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A Wave of Shopping Centers Coming to Suburban Detroit in 2016

12 Jun 2014, 12:30 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

New England Development, a real estate developer based in Newton, MA, is set to create an open-air retail center in Romulus, a small-sized suburban city located 23 miles from Detroit and roughly half an hour from the Canadian border.

Outlets of Michigan - Romulus MI

Outlets of Michigan – Romulus MI

The 325,000-square-foot outlet center will be called Outlets of Michigan and will be located right across Detroit Metro Airport, which is transited by around 32 million passengers annually, and at the intersection of Interstate 94 and Vining Road. Scheduled to open in 2016, Outlets of Michigan is expected to become the most convenient outlet destination in the region, serving the shopping needs of Ann Arbor, Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio.

According to a news release from the developer, the outlet center’s architectural style will reflect the unique character of Detroit, while the shaded pedestrian walkways are designed to enhance the visitor’s shopping experience. Though the developer hasn’t announced any store names yet, the 75 retailers that will lease space at the center will target more than 3.5 million people living within 30 miles of the proposed development site.

But Outlets of Michigan is not the only new retail project announced in the region. According to Crain’s Detroit Business, two other shopping centers are coming to suburban Detroit. A joint venture between Center Management Services Inc. of Birmingham and Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate Inc. of Cincinnati is currently building the Outlets of Southeast Michigan, a 330,000-square-foot outlet mall in the township of Chesterfield. Also located off Interstate 94, the shopping center will be completed in spring 2016 and will include more than 80 retailers. Meanwhile in Canton Township, Baltimore-based Paragon Outlet Partners will break ground next spring on a high-end outlet mall at the southeast corner of Interstate 275 and Ford Road. Spanning 375,000 square feet of space and aiming for a grand opening in the summer of 2016, Canton Outlets will feature as many as 100 stores.

Click here for more market data on Detroit.

Rendering courtesy of New England Development



Bedrock, Riverfront Holdings Grab More Real Estate in Downtown Detroit

6 Jun 2014, 1:52 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Riverfront Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of General Motors, grabbed four properties near the Detroit riverfront area and east of the Renaissance Center. As first reported by Crain’s Detroit Business, the acquisition encompasses three vacant buildings totaling nearly 31,000 square feet and a 0.8-acre surface parking lot. While the financial terms haven’t been disclosed, Crain’s said that the buyer was represented in the transaction by the Detroit office of CBRE Inc.

The largest and oldest asset in this bulk acquisition is the 12,700-square-foot structure sitting at 260 Schweizers Place that used to house the night club called Vondie’s on the River. The two-story building was constructed in 1885 and was previously owned by Handy Parking Inc.

The second building is located at 673 Franklin Street and has 9,600 square feet. According to Crain’s the 36-year-old building was previously owned by R.D. Franklin LLC and housed the Club Waterfall nightclub, McNarney’s Public House and a restaurant called Currents.

The third building that Riverfront Holdings purchased last month is an 8,400-square-foot  office structure located at 672 Woodbridge Street, while the surface parking lot is located at 689 Franklin Street between St. Antoine and Schweizers Place.

Another deal that recently made headlines involves Bedrock Real Estate Services, which reportedly acquired two mid-sized office buildings and a vacant lot in Detroit’s Capitol Park, adding more than 50,000 square feet to Dan Gilbert’s 8.2 million-square-foot real estate empire.

According to MLive.com, two of the properties—a six-story, 35,000-square-foot facility at 119 State Street and a five-story, 11,500-square-foot facility located at 45 W. Grand River Avenue—are in bad shape and will probably be redeveloped into retail buildings with apartments on the upper levels. The empty lot at 28 W. Grand River Avenue will be replaced by a new mixed-use building that will include apartments and ground floor retail space.

 

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Detroit Marriott Enters Last Chapter of Year-Long, $30 Million Renovation Process

28 May 2014, 4:22 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The $30 million renovation project that kicked off earlier this year at the 1,329-room Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center is moving forward with a complex makeover of the hotel’s meeting space. This is the last phase of the year-long remodeling process and will encompass 100,000 square feet of space spanning three floors and 34 separate meeting rooms.

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center

“We’re very excited to begin this next big step of a $30 million renovation that is an investment in the City of Detroit, as well as an investment in this Michigan landmark hotel,” said Shonda Johnson, area general manager of the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. “Our modernized, beautiful and more flexible meeting space will help draw more visitors and milestone events to our amazing city,” she added.

Estimated to be completed in December, this chapter in Marriott RenCen’s renovation will also be done in phases, enabling group functions to continue without disruption, and will focus on enhancing the conference spaces’ functionality and aesthetics, the hotel’s officials announced. Also included in this phase is the two-level concierge lounge located on the 56th and 57th floors which will be refurbished and reconfigured to resemble an automobile showroom.

Nicknamed Marriott RenCen, the 71-story hotel in Downtown Detroit is the tallest building in the city and the tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The landmark hotel was completed in 1977 and stands as the central tower in a group of seven interconnected skyscrapers known as The Renaissance Center. The Class A office complex was built for the Henry Ford Motor Company by New York-based Tishman Construction under plans designed by John Portman & Associates.

In 1996 the 5.5 million-square-foot mega-property was purchased by General Motors to serve as the company’s global headquarters. The 14-acre, Class A office center is one of the largest commercial complexes in the world. A veritable “city within a city,” it includes a shopping center, restaurants, banks, private clubs and a movie theater and even has its own zip code, 48243—housing more than 5,000 GM workers and 4,000 center tenant employees.

 

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Image via Marriott



Quicken Loans Starts Construction on 66,000 Sq. Ft. Technology/Data Center Outside Detroit’s CBD

22 May 2014, 1:52 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Quicken Loans Technology Center - Corktown, Detroit

Quicken Loans Technology Center – Corktown, Detroit

The site of a former industrial building sitting at the corner of Rosa Parks Boulevard and Porter Street in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit is being redeveloped into a new technology center by online mortgage lender Quicken Loans Inc. and its affiliate Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC.

According to Crain’s Detroit Business, in November 2013 the 38,000-square-foot industrial warehouse located at 1401 Rosa Parks was acquired for $625,000 by Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans who owns around 8 million square feet of real estate space in Detroit, ­through his real estate investment arm Rock ventures LLC. Reportedly, the single-story property was occupied by two tenants at the moment of sale—the Great American Truck Driving School and Concrete Cutting Co. —but the companies left the building shortly after the deal was closed.

The 66,000-square-foot Quicken Loans Technology Center is scheduled to open in January 2015 and will serve as a data center and office complex. Set to become Dan Gilbert’s first development project located outside Detroit’s Central Business District, the state-of-the-art technology center also marks Bedrock’s second ground-up development in the city after the Z Garage facility.

The concrete and glass structure was designed by Integrated Design Solutions of Troy with Turner Construction Co. in charge of construction, according to Crain’s. The technology center will include 10,000 square feet of server rooms featuring next-generation air conditioning systems to cool the servers, as well as training, office and support space. A news release by Quicken Loans states that half of the data center will be occupied by the company’s technology staff, while the remaining 33,000 square feet in the building will be available for lease when the center opens next January.

“Developing real estate that meets the needs of our family of companies and our tenants in the city of Detroit is our top priority at Bedrock,” said Jim Ketai, Bedrock Real Estate Services CEO and managing partner. “This is also a great opportunity for another top technology company to secure prime server and training space in Detroit,” he added.

Click here for more market data on Detroit.

Rendering via Quicken Loans



Opus Group Breaks Ground on 13-Story Luxury Housing Building in Ann Arbor

14 May 2014, 4:22 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Minnesota-based Opus Group and private investor Dennis Tice, who owns the Pizza House in Ann Arbor’s South University District, have teamed up to develop a new student housing high-rise near the University of Michigan campus.

ArborBLU - luxury student housing

ArborBLU – luxury student housing

Construction at ArborBLU is scheduled to break ground on May 15, roughly five months after the Ann Arbor Planning Commission and City Council approved the partnership’s plans to build a 13-story apartment structure atop the two-story restaurant which is located at 618 Church Street. As reported by MLive.com, two adjacent low-rise buildings—located at 624 Church Street and 1117 Willard Street, respectively—will be demolished to make room for the 83,807-square-foot residential tower.

Marketed as “University of Michigan’s newest luxury student housing” building, ArborBLU will be ready for occupancy in August 2015, just in time for the fall semester. According to Opus, the project was designed by J. Bradley Moore & Associates with Opus AE Group, LLC serving as the architect of record.

Estimated to cost around $17 million and projected to achieve LEED Silver certification, the luxury tower will have 123 urban loft-style apartments totaling 232 beds, offering a combination of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Amenities at ArborBLU will include a fitness studio on the second floor, study space, a rooftop lounge, bike storage, Wi-Fi access, in-house tanning  and free 24-hour delivery from Pizza House.

MLive.com also reveals that Opus and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority negotiated a parking agreement that will allow tenants and a number of Pizza House employees to use nearly 50 spaces from the parking garage on nearby Forest Avenue which is jointly owned by the city and the University of Michigan. According to Ann Arbor’s policies, the developer is allowed to lease parking spaces in the public garage for an initial period of 15 years followed by three five-year extension options.

Click here for more market data from the Detroit area.

Rendering of ArborBLU courtesy of The Opus Group



GM Breaks Ground on New Race Development Center in Pontiac

7 May 2014, 8:16 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

GM Performance and Racing Center - Pontiac MI

GM Performance and Racing Center – Pontiac MI

More than one year after announcing a $200 million investment to build a new 138,000-square-foot test wing in suburban Detroit, General Motors broke ground on a race engine design and development facility at its world powertrain headquarters in Pontiac, MI, the company announced recently.

The GM Performance and Racing Center (GMPRC) will also include an electric motor laboratory and gear center. The state-of-the-art facility is expected to continue to develop the most successful race engines for Chevrolet and Cadillac, while connecting its race engineers with GM’s global powertrain engineering teams to come up with more efficient and durable powertrains.

According to information from the motor company, the 85,000-square-foot GMPRC will become operational in mid-2015, when around 100 engineers and technicians from GM’s race engineering center in Wixom, MI, are expected to relocate to the new facility. At full build-out in early 2016, the new performance and racing center will employ 400 people coming from GM’s soon-to-be-closed facilities in Michigan (Warren), Indiana (Castleton) and California (Torrance)

“The GM Performance and Racing Center will serve as a resource to help our race teams and drivers continue to win races and championships,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, in a press statement. “It will also help advance technical sharing between racing and production engine programs,” he added.

Located at 777 Joslyn Avenue in Pontiac, the 450,000-square-foot GM Powertrain World Headquarters is one of the largest and most technically advanced powertrain development centers in the world. The center brings together more than 3,500 employees working on the design and development of engines, transmissions, hybrid and electric powertrains, and fuel cell technologies.

Meanwhile, GM is currently working on its second supercomputing facility in Metro Detroit which is expected to open officially in about two months. Construction at the GM Milford Proving Ground data center began in May 2013, shortly after the first facility opened in Warren. Totaling $546 million in equipment and infrastructure investment, the two data centers will oversee the company’s IT operations globally while ensuring a smarter and faster work environment.

Click here for more market data on Detroit.

 

Rendering courtesy of General Motors



Newly Renovated Federal Reserve Building to Become Home for Michigan’s Top Newspapers

30 Apr 2014, 5:28 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The former Federal Reserve Building located at 160 W. Fort Street in the heart of downtown Detroit will soon welcome three new tenants, according to the Detroit News.

Federal Reserve Building Detroit

Federal Reserve Building Detroit

Citing a company-wide email sent by Detroit Media Partnership CEO Joyce Jenereaux, the source reports that the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News and the media partnership plan to lease six full floors in the recently renovated historic building. Each newsroom will occupy its own floor of a little over 20,000 square feet, with the Free Press on the second and the News on the third. The Detroit Media Partnership and some undisclosed publications will lease the mezzanine and floors six to eight.

According to the quoted email, the newsrooms and the media partnership are expected to move into their new home by the end of September. It is unclear what will happen to the Albert Kahn-designed structure at 615 W. Lafayette Street, where the 141-year-old News has been headquartered since the grand opening in 1917.

The Detroit Media Partnership, which oversees business functions for both the Detroit News and the Free Press, has been looking for a new home for more than a year. According to an older news story by the Free Press, in early 2013 the media partnership announced plans to sell what was known as the “Detroit News Building” and relocate into more modern offices within the following 18 months even if a buyer was not found immediately.

Constructed in 1927 in a Classical Revival style, the structure at 160 W. Fort Street served as the Federal reserve Bank of Chicago Detroit Branch building until 2004 when the bank moved into new offices on Warren Avenue near Eastern Market. An eight-story glass and marble annex was added to the original four-story building during the 1949-1951 expansion.

In January 2012 the vacant asset was purchased by Dan Gilbert through his real estate arm Rock Ventures LLC, marking the billionaire’s ninth acquisition in Detroit. Shortly after changing hands, the 176,000-square-foot building embarked on a renovation and redesign process spearheaded by international architectural firm ROSSETTI—while the firm’s team of architects, planners and designers also relocated into 13,000 square feet on the fourth floor.

 

Image via Historic Detroit



Walsh College to Start $15 Million Renovation and Expansion Project

16 Apr 2014, 7:59 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A private college in suburban Detroit will embark on an 18-month renovation and expansion that will enhance campus-life experience. The Walsh College Board of Trustees recently approved the $15 million improvement project at the college’s existing campus building that was built in the 1970s.

Walsh College renovation and expansion

Walsh College renovation and expansion

According to a press release from the college, construction at the site located on Livernois Road in Troy is set to begin late this summer. The project is financed by a combination of investment and capital funds and private donations coming from alumni and other investors who will be offered donor-naming opportunities upon completion.

“This initiative underscores Walsh College’s long-term commitment to the growth and vibrancy that we see in southeast Michigan and Troy,” said President and CEO of Walsh College Stephanie Bergeron. “The improvements represent our high-quality educational programs, meet the needs of today’s students, and put a contemporary face on the Walsh College business brand,” she added.

Chicago-based Valerio Dewalt Train Associates—which also designed Walsh College’s Barry Center—is serving as the architect of the project which is the third and last phase of a complex redesign master plan that started 15 years ago, the Detroit Free Press reports. Under the newly approved redesign plans, Walsh College’s original building will be renovated and expanded into a two-story, 55,000-square foot facility. The stone, metal panel and brick structure will offer a student center focused on business-communication skills development, a student lounge and a student services center. The new facility will also include meeting spaces for private conversations that will allow students to network with each other, simulate workplace environments and connect with potential employers.

The college said it will pursue LEED certification for renovations at the main building, just like the Barry Center which was awarded LEED Gold certification in June 2010.

Walsh College was founded in Troy in 1992 as a private, non-profit business college offering undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees and certificate programs. There are about 4,200 students enrolled at the college’s locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township and Port Huron.

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Rendering courtesy of Walsh College



110-Room Hotel and Retail Project Coming to Downtown Ann Arbor

14 Apr 2014, 1:48 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A new hotel is set to rise on a 0.48-acre site at the corner of Huron and Ashley streets in downtown Ann Arbor if the development team receives the green light from the Planning Commission and City Council.

Ann Arbor - hotel and retail project by First Martin Corp.

Ann Arbor – hotel and retail project by First Martin Corp.

Plans for the $20 million project were submitted for review with the city last week by Ann Arbor-based First Martin Corp. The developer hopes to get the go-ahead in two or three months and start construction immediately.

First Martin, which owns the property at 116-120 West Huron Street, wants to replace the site with a 110-room extended-stay hotel that would cater to clients looking for short-term accommodation options. According to MLive.com, the property is currently occupied by two buildings—the Greyhound bus depot and Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors bureau—that will be  demolished as soon as the project is approved. One of the features that make this project unique is the fact that it will preserve a part of the bus depot façade while incorporating the sign into the design.

The plans jointly designed by Zivic & Hurdle Architects of Fairfarx, VA, and Hobbs + Black Architects of Ann Arbor include a seven-story structure that will incorporate a mix of hotel rooms ranging from studios to two-bedroom units, along with a hotel lobby on the first floor, meeting rooms and office space, a restaurant with sidewalk café and an exercise room, as well as a pool and patio. The developer hasn’t announced which national hotel chain was selected for the Ann Arbor location, but the new facility could open as a Residence Inn by Marriott—given Zivic & Hurdle’s vast experience designing hotels for this brand.

As for the project’s retail component, Crain’s Detroit Business reports that it will encompass around 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space along the Huron Street frontage and will be marketed by the Ann Arbor office of Colliers International Inc.

Click here for more market data on Detroit.

Rendering credits to Zivic & Hurdle Architects and Hobbs + Black Architects



Downtown Detroit Goes Residential: City Approves First Apartment Projects in Two Decades

8 Apr 2014, 1:11 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The Griswold - designed by Kraemer Design Group

The Griswold – designed by Kraemer Design GroupAs predicted in a market report that Multi-Housing News Online published recently, things are looking up for Detroit’s housing market. Two new apartment projects were approved by the city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) which is part of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp (DEGC), marking the first residential buildings to be developed in the downtown area in more than two decades.

The Roxbury Group got the green light to revive a long-stalled condominium project that was put on hold in the early planning stages back in 2008 when the recession hit hard Detroit. Called The Griswold, the project now calls for 80 market-rate units that will be built on top of an existing 10-story parking garage and retail building located at 150 Michigan Avenue, next to the historic Westin Book Cadillac Hotel and within walking distance from Campus Martius. The conceptual plans for the $22 million project were designed by local architecture firm Kraemer Design Group, while Walbridge Aldinger Co. will serve as the construction manager, Crain’s Detroit Business reports. The Griswold will comprise one-, two- and three-bedroom units that will be available for rent in 2015.

Statler City Apartments - designed by BKV Group

Statler City Apartments – designed by BKV Group

The second residential project that was authorized by the DDA board is Statler City, residential building with up to 250 apartments that Farmington Hills-based Village Green Cos. will develop at Washington Boulevard and Park Avenue. According to The Detroit News, the $35 million to $40 million rental building will rise on the site of the former Statler Hotel facing Grand Circus Park. The construction site, which is currently owned by the city, will be transferred to the developer for $1.

According to the DDA board, Statler City was designed by BKV Group of Minneapolis to meet the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Standards. The rental project includes a combination of housing ranging from 400-square-foot “micro-units” designed for young professionals to 1,200-aquare-foot apartments, as well as ground floor retail space, underground parking and a large-scale electronic screen facing Grand Circus Park. Developers estimate that Statler City Apartments could welcome its first residents in 2016.

“We have known for some time that people who want to live Downtown have found it very difficult to find apartments,” said in an official statement George W. Jackson, president and CEO of (DEGC), which will manage final development terms on behalf of the DDA. “These projects will go a long way toward meeting that demand.”

Click here for more market data on Detroit.

 

Renderings via DEGC

 

 







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