletree will increase the number of hotel rooms downtown to about 5,100.

The Fort Shelby Doubletree also marks the return of a full-service Hilton hotel to Detroit after a 33-year absence.

A Hilton Garden Inn, the chain's mid-price brand, opened in Harmonie Park three years ago. It was the first new hotel to be built downtown since 1986. Hilton's Doubletree Suites are aimed at business travelers and others who plan multinight stays, offering larger rooms and more amenities and services.

Besides hotel rooms, the new Fort Shelby will also include 63 upscale apartments that may become condominiums; retail space that will include a national "upscale restaurant" to be announced later; and 38,000 square feet of conference space. The residences are slated to open in May 2009.

Worker Todd Malin rips up pieces of roof (tar and insulation) with the roots of the tree in them before it is cut down.

Aug 26, 2007, 4:04 PM
does anybody know if the new Rosa Parks Transit Center will have any new added length to the People Mover. are they going to expand it's transit, cause that is a major factor for Detroit's growth.

Aug 26, 2007, 7:02 PM
The transit center is a bus terminal, so no.

Aug 27, 2007, 6:44 PM
are you sure, i htought the people mover was going to have a station there, along with buses and taxis.

Aug 27, 2007, 9:40 PM
the people mover already has a station there. It's called the Times Square station. They chose that particular location to build the bus terminal because it is also the "hub" station for the people mover trains.

the pope
Aug 30, 2007, 1:02 PM
pope at a tiger's game? that's definitely development news!

http://www.urbanohio.com/thepope/tiggers 029.jpg

Sep 5, 2007, 4:05 PM
Looks like the long delayed Dequindre Cut project is about to get underway

Path to join RiverWalk, Eastern Market in Detroit

Trenton firm is hired to build trail
September 5, 2007



More than five years in the planning, downtown's Dequindre Cut rails-to-trails project should get under way soon.

Detroit's Economic Development Corp., a quasi-public arm of the city, voted Tuesday to hire a contractor, ABC Paving Co. of Trenton, to build the trail.

The bike and pedestrian trail, slightly more than a mile long, will connect Eastern Market with the new RiverWalk.
Michael Dempsey, project manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., said construction should begin in about one month and should be completed May 31. The contract is worth about $2.8 million, to be paid for with grants from the State of Michigan and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

Long planned but delayed by a variety of obstacles, the pathway is the latest in a series of projects in and around downtown designed to enhance the quality of life.

With the RiverWalk about half complete, the city says it hopes eventually to connect that waterfront promenade to a regional network of pedestrian and bicycle trails through the Dequindre Cut, a former railroad line.

Specific tasks for the contractor will include removing five unused bridges that run over the trail, cutting weeds, installing lighting and security measures and paving the pathway with asphalt.

When finished, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, which operates the RiverWalk, also will maintain the Dequindre Cut.

The city still must design a way to connect the new pathway to both Eastern Market and the RiverWalk. On the north end, the trail will stop at the south side of Gratiot. Dempsey said planners are studying how to continue the path north across Gratiot into Eastern Market.

On the south end, the pathway will stop at Woodbridge, a couple of blocks from the RiverWalk. Planners have to design a way to continue the path through the planned State of Michigan Tricentennial Park to the RiverWalk.

Eventually, the city says it plans to extend the trail north into the Midtown and Wayne State University districts to connect with other pathways.

In another action Tuesday, the Economic Development Corp. voted to approve a $4.8-million contract to build the tented roof structure that will rise over the new Rosa Parks Transit Center, now under construction near Michigan and Cass.

The transit center will serve as the new downtown terminal for local buses. City planners say they hope to convince federal transportation officials to pay for a light-rail system that would connect Ann Arbor with downtown Detroit, terminating at the Rosa Parks center.

Sep 5, 2007, 4:12 PM
Looks like the long delayed Dequindre Cut project is about to get underway

Path to join RiverWalk, Eastern Market in Detroit

Trenton firm is hired to build trail
September 5, 2007



More than five years in the planning, downtown's Dequindre Cut rails-to-trails project should get under way soon.

Detroit's Economic Development Corp., a quasi-public arm of the city, voted Tuesday to hire a contractor, ABC Paving Co. of Trenton, to build the trail.

The bike and pedestrian trail, slightly more than a mile long, will connect Eastern Market with the new RiverWalk.
Michael Dempsey, project manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., said construction should begin in about one month and should be completed May 31. The contract is worth about $2.8 million, to be paid for with grants from the State of Michigan and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

Long planned but delayed by a variety of obstacles, the pathway is the latest in a series of projects in and around downtown designed to enhance the quality of life.

With the RiverWalk about half complete, the city says it hopes eventually to connect that waterfront promenade to a regional network of pedestrian and bicycle trails through the Dequindre Cut, a former railroad line.

Specific tasks for the contractor will include removing five unused bridges that run over the trail, cutting weeds, installing lighting and security measures and paving the pathway with asphalt.

When finished, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, which operates the RiverWalk, also will maintain the Dequindre Cut.

The city still must design a way to connect the new pathway to both Eastern Market and the RiverWalk. On the north end, the trail will stop at the south side of Gratiot. Dempsey said planners are studying how to continue the path north across Gratiot into Eastern Market.

On the south end, the pathway will stop at Woodbridge, a couple of blocks from the RiverWalk. Planners have to design a way to continue the path through the planned State of Michigan Tricentennial Park to the RiverWalk.

Eventually, the city says it plans to extend the trail north into the Midtown and Wayne State University districts to connect with other pathways.

In another action Tuesday, the Economic Development Corp. voted to approve a $4.8-million contract to build the tented roof structure that will rise over the new Rosa Parks Transit Center, now under construction near Michigan and Cass.

The transit center will serve as the new downtown terminal for local buses. City planners say they hope to convince federal transportation officials to pay for a light-rail system that would connect Ann Arbor with downtown Detroit, terminating at the Rosa Parks center.

the pope
Sep 5, 2007, 8:08 PM
such an ominous last sentence there.

Sep 5, 2007, 11:23 PM
I think a frequent commuter rail link between the cities is a better option than light rail. Are there any single light rail lines that are 40 miles long?

the pope
Sep 6, 2007, 1:54 AM
I think a frequent commuter rail link between the cities is a better option than light rail. Are there any single light rail lines that are 40 miles long?

they are certainly rare, but google/wiki says

a line for the LA metro is built out would come out at 51 miles (not currently though, the gold line)

a line in china comes in at 31 miles and it apparently operational.

Sep 11, 2007, 4:23 PM
I would bet that LA's gold line is in a much denser area though. Once you get past Inkster the density is too low to support light rail.

Sep 12, 2007, 5:48 AM
Glad to see these groups come together I was kinda worried with competeting plans that both would end up failing.

Harwell teams up with ballpark conservancy board

Compromise on Tiger Stadium's fate could be on horizon
September 10, 2007



Updated at 5:45 p.m.

Two rival groups trying to save portions of Tiger Stadium, including one headed by Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell, have teamed up to increase the odds that some parts of the historic ballpark will be preserved.

Harwell and his attorney, Gary Spicer, said Monday they have accepted invitations to join the board of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, a Corktown neighborhood group working to save a corner of the ballpark as a community center and memorial.

Before Monday, Harwell and Spicer had backed an ambitious plan to preserve 10,000 to 20,000 seats and turn the vacant stadium, a storied spot in professional baseball history, into a multi-use facility with museums and commercial office space. The conservancy backed a more modest plan to keep about 1,000 seats, one dugout and locker room, and a corner of the stadium as a community center.

Their combined effort now aims at saving about 3,000 seats, both dugouts and locker rooms, and the playing field itself. Most of the more ambitious parts of the Harwell-Spicer effort would happen only at some future date if money allowed.

“We don’t like the word demolition,” Harwell told reporters in a press conference Monday afternoon at the stadium. “The way we look at this, we are scaling down Tiger Stadium… We can move forward with all the different groups, bringing together their ideas and cooperating on them.”

“Ernie and I are only interested in consensus,” Spicer said. “We don’t have any time or effort for arguments and wasting everybody’s time.”

The melding together of the two efforts should make it easier for the conservancy to raise money and work through details with the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., the quasi-public body that is overseeing plans to demolish most of the stadium.

George Jackson, president of the DEGC and Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s chief development officer, helped bring the two sides together. He hailed the agreement today as more likely to make something happen than the two groups operating separately.

“The mayor and I are very pleased that Ernie and Gary Spicer are now working with the conservancy,” Jackson said. “And we hope that the fundraising effort is successful, because it would bring both development and a significant historical facility” in the preserved portions of the stadium.

Under the city’s plans, created with the conservancy, about 90% of the old ballpark would be razed, with that footprint redeveloped as low-rise housing and retail. The playing field would be preserved and used for youth baseball, concerts and the like.

Jeff Wattrick, project manager of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, said getting Harwell and Spicer on the group’s board would help advance the project.

“I think it means that our efforts to save a significant portion of the stadium are going to be a lot easier,” Wattrick said. “You’ve got someone of the caliber of Ernie Harwell, and someone of the caliber of Gary Spicer, behind this plan helping with the fundraising and planning. It’s going to make our job that much easier and exciting.”

Contact JOHN GALLAGHER at 313-222-5173 or gallagher@freepress.com.

Sep 12, 2007, 5:16 PM
Great news for downtown, it's attracting small and midsize companies like these that are so key to reviving the office market. :cheers:

Suburban firms to move in downtown

Compuware, Ilitch welcome neighbors to Campus Martius
September 12, 2007



In a boost for downtown Detroit, two growing suburb-based companies are planning to move their headquarters and more than 100 employees each into the new 10-story One Kennedy Square office building at Campus Martius.

Marketing Associates LLC of Bloomfield Township, whose majority owner is Edsel Ford II, and Health Plan of Michigan, the state's third-largest Medicaid HMO, each will occupy two floors of the lime green tinted-glass building. By the end of this year when the moves are expected to be complete, the building's office space will be fully leased.

A news briefing is planned for Thursday to announce details of the Marketing Associates move, which is expected to take place in the last week of October. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Edsel Ford and Mark Petroff, president and CEO of the 140-person firm, are expected to attend.
Dr. David Cotton, president and CEO of Health Plan of Michigan, told me Tuesday that he expects to move his 110 employees from Southfield to their Detroit offices by Dec. 20.

Two ground-floor retail spots, on either side of the building's entrance, have yet to be leased, although developers are said to be close to a deal with a high-end restaurant for one.

When construction began in April 2005 on the office tower across Campus Martius Park from the Compuware Corp. headquarters, automotive supplier Visteon Corp. was slated to be the building's primary tenant. It had planned to put its contract information technology workers there. But as Visteon's financial problems mounted, the firm decided to sublet its space in the building.

Accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young now occupies the top three floors, while construction firm Walbridge Aldinger moved its headquarters staff into the second and third floors in July. Marketing Associates will occupy floors four and five, and Health Plan of Michigan will move into the sixth and seventh floors.

Petroff is full of praise for his soon-to-be neighbors, especially Compuware CEO Peter Karmanos Jr. and Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, the umbrella firm for Little Caesars Pizza, the Fox Theatre, and Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings sports teams owned by the Ilitch family.

Compuware has offered Marketing Associates workers access to the fitness center and child care facilities in Compuware's building. And on July 20, Petroff said, Chris Ilitch provided 300 tickets to a Tigers game for the company's workers and family members. Compuware hosted a reception for them before the game.

When Petroff first told his employees about the decision to move to Detroit, he said "it went over like a lead balloon among some of our people, especially the ones with long commutes from northern Oakland County." But the outreach and support from other downtown businesses "created a real shift in attitude," he said.

"It's a real community taking shape down here. We'll be part of the new creative corridor," said Petroff, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who was a nuclear submarine officer before he earned his MBA from the University of Michigan.

Marketing Associates, until recently, was primarily focused on helping automotive companies with direct-mail and other traditional marketing campaigns. But after an investor group led by Edsel Ford bought the company out of bankruptcy from Lason Inc., the firm expanded into a range of interactive marketing services, ranging from e-mail blasts to archiving digital video assets and helping manage online contests and rewards programs.

Petroff, who joined the firm in early 2006, said he expects the staff to grow to 225 people by 2010.

Cotton, former chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University, formed Health Plan of Michigan by buying and merging several managed care plans in the late 1990s.

The company has been growing at a rate of 31% annually since 2000, he said.

He, too, was full of praise for Compuware's good-neighbor efforts. "They took time to walk our people all through their building and answer questions about working downtown."

Petroff said he looked at other locations in Southfield and Troy for Marketing Associates but decided that moving downtown fit the rapidly changing nature of his business.

Even though office space was plentiful and lease rates attractive in the suburbs, Petroff said the new office tower's location in a Renaissance Zone provided a tax abatement that helped offset the costs of parking and the City of Detroit income tax. Marketing Associates is paying for parking and giving employees a raise to cover the tax bite, he said.

"One Kennedy Square is now filled to capacity, which is further proof that the business community has confidence in our ongoing efforts," Kilpatrick said of the firms.

Detroit development officials, with help from Karmanos, Ilitch and downtown business leaders, are still trying to persuade Livonia-based Quicken Loans and Rock Financial, along with other companies, to move into the city.

Contact TOM WALSH at 313-223-4430 or twalsh@freepress.com

the pope
Sep 13, 2007, 3:03 AM
its nice to see (in a way) that One Kennedy didn't fully cannibalize the downtown office market.

Sep 13, 2007, 6:06 AM
Hey, now that this building is completely leased, does that mean we can build another 10 story office tower?;)

And that's 250 more employees who will hopefully be walking around the Campus Martius/Lower Woodward area in the not-too-distant-future.

Sep 19, 2007, 9:30 AM
Southwest Detroit secures state's first Business Improvement District


The West Vernor commercial corridor has gone from bust to boom in the last decade. Part of the reason is that the Southwest Detroit Business Association (http://www.southwestdetroit.com/) has been operating a voluntary Business Improvement District there for the past seven years. Last week a vote of property owners formalized that BID, which sets a historic precedent in Michigan.

BIDs have been used to great effect in urban areas around the country. Assessments they generate can only be used in the designated area, which means services can be specifically targeted to the needs and personality of the district. The Southwest Detroit BID includes properties fronting W. Vernor from Clark to Woodmere and those along Springwells from W. Vernor to I-75.

Securing the BID was a four-step process. First, SDBA petitioned property owners to gauge their interest. Then, a zone plan was developed based on surveys that spoke to priorities. "Clean and safe were the most important priorities," says Amy Raupp, the organization's neighborhood development specialist. Marketing and capital improvements also ranked high on the list.

After City Council approved the creation of the BID, a vote was taken. Ballots were mailed to the owners of 371 parcels of land. Of the 183 votes received, 66 percent voted to approve the property assessment. The votes were weighted according to assessed value.

Raupp is excited about the impact the BID will have on the West Vernor/Springwells area. "This is all about the future of Southwest Detroit," she says. "This is about bringing in more investment and protecting the investments that people have already made."

The proposed 2% assessment would bring in $290,000.

Read more about BIDs here (http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/philly77.aspx).

Source: Amy Raupp, SDBA
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Sep 20, 2007, 10:58 AM
I wish somebody could get a good picture of the mgm at night. During the day, the design sucks but at night, it's somewhat redeeming if you don't realize how much money was blown on this corner of dwntwn. They're almost finished doing the M-G-M__G-R-A-N-D lettering of the vertical logo on the front side of the hotel. Hopefully it lights up nicely and adds a little bit to the ambiance of that corner.

Sep 20, 2007, 6:27 PM
I'm waiting for another Michi photo tour, its been awhile.

Sep 20, 2007, 9:48 PM
I know, I've been waiting for one too. All this development progress has been slipping through my fingers and I haven't been able to document any of it! I've been meaning to offer something for a long time, but it doesn't appear I will be able to until at least next weekend.

Orally, I can offer for those that don't live in Detroit:

South Univ. Village has started building upward. The garage has its Forest-facing wall built and now just needs to expand southward (the length). The mixed use buildings have the first of the steel errected.

MGM Grand: almost completely finished on the exterior. Lots and lots of landscaping and just as impressive is the utility infrastructure around the premises...a major freshness vibe to the rather "drab/dead" conditions seen on the west side of dwntwn.

Motor City is fascinating at night. I don't even know the best way to describe it. The roof looks like it is nearing completion, but the bread factory hasn't been covered yet...just preped.

Greektown is STILL the same level as the garage, but the lower 3 levels are progressing w/ facade as is the connector across the street and the skywalk. I'd imagine the first of the glass might come within a month's time.

Willy's has new windows, which also make it look incredible.

Casino Windsor's new hotel is now the tallest new building in the region and the tallest on the Windsor skyline. The best angle to view its height as being taller than the other hotel tower is from Belle Isle.

Shed construction has started in Eastern Market.

Brush Park North has begun and some of the 3-story wood frames have been constructed along John R.

Book Cadillac has nothing new visually, just the shell of the new addition in the back.

The Griswold is just about to lay foundation and the bus terminal excavation/construction is progressing well.

Crystal Lofts and the Kahn Bldg across the street have windows and look great. Crys. Lofts just needs windows on its new penthouse level and where the grocery store will go.

Also, there's been a really nice renovation on Charlotte Street that I haven't heard anything from...just seen it. I'll get a pic of it next time.

Sigh...now I want to go out and take pictures...I need patience as much as you! :)

Sep 28, 2007, 4:24 PM
I just joined today after visiting for the last week. I transferred out of the area in 99 and now trying to work my way back. Couple questions: What's happening around the Fox? Last time I was there they were just finishing Comerica Park. I always wondered what's become of the area right behind the Fox. Nice cozy little streets but no activity. Got any pic's? Also, being an eastsider, I'm always curious about what's happening out there.

Sep 28, 2007, 10:15 PM
Hey, welcome friend.

I was just behind the Fox today working on my photo updates. The area has been sitting pretty stagnant aside from a few projects like the Kales Bldg Lofts, Cliff Bells Bar, and the Centaur in the Iodent Building Lofts. Ilitch isn't doing anything with the lots or other buildings at this time, except for the Detroit Life Building, which he is gratiously renovating.

The Park Avenue neighborhood demonstrates fully what the urban experience is and should be, and therefore it cannot be lost or bulldozed over. There's hope, it just needs more interest from developers aside from Ilitch Holdings.

Watch for photo updates on greater downtown tomorrow.

Sep 29, 2007, 5:16 AM

Sep 29, 2007, 5:32 PM
This is a big one! Could almost be its own thread. The size is mostly due to more than one photo of a single project. I guess that's because many of them are moving right along to completion.

DETROIT - Friday, September 28 2007

South University Village, Wayne State University
As seen from Cathedral Tower.

Mixed Use - Studio One Apartments

Forest Avenue


Woodward Avenue




Looking north

MOCAD's New Exhibit

No more Forest Tower Apartments. Now, a lovely urban surface parking lot. :rolleyes:

Engineering Building at Wayne State University.

New Amsterdam Lofts puttzing along.

Wayne State Police Headquarters are moving to this building on north Cass (Techtown).

Casino Windsor Hotel Tower showing up on the skyline.




Completed Hotel St. Regis Condos and Rooms


New Stores in New Center

The 6-year renovation of the Detroit Institute of Arts is nearing completion by the end of the year. This is the John R. (back) side.



The Farnsworth Entrance

Front Staircase

Willy's Overland Lofts - Cass Corridor




Across Willis from Willy's

Avalon Organic Bakery is moving to a larger location, but I forget where. I think it might actually be in the Studio One location(??)

David here insisted that he pose for a picture with his "Hungry" sign. We chatted for at least a 1/2 hour about the corridor, drugs, hopping a bus to Florida to be homeless, the kindness of people in the city, and the state shutdown on Monday.

Motor City Casino still showing no signs of the gaming space "retro" skin.

Lots of infrastructure improvements however.

The big dog, MGM Grand Detroit. $800,000,000 of new construction. Yes, it's a superblock (boo) but the overall product, for a casino is actually pretty nice. They did a super job on infrastructure and landscaping beautification on and around the property.
Grand Opening: This Monday, October 1 2007!



A landscaped median was installed on what was once a very bland and broken 3rd Street. The DTE Energy property on the opposite side is installing a city block-sized garden.

Bagley and 3rd showcases the corner focal point of the casino, which has a seasonal theme...here pumpkins and autumn leaves.




General K. and his pony gesture their approval. :shrug:








DTE Energy Garden

The corporate building is the big, black one.

Rosa Parks Transit Terminal is actually further along that I'd imagined.

Hotel Fort Shelby is anoise with lots of interior construction going on. It sounds like it's just about emptied out and ready for preservation. This is a really really great project for Detroit! :)

From Lafayette Blvd.



Westin Book Cadillac

From Washington Blvd.


The State Street frontage

The back addition from Capitol Park

From Campus Martius

The Griswold Capitol Park still isn't showing any signs of above-ground work. Soon, though...the garage needs to speed up to the opening of the Book Cadillac.

Sep 29, 2007, 5:34 PM
Greektown Casino
This is the first section being built OVER west-bound Lafayette Avenue.


As seen from in front of Nikki's

The filler building on Monroe Street connecting the old schoolhouse and Trapper's Alley.

Old Ste. Mary's Parish in the foreground.

Facade installment on the first 3 levels of lobby.

St. Antoine Street


The hotel tower is slowly inching above the garage.

The newly renovated Sheraton Ponchetrain.

Looks the same above the first levels

Himelhoch's had a red carpet layed out on Washington Blvd, which made me wonder if there is some sort of investing going on there.

We're waaaaiting! Rock Financial/Quicken Loans possible future world headquarters site.

There's a locally-famous pizza parlor opening back up in the city, in the Kales Buidling, of which I forget its name.

The Women's Club Building has just recently completed a renovation in the Park Avenue District (behind the Fox Theatre).

The Ilitchs' are overhauling the Detroit Life Building also a valuable member of Park Avenue.

The irreplaceable Park Avenue.

Garden Lofts at Brush Park, open for a few months now.

This building in Brush Park has been (purposefully) gutted, and I've seen workers onsite, so hopefully it is the next one to go under the knife.

Brush Park North townhomes, John R. Street.


Another Brush Park prize.

Crystal Lofts renovation on Woodward Avenue, Brush Park. A gourmet grocery store will occupy the ground level! :)

Gotta love Detroiters and their perception of right-of-way. ;)



One of my favorite smaller projects is this line of renovations along Charlotte Street. Structures like this, sadly don't exist in Detroit anymore.



From the back...


Wondering when she's going to get the attention she deserves. Maybe soon, since it's right across the street from the previous photos.

The Kahn Building sits right next to the Crystal Lofts both on Woodward Avenue.



More garden renovations taking place at the Whitney.

MGM Grand


The lighted rectangle below the tiger icon is a falling water feature and tinted red.





Motor City Casino.
-These photos were taken from the Michigan bridge over the Lodge, so the quality is kinda low. I waited and waited in an empty lot on Trumbull near old Tiger Stadium for the test show to come back on, but it never did...so I can't wait to get better photos soon.

Most of the light show is relatively slow in changing colors, but there are also brief periods of animation which is really cool to see. I was going to take a video when I was waiting, so I'll try to do that next time too.


It's much better with the naked eye!


Sep 29, 2007, 7:13 PM
Thanks Michi! Looks great! :banana:

Sep 29, 2007, 7:26 PM
Beautiful set, Michi. You always outdo yourself.:)

I was completely surprised at how fast the Kahn renovation was completed. I remember just a few months ago it looked like it was ready to be demolished, but now it looks great.

If you haven't already, you *need* to post these photos in the photo section. I'm sure everyone will enjoy seeing America's punching bag rise again.

Sep 29, 2007, 7:44 PM
Great shots, Michi! Thanks for the Park Ave District pic's. You're making me homesick!

Another general question: It seems, 10 years ago, slow growth was blamed on Red Tape. What is the purveying thought on why projects are getting done now? Kilpatrick, Granholm, or just momentum overcoming the obstacles...or a combination thereof?

Sep 29, 2007, 7:59 PM
Another great set, I really love that renovation on Charlotte.

As for what's goin on at Washington Blvd, Mark England has reopened in some the Himelhoch's space. I wonder if they'll be removing vintage signage since Himelhoch's went out of buisness decades ago.

Sep 30, 2007, 2:52 AM
Great photos! Has any work been done on the G.A.R building yet? I noticed it in the background of one of the pictures and it looked the same.

Sep 30, 2007, 7:47 PM
hudkina, I took over 200 photos that day and thought I would to a comprehensive post, but it would have taken me way too long to edit the photos and then upload them and post them. But, I will try to complete the rest of the edits to the better pictures and then include some of these in them. I was able to find some new perspectives.

newday, a lot of the momentum is due to a large amount of the metro area underserved by an urban marketplace. New generations and new understandings of the world are creating opportunities in central Detroit just like they have in all other major American cities in the past 20-30 years. Like the New-Tony-Detroit once told me, "if 1% of the entire Metro population moved downtown, there would be 50,000 new residents living there. Do you think there is 1% of 5 million people who would love to live in an urban place? I think since there is a massive exodus of people from Michigan moving to Chicago, Atlanta, New York, LA, San Fran, Seattle, Denver, etc...the possibilities are very good. We're just at a remarkable early stage in Detroit and the central core is not as accomodating yet to serve everybody. BUT there are people w/ different wants and desires and that is why more and more people are able to make the move (downtown). The more progress we make, the better. Mass transit will be our regional deal sealer especially since mass transit is an economic development generator itself.

Upon inspection, I didn't see any progress being made at the GAR Building.

the pope
Oct 1, 2007, 3:23 AM
super duper michi wichi

Oct 1, 2007, 8:02 PM
awesome pictures. Nice to see you snuck a few in of Casino Windsor as well! ;)

Oct 2, 2007, 2:45 AM
Wow, thanks for those construction pictures of Detroit, especially the MGM Grand Hotel. It looks beautiful. Please take pictures of the casino/hotel/restaurant interiors when it opens, thank you !!

Oct 3, 2007, 7:09 PM
Thanks Michi, you are the one and only! I know that I can count on you. It is great to see and hear positive things about Detroit. Now let us hope for the Quicken Loans move to downtown and good news about the new Red Wings Arena! Is there any news about the groundbreaking of the @water lofts, the Watermark lofts and the FBI field office? Have you seen a rendering yet of the future GM riverfront tower? Greatings from Europe, Ross.

Oct 3, 2007, 10:35 PM
nice pics Michi. I think the new MGM grand resort is such a plus for the city. the new Midwest entertainment hub.

Oct 5, 2007, 10:07 PM

What a nightmare. Get with the program!!

P.S. Is LMich in jail or lawschool or something? Where has he gone

Oct 6, 2007, 3:38 PM
here is a mall that may go up on the northern edge of Detroit. sorry about not getting a link.

John T. Greilick / The Detroit News

This vacant land on Eight Mile and Woodward in Detroit will be a vibrant shopping center in the coming years, officials say.
Detroit mall still on track

Developers: Deals under way for city's first shopping center since '90s

Nathan Hurst / The Detroit News


Get free headlines by e-mail
Get text alerts on your cell phone
Get The Detroit News on your PDA
Email us your feedback

General Growth Properties

Drawing of what Shoppes at Gateway Park, slated to break ground during spring next year, might look like. See full image

Upscale shoppers' paradise: State's money troubles don't deter new retailers
Taubman CEO predicts Metro Detroit comeback
New Nordstrom a hit
New Twelve Oaks retailers
Nordstrom debuts Friday at Twelve Oaks Biz-Retail
The project at a glance

What: The Shoppes at Gateway Park, a 300,000-square-foot shopping center.

Where: Eight Mile and Woodward on the northern edge of Detroit, adjacent to the Michigan State Fairgrounds.

Timetable: Sometime in late spring of 2008; completion date uncertain

Developer: General Growth Properties of Chicago.

Retail plans: J.C. Penney is pegged as the anchor store, with about 100,000 square feet. Also planned are five additional "junior box" retailers, totaling another 100,000 square feet; five restaurants, totaling about 30,000 square feet; and up to 40 smaller shops.
What's next
Developers will submit final site plans by the end of this year. Construction is slated to begin by mid- to late spring 2008.
Related Articles and Links

Printer friendly version
Comment on this story
Send this story to a friend
Get Home Delivery
Today's Most E-Mailed Stories

Chrysler up next for UAW
Detroit mall still on track
Profane college cheers anger alumni, fans
Sales tax boost on table
Head of shuttered school criticized
Bearcat booster: Kelly fuels Cincinnati's rise to next level
Can-do attitude: Do-it-yourselfers turn dated bungalow into belle of the block
GM deal rejected by some plants
Jailed fed prosecutor commits suicide
BODY SCANS: More buy medical peace of mind
[+] More

DETROIT -- An $80 million development that would bring a full-scale shopping center to the city will break ground later than originally expected but is still drawing strong support from local officials and interest from potential retailers, the project's developers said this week.

The Shoppes at Gateway Park, an open air mall, is slated to bring more than 330,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space to the intersection of Eight Mile and Woodward on the northern edge of Detroit, adjacent to the Michigan State Fairgrounds.

Construction of the project, announced in March, was originally set to begin by the end of this year and was to be completed by March 2009. The groundbreaking now is planned for mid- to late spring of next year, with the opening date of the center still uncertain.

The timetable was pushed back because the developer, General Growth Properties, based in Chicago, first wanted to secure enough tenant interest to ensure the project's success.

"Because we're attracting a number of big-name tenants, we're choosing to hold off on making any official announcement (of tenants) at this time," said Lyneir Richardson, vice president of urban retail development for General Growth Properties. "But I can say for certain that the interest is there, deals are happening and we expect to have work started on the center sometime in late spring of next year."

The shopping center plan calls for one anchor store, five smaller "junior box" retailers, up to five restaurants and up to 40 smaller shops, likely to be a mix of locally owned stores and national chains.

Investors in the project said in March that department store J.C. Penney had penned a letter of intent to serve as the anchor tenant for the project. Penney's officials confirmed that letter of intent was sent in March, but an official lease agreement has yet to be signed.

If Penney's does locate to the new mall, it would be Detroit's only department store. The last one, Crowley's in the New Center area, closed in the late 1990s.

Richardson confirmed that Penney officials were still on board, but he declined to name any other prospective mall tenants.

Officials confident in mall

Bernie Schrott of Bloomfield Hills, the largest of the center's minority investors, is confident the mall will be built, and that General Growth Properties will attract a healthy mix of retailers and stimulate other development in the region.

A real estate investment trust established in 1954, General Growth Properties is a heavyweight in the shopping center business. The company operates malls in 44 states. It has 12 shopping centers in Michigan, including Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights and Southland Center in Taylor.

"I still think this is a great project for Detroit and it will be an instigator for even more growth in the community," said Schrott, who was a key player in getting the project off the ground. "This isn't a flash-in-the pan idea. It will happen and spur other great things to happen."

City officials remain confident in the project, as well, and are awaiting site development plans.

"As far as we know, the project is still a go, and we think it's a good thing for the city," said Matt Allen, spokesman for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. "The mayor has been a champion of new retail, and this is exactly in line with that mission."

Penney's could be key player

The developer's road improvement and traffic abatement plan for the project has received the go-ahead from the state, according to Tami Salisbury, executive director of the Eight Mile Boulevard Association.

The developer is now drawing up final site plans for city approval, a process Salisbury expects to be finished by year's end.

"There's a lot of momentum on this project," Salisbury said. "The city wants this and people around here need this."

Salisbury said a study released Monday by Social Compact Inc. that estimated Detroit's population stood at nearly 62,000 people more than official Census estimates has boosted interest in the project.

"The study also showed that expendable income here is much higher than the Census estimated," Salisbury said. "That's important as we convince retailers that this is a viable place to be."

It's still not an easy sales job, retail analysts said. The location of The Shoppes at Gateway and the tough nature of doing business in Detroit are real hurdles.

Yet landing Penney's as the anchor store would go a long way toward ensuring the mall's development and success, one analyst said. "Penney's is trying to go after a higher line of customer," Birmingham retail consultant Ed Nakfoor said, "and they could provide this mall the traction they need to get going,"

You can reach Nathan Hurst at (313) 222-2293 or nhurst@detnews.com.

More Business Headlines

Oct 7, 2007, 3:00 AM
This has been around for awhile. Is that a new article, or did you just dig that up somewhere?

Oct 7, 2007, 3:08 AM
It was on DetNews.com. I'm happy that it seems to still be on track, but disappointed that it's right on the boarder. It looks like they are scared to go deeper into Detroit and actually court the citizens of the city as opposed to courting them and covering their ass by courting suburbanites. Meh, I'll take what we can get.

Oct 7, 2007, 1:56 PM
I couldn't agree more. Palmer Woods has some beautiful homes but the retail is dismal. Hopefully, this will spur on more renovations of all kinds and re-create a nice neighborhood on both sides of 8 Mile.

Oct 7, 2007, 1:59 PM
I think this should be built farther down. and I really don't think suburbanites are going to a mall near the state fair grounds. Probably the most dangerous section of Detroit.

Oct 7, 2007, 6:08 PM
Palmer Woods is the most dangerous secton of Detroit? LOL. As far as putting it further south, I don't see what the difference is. Detroit has three malls right outside the city boundaries that city residents frequent. It'll be good to have at least one where they can stay within the city.

Oct 7, 2007, 8:51 PM
no palmer woods is nice. beautiful mansions and well kept landscapes. but alot of murders have been sprouting right around there.

Oct 7, 2007, 9:23 PM
Is that anecdotal, or do you actually have a source?

the pope
Oct 8, 2007, 3:26 PM
Is that anecdotal, or do you actually have a source?

I blame ferndale.

Oct 8, 2007, 3:31 PM
Very good news for the city's office market which usually been the weakest in the region.

Detroit tops in 3Q office rentals
Troy, Southfield see higher vacancy rates

By Daniel Duggan

In the third quarter, Detroit filled more office space than all other areas in the region, according to data released by real estate services company CB Richard Ellis.

The growth came at the expense of suburban office markets which have lost tenants and are seeing higher vacancy rates. Southfield, for example, is now 30.5 percent vacant for all office classes.

“What's exciting is to see the city outperform the suburbs,” said Mike Gerard, managing director in the Southfield CB Richard Ellis office. “It doesn't seem to be an anomaly either. It appears to be the result of expansion, relocation and growth.”

The city showed positive net absorption of 240,000 square feet in the quarter, while Southfield had negative absorption of 110,000 square feet and Troy had negative 259,000 square feet, according to CB Richard Ellis figures.

Absorption is the difference between space leased and space vacated.

Much of the Detroit activity revolved around leasing in One Kennedy Square, where 97,000 square feet was leased between Marketing Associates moving from Bloomfield Hills and Health Plan of Michigan moving from Southfield. Univision Detroit also moved from Troy to 6,000 square feet in the Penobscot Building.

In office sales transactions, the region had a down quarter, according to third-quarter figures compiled by the real estate firm Grubb & Ellis.

Total office sales were $19.1 million, down from $65.2 million in the second quarter and $58.2 million in the third quarter of 2006.

In the overall commercial real estate market, the third quarter showed $180.8 million in sales, down significantly from the first quarter with $452.2 million, but higher than the $154.5 million in third quarter 2006.

Fallout in the commercial real estate market stemming from the subprime lending issues in residential real estate is largely to blame for the lower numbers, but that has been a national problem, said Robert Leonard, senior director with Farmington Hills-based iCap Realty Advisors, which arranges lending for commercial transactions.

He said lending has been more expensive than earlier this year, but some of the commercial real estate deals that were put on hold are being negotiated again as investors have accepted the higher rates.

“Looking at the pipeline, we're seeing an uptick,” he said. “Deals are starting to get done again; people are realizing that construction, acquisitions still need to be financed.”

Daniel Duggan: (313) 446-0414, dduggan@crain.com
This space for rent

Metro Detroit Class A office vacancy rates in 3Q:

Ann Arbor: 14.2%

Auburn Hills: 26.1%

Birmingham/Bloomfield Hills: 13.9%

Dearborn: 10.5%

Detroit: 16.3%

Farmington Hills/West Bloomfield Township: 15.7%

I-275 Corridor: 14.2%

Macomb County: 29.4%

Rochester: 26.7%

Southfield: 25%

Troy: 21.8%

Overall: 24.8%

Source: CB Richard Ellis

Oct 8, 2007, 4:54 PM
that's good for Detroit. if only instead of the suburbs suffering jobs, Detroit gets them from ohio. the region needs to be strong to grow not just the city.

Oct 8, 2007, 6:53 PM
Hamilton Anderson Associates, who co-designed the MGM Grand Detroit is renovating a bit of the First National Building for a move. MGM has contracted them to do a huge project in Las Vegas as well, prompting them to open an office in Las Vegas. Good to see this once small firm growing, yet so committed to Detroit. I would have posted the article, but it's on Crain's, so here's the link:


the pope
Oct 9, 2007, 12:53 AM
that's good for Detroit. if only instead of the suburbs suffering jobs, Detroit gets them from ohio. the region needs to be strong to grow not just the city.

Nothing like growing at the expense of others.

Organic growth=good
cannibalism=bad (whether intra or interstate)

Oct 10, 2007, 3:37 PM
Brandy Baker / The Detroit News

A barricade blocks access to this marble grand staircase. The new hotel is slated to open in December 2008.

Restoring the glory: Renovation of hotel unearths previous beauty

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

Now that the decades of debris and tattered walls are gone, the massive steel frame of the iconic Fort Shelby building is on full display on the second floor just outside the former Crystal Ballroom.

For the crew behind the $82 million renovation of the downtown Detroit building, the steel structure provokes as much awe as some of the ornate decor that managed to survive years of neglect.

The black steel frame looks as solid as the day it was built around 1927, when famed architect Albert Kahn designed an addition to the hotel. The frame, about 30 feet long and running from floor to ceiling, features sensuous curves that once housed elegant doors and windows.

"It's just amazing," said Mike Prochaska, spokesman for the group converting the building into the Fort Shelby Doubletree Guest Suites Detroit. He ran his hand over the symmetrical rows of rivets in the beams, adding, "It's a big reason why we can save this building -- and why it's worth saving."

The solid beauty of the Fort Shelby is much more clear -- and so are the answers to questions about the scope of the restoration -- after months of removing tons of junk and asbestos. Should the old telephone switchboard be put on display in the WiFi-enabled main lobby? Yes. Can the enormous marble shoe shine stand be saved? Maybe. And can the ornate ceiling tiles of the Crystal Ballroom be restored? No, but they will be replicated.

"It's surprising how much we will be able to save," Prochaska said. The black steel frame is so impressive the owners are considering leaving it exposed to create a juxtaposition of industrial design next to the ornate ballroom.

The Fort Shelby Doubletree Guest Suites Detroit is slated to open in December 2008 with 204 rooms. The building will also include 63 upscale apartments that may become condominiums; a martini lounge; retail space that will include a national "upscale restaurant" to be announced; and 38,000 square feet of conference space. The residences are slated to open May 2009.

The cleanup phase should be completed next month, but for now, the Fort Shelby is stripped to its core. Prochaska and others said they enjoy the moments when its original elegance is revealed, such as when the top of the building, full of ornate limestone design, was scrubbed clean.

"Now it sparkles," Prochaska said.

That's something no one has said about the Fort Shelby in a long time.

You can reach Louis Aguilar at (313) 222-2760 or laguilar@detnews.com.

Oct 10, 2007, 7:06 PM
Here is a picture of the Fort shelby from the outside. Photo from Detroit news.

http://img166.imageshack.us/img166/2804/derod9.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

This building has potential to look really nice.

Oct 11, 2007, 1:00 AM
Next up for Brush Park is "The Avenue" by Crosswinds.

Though decent, I think Cw needs to diversify their designs. Everything is starting to look the same. And Brush Park could use a variation in heights. I think of the Buildings on John R. and that taller one on Adelaide and how nicely they fit into the neighborhood vibe and urbanity.

I DO like the stairs right up to the sidewalk, though.
coming soon

Oct 11, 2007, 4:20 AM
Where are these going to be built?

Oct 11, 2007, 5:50 AM
I actually like that design. It is nicer than the suburban-style townhouses they started out with. This is more a "Detroit-urban"-style townhouse. I just hope that they really do use brick on at least three sides (assuming that these are detached "duplexes".) Also, I hope that if they are detached, that they are spaced no more than five or six feet apart.

Oct 11, 2007, 10:42 PM
The Avenue looks like a fairly decent design, safe, but as Hud said, definitely more in line with Detroit's style than previous housing attempts.

Oct 11, 2007, 11:46 PM
I agree. That style building looks alot like Detroit than previous housing developments. By the way does anyone know when the Book-Cadillac is going to open?

Oct 12, 2007, 12:56 AM
Wait. The Book Cadillac is reopening?


No, that design is incredibly bad. All Crosswinds did was treat the Garden Lofts and New Center Lofts as if they were a big old cake. They sliced it up, and scattered all the wedges throughout Brush Park. The design is plain, its prefab, uninspiring, unoriginal, and...

I think what's deceving you guys is the landscaping. Go back to the picture and take away the landscaping...which you know won't be there in reality, except for a few new already-dead trees a-la Garden Lofts.

Oct 12, 2007, 3:47 AM
I agree that they won't look nearly as great as what was built in the early 1900's, but I think they blend better than what sits along Woodward. At least you won't find this style of architecture being built in the suburbs.

While I think this is what they were inspired by:

I think this is what they'll end up with:

But in the end, I think that however it turns out, it'll look better than this:

Ultimately, I would like to see them graduate to this:

(Those are probably my favorite residential buildings in the city.)

Oct 14, 2007, 3:05 PM
Was anyone downtown yesterday to see or get more pics of this?

Gary Malerba / Special to The Detroit News

Helicopters deliver equipment onto Book Cadillac building's roof

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Everything about the iconic Book Cadillac building in downtown Detroit is epic -- its history, its sad decline and its $180 million revival.

Little surprise, then, the mere delivery of elevator equipment and pieces of the ventilation system was another dramatic event in the restoration of the architectural gem. The equipment was airlifted onto the Book's roof by helicopter, an effort that closed ten city blocks for several hours, attracted a small crowd of spectators and inspired awe even among the workers involved.

A Sikorsky S-61 helicopter -- the same type of helicopter used by the U.S. Presidents- airlifted about 8 tons of equipment from an empty parking lot in front of the former Detroit Free Press building to the 33-story roof, landing the heavy machinery just between two million-dollar penthouses.

It took ten separate airlifts to move the machinery and with each lift, it appeared that everyone with a camera phone recorded the moment, including several of the Detroit police officers who were blocking the streets for safety. Some of the construction crew brought along their children and several young boys ran along the street following the two block path of the lift and pointed to the air-bound helicopter as they ran.

It took the helicopter less than an hour to delivery machinery to building. It would have taken a crane about a week. And frankly, it probably wouldn't have been as cool as the helicopter and the Book Cadillac is all about cool, urban moments.

First opened in 1924, the Book-Cadillac was the city's pre-eminent hotel for six decades. Presidents, movie stars and high-rolling gangsters stayed there. It closed in 1984 and became a 33-story symbol of Detroit's decline. At one point, city officials couldn't even raise enough money to tear it down.

In June 2006, the Ferchill Group finally sealed a complex deal involving 22 different sources of financing to revive the building, ending a year long effort by city officials to save the Book.

The restoration will convert the Louis Kamper-designed building into a 455-room Westin Hotel and 67 upscale condominiums. The interior will include the return of Italian Renaissance-style ballrooms, three nationally known restaurants, a spa and sports bar.

The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit is slated to open in late 2008


A helicopter lands in a parking lot prior to be used to lift heavy equipment onto the roof of the Book Cadillac

Plumber foreman Edward Fritz, 40, of Chesterfield Township secures a cable connected to a crane to equipment to be lowered onto the surface of the parking lot, prior to being airlifted via helicopter onto the roof of the Book Cadillac building

A Sikorsky S-61 -- the same type of helicopter used by the U.S. Presidents -- airlifted about eight tons of equipment from an empty parking lot in front of the former Detroit Free Press building to the 33-story roof, landing the heavy machinery just between two million-dollar penthouses


12 floors or more
Oct 14, 2007, 4:43 PM
I'm so glad to see Detroit is finally getting some project proposals. Especially since the crisis the state is going through.

Oct 15, 2007, 11:11 PM
The demolition of old Tiger Stadium began today (10.15.07) :(

Oct 16, 2007, 12:36 AM
The Book looks like it's going to be truly great. I just hope that soon the Griswold will began construction so we can start another construction project.

Oct 16, 2007, 8:39 AM
I'm curious what everyone thinks of this story, and what potentially could go in there if resold by the union. Ideas?

Woodward condo project falters

Campus Martius landmark is key part of downtown's rebirth

Robert Snell / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- The repo man could soon seize a landmark 25-story skyscraper near Campus Martius, according to court records that detail troubles behind a high-profile project that once promised to bring $1 million condos to the lower Woodward area.

A district judge Thursday could decide whether the 1001 Woodward office building, formerly called the First Federal building, will revert to its previous owner, a local union pension fund, within 90 days.

Touted in 2004 as the third jewel in the renewal of Campus Martius, the 1001 Woodward project is in jeopardy of becoming arguably the most visible failure along the resurgent Woodward financial district, one that comes amid a slew of condominiums and loft projects downtown and a cooling office market.

"Our hope is someone else picks up the deal," said George Jackson, president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., a public/private city agency promoting Detroit development.

A company headed by Warren-based developer Lorenzo Cavaliere owns the skyscraper but has defaulted on a land contract and owes more than $5.3 million, according to Wayne County Circuit Court records. A judge Thursday could order that the skyscraper revert back to the Operating Engineers' Local 324 pension fund, the previous owners, unless Cavaliere's company pays the balance of the land contract.

Defaults aren't limited to the building itself, which has some commercial tenants.

Cavaliere's company and a related group owe more than $23 million in land contract payments and loans for the skyscraper and an adjacent 12-story parking garage, according to court records. The related company also owes about $1 million in loans to a private economic development fund and $500,000 to the city through a taxpayer-funded group.

"We wish we weren't in this position," said Edward "Chip" Miller, vice chairman of the Detroit Investment Fund, the economic development arm of Detroit Renaissance, a community group, which is suing to recoup the $1 million loan. "It's one of those situations I'm not sure I can say a lot about. I don't think we're going to be hurt badly."

Hopes high in 2004

The condo/office project was unveiled in 2004 and was expected to complement the $350 million Compuware headquarters across Woodward and the $15 million Campus Martius Park.

The state gave 1001 Woodward developers tax credits worth $3.8 million and up to $1 million in local and state taxes in November 2004 to revitalize the area. The skyscraper and garage were expected to create up to 400 jobs and generate more than $50.5 million in private investment.

"These highly underutilized properties have burdened Detroit for years," Gov. Jennifer Granholm said when announcing the credits for the Woodward project and one other. "With the backing of state assistance, these sites will create attractive new places for people to live and work in the city."

Plans eventually called for single-unit condos, penthouses and "sky mansions."

Instead, the 1001 Woodward project and parking garage are creating past-due bills and lawsuits involving two companies linked to Cavaliere. One of them, 1001 Woodward Office LLC, owns the skyscraper and an affiliated company, 1001 Woodward Parking LLC, owns the adjacent parking deck.

Cavaliere's company bought the skyscraper on a land contract for $4.7 million more than three years ago from a limited liability company that represents the Operating Engineers' Local 324 pension fund.

Cavaliere's company has since defaulted and owes more than $5.3 million, according to court records.

If the pension fund gets the building back Thursday, Cavaliere's company would have 90 days to pay off the land contract and keep the skyscraper, according to Larry Dudek, a lawyer representing the company set up by the pension fund.

"They either want to get paid or get the building back," Dudek said.

The building is in a prime spot, but there are fewer commercial real-estate loans being issued amid a subprime loan crisis, Dudek said.

So the pension fund could get stuck with a building it can't sell.

"They won't know until they reacquire the asset," he said.

It was unclear whether Cavaliere's company would try to reclaim the property if it is forfeited. "I really can't discuss my client's intentions," Cavaliere attorney Mark A. Stern said.

The skyscraper is located near two spots being offered by the city to Quicken Loans in hopes it will relocate its headquarters there. One site is the old Hudson's department store site on Woodward, just north of Compuware and 1001 Woodward.

Considering possibilities

The Hudson's site could be less attractive to Quicken if the nearby 1001 Woodward becomes blighted, but the adjacent parking deck could be leased for Compuware's employees, Jackson said. There are other possible companies that could redevelop the skyscraper, he said. "We have had a number of people express interest in it," he said.

The growth corporation, through the Detroit Downtown Development Authority, has $500,000 in taxpayer money invested in the parking deck. A company linked to Cavaliere received the $500,000 loan and land to build the parking deck three years ago and has defaulted and owes more than $471,000, according to Glen Long Jr., the Detroit development agency's chief financial officer.

Brian Holdwick, the agency's vice president of business and financial services, doesn't consider the project dead, but said it is a victim of changing market conditions. He said the office market has dried up downtown and the parking garage, while initially built to support a skyscraper project that was designed with more commercial space, is too big for a predominantly residential project.

Meanwhile, there are now more options for people who want to buy condominiums or lofts downtown, Holdwick said. "It's more competitive," he said.

Court records describe tough conditions inside the twin-office complex and a string of bad debts tied to Cavaliere.

Occupancy is less than 10 percent, and the air conditioning didn't work in July, forcing tenant Charter One Bank to spend $25,896 on portable air-conditioning units, according to court records. "It was bad enough that the bank was forced to close," temporarily, Charter One attorney Kevin Kalczynski said.

DTE Energy sent a shutoff notice Sept. 27, and two commercial tenants have indicated they plan to move out, court records show. Plus, Cavaliere's company owes more than $227,000 in property taxes, according to the Wayne County Treasurer's Office.

The land contract isn't the only financial problem facing the building and adjacent parking deck.

A company affiliated with Cavaliere was sued in April in Wayne County Circuit Court after it defaulted on an $18 million loan from Charter One Bank that paid for the parking deck construction, according to court records. Cavaliere's office is located in the same office suite in Warren as the company that received the loan, which was backed by a guaranty from Cavaliere and others.

That company, 1001 Woodward Parking LLC, failed to make loan payments earlier this year, and the loan amount had grown to $18.3 million by April, court records indicate.

The same company also defaulted on a $1 million loan from the Detroit Investment Fund, and the fund is suing Cavaliere and others to recoup the money. Cavaliere is named in that lawsuit because he issued a guaranty.

You can reach Robert Snell at (313) 222-2028 or rsnell@detnews.com

Oct 16, 2007, 7:31 PM
I'm thinking Bank of America tower come 2009.;)

What better way could they make their presence known in Detroit than by buying the building and putting a bank branch on the bottom floor.

Oct 24, 2007, 4:11 AM
I agree, despite the location I never really liked the of 1001 going condo. In the tight real estate market, I'd much rather see units that could go into historic buildings or new construction, not being drained away by 60's era office buildings.

Oct 28, 2007, 10:20 PM
Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007

Greektown Casino Area

Lil' Stubby





For comparison, the height of the hotel is one level above the lower floors that protrude further out. Those levels are equal in height to the top of the garage. So, in short, the hotel is currently one level above the garage (stairwell) complete.






.......from earlier this summer.......

Sales office for the Westin Book Cadillac

Oct 29, 2007, 10:45 PM
What is the addition going to be on the current casino building by the people mover tracks. To be more specific, in pictures 2 and 3 what is being constructed in the foreground of the photo. Is this going to be street level retail? I think Greektown Casino should have to add some street level retail to their redo.

Oct 29, 2007, 10:51 PM
No, it's not going to be street level retail because it is being built over Lafayette Avenue. I'd imagine it is just an extension of the gaming floor on the second level. In other words, you will still be able to travel through on westbound Lafayette like you did before.

Oct 30, 2007, 2:28 AM
Anyone else think it's just bad planning to have a church next to a casino? I mean honestly. And I'm not even religious.

Oct 30, 2007, 4:06 AM
No. In fact Greektown has three churches in the immediate vicinity. Hell there is jail or two right there as well.

Oct 30, 2007, 11:13 PM
What's even worse planning is the poorest major city surrounded by the richest sprawl arguably in the entire world.

the pope
Oct 30, 2007, 11:43 PM
What's even worse planning is the poorest major city surrounded by the richest sprawl arguably in the entire world.

Funny, I was going to say, "your face!"


Oct 31, 2007, 12:57 AM
I don't get it.

Oct 31, 2007, 2:29 AM
does that church in Greektown still do mass?

Oct 31, 2007, 2:46 AM

their website (http://www.oldstmarysdetroit.com/)

Cleveland Brown
Oct 31, 2007, 3:06 AM
Anyone else think it's just bad planning to have a church next to a casino? I mean honestly. And I'm not even religious.

I guess you don't drive down Puritan, Wyoming, Livernois et al much:

Church, liquor store, abandoned building, beauty parlor, church, church, liquor store, barber shop, church, school, auto shop, church, gas station, fast food, nightclub, church.

Oct 31, 2007, 12:57 PM
That may be the BEST place for a church. Go to the casino, lose all your money, go next door and pray.

I love the look of the new casinos and the shot in the arm it's given the city but I'm not a fan of the idea of them. Too many people's lives get upended and that's not good for a city that's already fighting so many demons.

Having said that, I did like the contrast of old and new. That's the charm of Greektown.

Oct 31, 2007, 7:34 PM
On the contrary, the city hasn't really seen a jump in any casino-related crime nor any of the social-ills that were supposed to tag along. I think most people go in knowing how much they are willing to lose ($20, $50, $200, etc.) and cut themselves off after that. It's no different than going to a nightclub and spending $70. Or spending $50 on dinner and a movie. You know that you are going in expecting to come out with less money in your pocket.

Nov 2, 2007, 2:16 PM
I'm not saying gambling is the end of western civilization. I would just rather see Detroit built on industry producing goods that people make and other people buy. Whether it's minivans or microchips, I just believe it creates a more stable environment in the long run. And as with any social vice, it's only the 5% that will have a problem controlling it. I hate to see those 5% going into forclosure and getting divorced. I know this is off topic but, for better or worse, it's part of Detroit's development.

Nov 2, 2007, 2:50 PM
I know alot of people who go to those casinos and alot of them are wealthy. They lose alot of cash and then the casino sends them on a cruise. Then they go back and lose or win but they're rich enough that it doesn't matter that they lost a grand overnight. They love the casino.

Nov 2, 2007, 7:05 PM
I don't think the city is betting exclusively on Casinos for an economic turnaround. Really I see them as simply a tool for rightfully taxing the suburban crowd.;)

Nov 3, 2007, 12:54 AM
Anything new on moves into dt from the business community? I sure hope someday for an announcement for a 50+ story tower.

Nov 3, 2007, 3:26 AM
I don't think any company moving to downtown Detroit is going to build a 50 story tower anytime soon. The biggest shots of that happening are Rock Financial (which seems less likely in the midst of the mortgage crisis) or Bank of America (which is based entirely on the comments of one guy who says that traditionally BoA puts their HQs in downtowns.)

Nov 3, 2007, 3:58 AM
yeah Rock Financial is a far shot. I think for a little bit the whole country won't be doing any building with mortgage companies or banks.

Nov 4, 2007, 8:57 PM
Regarding the casino/church discussion. The casino also supports the church. I don't know by how much exactly, but that is also a benefit of being neighbors in the neighborhood.

Nov 6, 2007, 12:58 AM
November 03, 2007


So ugly, lol.




Nov 6, 2007, 6:40 AM
That's just nasty

Meanwhile the effort to demo part Tiger Stadium moved foward today

City seeking bids for demolition of Tiger Stadium

November 5, 2007



The demolition of historic Tiger Stadium is inching closer.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corp., a development arm of the city, issued a request for proposals last week seeking a demolition contractor to raze most of the old ballpark. Contractors have until Nov. 20 to put in bids.

The job would require saving a corner of the stadium for a community center and memorial.
Scott Veldhuis, project manager for the DEGC, said once bids are submitted, the DEGC will study them and make a recommendation to the city's Economic Development Corp., a quasi-public board that controls the stadium site. The EDC is expected to issue a demolition contract by mid-December.

If that schedule holds, demolition could begin around January or February.

The Detroit Tigers left the stadium after the 1999 season for Comerica Park. A lengthy debate over the stadium's fate led to the City Council approving Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's plan for the site in July.

The plan calls for razing about 90% of the stadium structure, preserving the playing field for youth baseball and other activities, saving a small portion of the stadium near home plate and redeveloping the land ringing the field as residential housing and stores.

The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, a Corktown neighborhood group, is working with the city on plans for creating the community center.

Contact JOHN GALLAGHER at 313-222-5173 or gallagher@freepress.com.


Nov 6, 2007, 8:42 PM
[QUOTE=Michi;3148219]November 03, 2007


Are those going to be shops or residential use? I wish they became clothing outlets. Detroit needs to get on the board on shopping.

Nov 7, 2007, 12:00 AM

Go here: http://www.hipcitydetroit.com/

Nov 7, 2007, 12:10 AM
thanks Michi! Sounds great! Does anybody know when they will be opening?

Nov 8, 2007, 7:10 PM
It would be nice to see more mixed-use development go up in the Brush Park area. Sure the population is still relatively small but I'm sure you could open a successful coffee shop or cafe...

Nov 10, 2007, 9:39 PM
last Tuesday a little old but here is some news on the riverfront.

Morgan Estates offering gated, luxury living on the riverfront
The east riverfront continues to see the development of exclusive communities that are predicated on access to the water. Morgan Waterfront Estates is a gated community of 43 homes and 16 condominiums that are priced up to $2.2 million.

There are eight different home styles available that range in size from 3,500 to 7,000 square feet and in price from $700,000 to $2.2 million. The names of the models are either Detroit-centric, suc as The Hudson and The Penobscot, or are maritime references like The St. Clair and The St. Lawrence.

The homes have full brick exteriors and three or four car garages as well as premium amenities like stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and hardwood and marble floors.

As for the condominiums, there are two floor plans that have two bedrooms and two that offer three bedrooms. They are all single floor layouts, and range in price from $228,000 to $500,000. The smallest unit is 1,315 square feet and the largest measures in at 1,810.

So far, three condominiums and 17 homes are sold, according to sales director Kim Hardy. "They like the gated community, they like the amenities and they like the water access," she says. "These homes are something like you've never had in the city of Detroit: million dollar homes that are brand-new."

Morgan Waterfront Estates is located south of Freud and west of Lycaste. Its sales office is open seven days a week from noon to 6 p.m. and can be reached at 313-822-9740.

Source: Kim Hardy, Morgan Waterfront Estates
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Neighborhoods: Jefferson East

Nov 12, 2007, 11:18 PM
Daniel Howes / The Detroit News
Quicken Loans Inc., one of Michigan's fastest-growing companies, will move its suburban headquarters to downtown Detroit, Chairman Dan Gilbert and Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick told me today.

The move, pending year-long studies of the so-called Hudson's site on Woodward and vacant Statler Hotel site, would consolidate at least 4,000 employees in the new Quicken headquarters from sites in Livonia and other suburbs. It also would turbocharge a corporate revival of downtown led by General Motors Corp., Compuware Corp., Ilitch Holdings Inc., new casino-and-hotel complexes and a vibrant entertainment district.

Gilbert and Kilpatrick envision the downtown headquarters as the centerpiece of a mega development combining retail, condominiums and a technology park -- the cornerstone of an initiative they're calling "Detroit 2.0."

"This is big," Kilpatrick said, describing a package of state and local incentives that could total as much as $200 million over the next 20 years. "This is a done deal. We've signed the development agreement. This is the largest package that we -- the city and state -- have put together to bring a company to downtown Detroit."

A news conference to announce the deal -- expected for months but delayed by protracted negotiations and a spreading mortgage industry meltdown that appears to have largely missed Quicken and its Michigan unit, Rock Financial -- is scheduled for noon Tuesday at Rock Financial Park on East Larned in Detroit.

The development agreement is only the first step. After the one-year study period, set to expire on Nov. 13, 2008, Quicken would have an 18-month "due diligence" period to finalize plans for either the city-owned Hudson's or the Statler site, controlled by the quasi-governmental Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

It's hard to overstate the economic and political significance for Kilpatrick and Detroit of Quicken's planned move downtown, a process likely to take at least three years before the first shovels go into the ground. This is a proverbial shot in the arm for a region desperate for some good news amid an almost weekly barrage of plant closings, restructurings, jobs cuts and public budget woes.

Gilbert's 'big-bang' in Detroit
Depending on the month, Michigan vies for national leadership in high unemployment, low job creation and rising home foreclosures and struggles with its enduring image as the epicenter of Old Economy America.

Add Detroit's reputation, much of it historically deserved, for urban decay, residential blight, anti-business sentiment, failing schools and violent crime and the Quicken decision seems all the more encouraging because it suggests real change is occurring amid brutal economic times.

That an Internet-driven lender touted as one of the country's best places to work, with operations in Cleveland and Arizona, with a business model spanning the entire country is choosing Detroit for its new headquarters says as much about the city as it says about Gilbert -- and it's all good.

"It's a Big Bang approach," said Gilbert, co-founder of Quicken and majority owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. "You can't have jobs until you have the companies. You can't have retail until you have jobs. We need to locate more and more entrepreneurs in a centralized hub that feeds off each other."

Quicken's development agreement ties up for one year two prime downtown sites -- Hudson's and the demolished Statler site on Grand Circus Park. The idea: Planners would be free to consider designs, engineering and the interests of entrepreneurs and other technology companies interested in joining the Quicken complex.

"Until we went public with this," said Gilbert, who notified Quicken employees of the company's decision by voice-mail late this afternoon, "it was very difficult to have discussions with other parties. This isn't about going out and raiding the suburban locations of companies."

He called Detroit "a great alternative now" and said a driver behind Quicken's downtown gambit is to jumpstart economic growth. "This is much bigger than a headquarters. We're calling it Detroit 2.0."

Postive tipping point reached
The mayor's right: This is huge, however much the move could be dismissed as a) simply a move from a near western suburb to downtown and b) the city's embrace of a mortgage lender whose industry is in turmoil amid declining home prices and the subprime mortgage meltdown.

But such a cynical view would be too simplistic. Quicken sells the vast majority of loans it writes, almost all of which are "non-recurring" and thus cannot end up back on Quicken's books. Think of it and its Rock Financial unit as loan marketers and originators, not loan holders and servicers, who may be affected less by a slowing housing than rivals.

"We've avoided 98 percent of the catastrophe that others have stepped into," Gilbert said. "As far as castrophic incidents that just does not exist."

If it did, why would Quicken's founder choose now -- as equity markets continue their swoon over, among other things, massive write-downs on mortgage-backed securities by such financial giants as Citicorp, Merrill Lynch and others -- to confirm the most open secret in the Detroit economic development game?

"For them to do this, they feel very strongly they will be a strong, viable company in the future," said George Jackson, president of the Detroit Economic Development Growth Corp. and a key negotiator in the deal. "This shows confidence in Quicken Loans' future. This shows confidence in Detroit. This is a real, favorable tipping point for downtown Detroit."

Nov 13, 2007, 12:18 AM
Woot! Still going to be a minimum of 3-6 years before a building is up and running. :) I guess this is cause for celebration, but the effects are a long way off yet.

Nov 13, 2007, 1:41 PM
Woot! Still going to be a minimum of 3-6 years before a building is up and running. :) I guess this is cause for celebration, but the effects are a long way off yet.

How long did it take Compuware to start construction?

Nov 14, 2007, 1:02 AM
Compuware announced in April 1999 that it was moving its headquarters to downtown Detroit. Construction started in September 2000 and the building first opened in December 2002. I know that it probably won't happen, but I would like to see Quicken open their building before 2010.

Nov 14, 2007, 3:02 AM
I think they will open in 2012. They have on year to decide where they are going to build , then they have to build the building. Let's just hope the building can get over 30 storys.

Nov 14, 2007, 3:13 AM
Thanks hudkina!

Since Dan Gilbert is a very eccentric individual, I can see him building a Comerica sized building or who knows maybe taller. He wants a Detroit 2.0, so time to replace the RenCen as the tallest. I think ePrize and the others will go on the Hudson block, since it can't go over 20 stories or something like that. I'm expecting something dramatic from this guy, if he truly wants to make a statement.

Nov 14, 2007, 3:23 AM
Thanks hudkina!

Since Dan Gilbert is a very eccentric individual, I can see him building a Comerica sized building or who knows maybe taller. He wants a Detroit 2.0, so time to replace the RenCen as the tallest. I think ePrize and the others will go on the Hudson block, since it can't go over 20 stories or something like that. I'm expecting something dramatic from this guy, if he truly wants to make a statement.

Maybe by making a statement he is saying by bringing business to Detroit which hasn't seen much of lately. I don't know if he would go that big and replace the Ren Cen, although I would love to see it. Only 4,000 workers that isn't enough to occupy that large of a building. Plus with the loan problems he might try to go conservative and just make a little 2.0.