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$11.4 Million Renovation Plan Promises New Life to U-M’s Former Nuclear Building

10 Mar 2014, 3:36 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Ten years after beginning to decommission the Ford Nuclear Reactor, the University of Michigan (U-M) is preparing for a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion of the four-story building that is now entirely free of radiation.

The decommissioned building, which is located on U-M’s North Campus in Ann Arbor, was built in 1957 with a $1 million donation from Ford Motor Company. For more than 46 years the 28-foot-deep reactor was used by U-M’s academic researchers strictly for experiments and investigation of the peaceful uses of nuclear power in medicine, chemistry, physics, cellular biology, mineralogy, archeology, anthropology and nuclear science.

The 17,400-square-foot facility was officially shut down in July 2003 because of its extremely high maintenance costs. Ten years later U-M’s Board of Regents renamed the building the Nuclear Engineering Laboratories as the first step of the long-anticipated redevelopment. According to the Detroit Free Press, nuclear research will still be conducted inside the building using a miniaturized particle accelerator instead of the old reactor fueled by uranium-235.

Slated for completion in fall 2015, the $11.4 million redevelopment project will accommodate the expansion needs of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences in the College of Engineering. As detailed in U-M’s plans, the fourth floor of the former nuclear building will be reconverted into 5,200 square feet of office, research and conference space, while the building itself will be fully renovated to house research labs, testing areas and academic support spaces. The architectural firm SmithGroupJJR was selected by the U-M Board of Regents to create the design of the project.



CWD Real Estate Has Plans for New Hotel in Downtown Grand Rapids

3 Mar 2014, 10:05 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

 

CWD Real Estate - hotel project in Grand Rapids MI

CWD Real Estate – hotel project in Grand Rapids MI

With business going strong in the Grand Rapids area, the demand of more hotel space is growing as well. A new hotel project was announced earlier this month by CWD Real Estate Investment, the city’s largest real estate investment and property management firm.

The yet-to-be-named hotel will occupy an existing surface parking lot at the corner of Monroe Avenue and Louis Street NW and will be connected to 50 Monroe, a modern office building that was acquired by CWD in March 2012. As reported by the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the parking lot was purchased by CWD in April 2012.

“This site, which is literally in the center of our City, has been a parking lot for at least 30 years,” said in an official statement CWD co-managing partner, Sam Cummings. “We are thrilled with the prospect of adding an iconic structure to this important location and we hope to submit plans to the City of Grand Rapids Planning Department by late spring for construction to begin later this year.”

The conceptual plans were created by wHY Design’s internationally acclaimed architect Kulapat Yantrasast, who also designed the Grand Rapids Art Museum—a 125,000-square-foot ‘green’ building that became the first art museum in the world to receive LEED certification for environmental design.

According to the developer, the five-story hotel will include up to 150 rooms for guests who wish to stay five nights or more, as well as retail, restaurants and potentially residential units as part of a mixed-use project that aims to consolidate the city’s downtown area and the place to work, live and relax.

This is CWD’s first hotel project in Grand Rapids and comes shortly after the completion of renovations at the Ledyard Building, the Trust Building and 50 Louis, which also serves as the company’s new headquarters.

Click here for more market data for the Detroit area.

Rendering via CWD Real Estate



New Kellogg Service Center to create 600 Jobs in Grand Rapids

20 Feb 2014, 4:38 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Kellogg, the multinational cereal maker headquartered in Battle Creek, MI, announced plans for a regional service center in Grand Rapids that is part of the company’s four-year restructuring and efficiency program known as “Project K.”

5300 Patterson Avenue SE – Grand Rapids MI

The Global Business Services facility will be located at 5300 Patterson Avenue SE in a 395,000-square-foot office and industrial building that housed religious books seller Zondervan Publishing until 2013. According to the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Chicago-based investors Franklin Partners acquired the building in May last year in a $13.5 million deal that was brokered by Colliers International. In an effort to follow the market’s demand at the time, the new owners later went on to divide the mega-structure into two facilities, offering 100,000 square feet of Class A office space in one building and 200,000 square feet of industrial space in the other.

“Grand Rapids is a vibrant community and urban center of a growing region of more than 1 million people,” Kellogg President and CEO John Bryant said in a press statement. “As Michigan’s second-largest city, and a short distance from our headquarters, Grand Rapids is known for its proximity to major markets—including Chicago and Detroit—as well as affordable commercial space and a highly qualified workforce,” Bryant added.

MLive.com says Kellogg currently has two baking facilities in the Grand Rapids area: one is located at 310 28th Street Southeast and produces “Pop Tart” and “Special K” bars, and the other facility is located at 5353 Broadmoor Avenue Southeast and produces snack bars.

Kellogg, which has over 2,000 employees in Battle Creek, is expected to add 300 to 600 new hires in Grand Rapids—with roles varying from finance and information technology to supply chain and human resources—where it will fully occupy Franklin Partners’ 100,000-square-foot office building. According to an official statement from the company, the new regional service center is expected to open in the third quarter of 2014 when around 50 finance employees will relocate from the Battle Creek offices. The facility will become fully operational in 2016.

Image courtesy of Franklin partners



Friedman-led JV Grabs 430 KSF at Arboretum Office Park

13 Feb 2014, 3:58 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Arboretum Office Park – Farmington Hills, MI

Arboretum Office Park, a 600,000-square-foot business complex located at 34405-34605 W. Twelve Mile Road in Farmington Hills, was almost fully sold to a private partnership called Arboretum Acquisitions LLC.

As reported by Crain’s Detroit Business, the joint venture between Farmington Hills-based Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions and Kojaian Management Corp. of Bloomfield Hills (which was described as a “silent partner” with no leasing, management or construction role in the deal) recently purchased almost three quarters of the business complex in a $10 million transaction that was brokered by Jones Lang LaSalle on behalf of the owner. According to the news source, the asset was previously owned by Burton-Katzman LLC of Bingham Farms.

The Friedman/Kojaian partnership now owns four office buildings—Arboretum I (115,000 square feet), Arboretum II (129,000 square feet), Arboretum III (163,000 square feet) and Arboretum R (20,000 square feet)­—totaling around 430,000 square feet of space along the Twelve Mile Corridor in Farmington Hills, just 30 minutes from Downtown Detroit. The four buildings are interconnected by enclosed walkways, allowing for convenient transit throughout the complex. The office spaces available for lease range from 1,000 to 350,000 square feet, including a corporate headquarters facility with visibility from I-696 and Twelve Mile Road. According to an official statement, Friedman plans new landscaping, as well as renovating the buildings’ exteriors and remodeling lobbies with high-end modern finishes.

Arboretum IV, the 114,000-square-foot building that wasn’t included in the sale and is still owned by Burton-Katzman LLC, is 69 percent leased and continues to be managed by Signature Associates Inc. of Southfield, MI.

 

Image via Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions



New Emergency Department Opens at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital

7 Feb 2014, 3:20 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital – New Emergency Department

Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Sinai-Grace Hospital recently unveiled its brand new Emergency Department facility in northwest Detroit—a long overdue hospital addition that took two years to complete.

Expected to serve 100,000 to 125,000 patients visiting the hospital every year, the new emergency department is the largest construction project in northwest Detroit in more than ten years. It occupies 59,000 square feet of space at 6071 W. Outer Drive—more than double the size of the old ER—and features 42 large, hard-walled patient exam rooms that ensure privacy and increased comfort for patients that receive care, as well as new trauma rooms equipped with state-of-the-art lifesaving technology for major accidents or disasters that require maximum medical care.

“This is an exciting time for our beloved community in northwest Detroit, who this hospital has served for more than 100 years,” said in a public statement Sinai-Grace President Reginald Eadie, M.D. “With this new Emergency Department, our patients will have a more comfortable, aesthetically pleasing facility with state-of-the art equipment and the privacy they so deserve when receiving care from our incredible physicians and staff,” he added.

DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital’s new Emergency Department facility is part of a $77 million renovation and expansion project, designed by SmithGroupJJR of Ann Arbor, that will continue until 2015. Upon completion DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital will have an expanded Intensive Care Unit fitted with the latest medical equipment, a larger front lobby, an expanded Radiology Department with renovated CT, X-Ray and ultrasound areas located close to the ER for quick service.

Rendering courtesy of  SmithGroupJJR



Orion Construction, 616 Development Move Forward with Residential Projects in West Michigan

30 Jan 2014, 2:57 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Grand Villages student housing in Allendale Township

Orion Construction, a real estate development and management company based in Grand Rapids, is working on a student housing complex in Allendale Township.

Detroit Free Press reports that the $20 million project will occupy an empty 20-acre site located at 5050 Pierce Street near the Grand Valley State University campus and owned since 2013 by Grand Villages—a joint venture of Orion partners Gary Postma and John Wheeler along with Alan Hoffman as majority investor.

Phase I of the project, which broke ground on January 23, is estimated to cost $7.5 million. When completed in August this year, it will provide one fraternity house and five sorority houses ranging in size from 9,800 square feet to 12,000 square feet. Each house will feature 14 to 17 bedrooms, according to the news source. The second phase of the Grand Villages student housing project is set to begin as soon as the initial phase is completed.

820 Monroe Avenue – Grand Rapids

In further West Michigan residential news, MLive.com reports that the former Sackner Products Co. building will be converted into a residential structure in a $21.8 million venture by Lofts on 820 LLC—a limited liability company associated with 616 Development, a boutique urban development company focused on revitalizing underutilized historic buildings in Grand Rapids and beyond.

Built in 1920 with multiple additions over the following three decades, the four-story structure served as a manufacturing site for the Sackner Products Company. Since the 1980s the 156,600-square-foot building has been used for office and retail; in October 2013 it was acquired by Lofts on 820.

The refurbished building located at 820 Monroe Avenue will have only 120,000 square feet of usable space and will include 86 market-rate apartments, as well as new retail and office spaces totaling 27,000 square feet.

Rendering of Grand Villages credits to Orion Construction; 820 Monroe Avenue image via Google Maps



Non-Profit Continues Blight Fight in Brightmoor

24 Jan 2014, 6:42 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The Detroit Blight Authority, a public-private initiative funded in 2013 and led by Bill Pulte, managing partner of private equity fund Pulte Capital Partners LLC, is moving forward with its plan to eradicate blight in Detroit.

As recently reported by Crain’s Detroit Business, the nonprofit wants to demolish an additional 21-block area in Brightmoor, one of the neighborhoods that suffered the most from the economic and demographic decline that hit Motor City in recent years.

Estimated to cost between $700,000 and $900,000, the blight removal project is funded by private donations coming from a number of Detroit-based organizations, companies and entrepreneurs such as the DTE Energy Foundation, the Skillman Foundation, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan Gilbert, and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation.

According to Crain’s, last year the Detroit Blight Authority managed to remove trash and debris from a 14-block area bounded by West Outer Drive and Lyndon and Trinity Streets; the structural blight removal—which targets 67 abandoned buildings—is expected to be complete by the end of May. The second phase of this blight removal project targets the 21-block area bounded by West Outer Drive, Trinity Street and Schoolcraft Road which includes more than 50 blighted buildings. The Detroit Blight Authority is seeking approval from the city Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department before starting tearing down any structures, Crain’s said.

The non-profit’s efforts to remove abandoned and dangerous properties in Detroit’s neighborhoods add to the “Hardest Hit Fund,” a government-funded program that focuses on fighting foreclosures and supporting housing recovery in 18 states—including Michigan—that suffered the most from the foreclosure crisis.



Revamped Cobo Center Shines Bright at Detroit Auto Show

16 Jan 2014, 8:30 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Detroit Auto Show 2014

With the 2014 Auto Show in full swing, Detroit’s painful financial decline which reached a climax last summer with the historic filing for bankruptcy seems like it never really happened. Nearly 1 million visitors from around the world are expected this year at the 25th North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) which will offer an impressive array of over 700 vehicles and 50 or more new model introductions from the world’s biggest automakers. It’s a financial boost for the Motor City as experts estimate the auto show will generate nearly $400 million for the area’s economy and billions in terms of profit for its three car makers: Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.

But the auto show’s economic impact doesn’t stop here. According to the Associated Press, business is booming for the hotels in Detroit and the surrounding area as occupancy rates reached 85 percent a week before the grand opening of the show which is scheduled to take place between January 13 and 26 at the (almost) newly renovated Cobo Center, one of the largest convention centers in the country offering over 700,000 square feet of prime exhibit space.

Cobo Center Detroit

In fact, the 50-year-old Detroit convention center itself is one of the attractions at this year’s auto show. Located in the heart of Detroit along Jefferson and Washington Avenues and named for Albert E. Cobo, who was Mayor from 1950 to 1957, the convention center opened in 1960 under plans designed by architect Gino Rossetti.

In 2009 the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority selected Albert Kahn Associates of Detroit to design the $279 million renovation and expansion plans meant to improve Cobo Center’s customer experience and drive economy to Metro Detroit. Scheduled to be completed by January 2015, the redesign process is currently in its third and most expensive phase at $229 million. Apart from significant upgrades to the exterior of the building and the creation of new meeting spaces and a food court, during this phase the development team completed a new 30,000-square-foot Atrium facing the Detroit River and converted the former Cobo Arena into a 40,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom that features two hydraulic platforms that rise from below the floor to form an instant stage—the perfect display place for Ford’s new F-150 truck. The first two phases of the renovation process covered improvements of the convention center’s electrical infrastructure, the creation of 400 new parking spaces, reroofing and the addition of 25,000 square feet of exhibit space.xAccording to MLive.com, at the end of Fiscal Year 2013 the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority announced a surprising profit of almost $290 million generated by high parking revenues and low operating costs.

Images via Cobo Center



TechTown Opens Junction440 as Shared Work Space for Entrepreneurs

10 Jan 2014, 5:14 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

 

Junction440 – co-working space in Detroit

With so many startup companies choosing to operate from Midwest-based offices and leaving behind already established technology centers such as Silicon Valley, the demand for affordable office space in Detroit is stronger than ever.

TechTown Detroit, a non-profit business incubator and accelerator based in Midtown within the Woodward Technology Corridor SmartZone, seized this opportunity and recently opened a new co-working space designed for entrepreneurs seeking an affordable, flexible and active work environment.

Named Junction440 (four-forty), the 20,000-square-foot co-working center occupies the entire first floor at 440 Burroughs Street, a concrete structure designed by famed architect Albert Kahn and built in 1927. The rest of the building houses TechTown’s public event facilities, office and administrative space, and lease commercial space from floors two through five. The Michigan Chronicle reports that the historic 440 Burroughs, which served as the Chevrolet Creative Services building, recently completed a $1.5 million renovation funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Junction440 – co-working space in Detroit

Besides shared or dedicated desk and office spaces for entrepreneurs, amenities at Junction440 include: free Wi-fi access, free parking spots on the northwest corner of Cass & Amsterdam Streets), bike racks, day lockers, and kitchen access with refrigerator space.

To have access to the shared working spaces, entrepreneurs can choose from a variety of membership options: day passes for $20, monthly passes for $250 or $375 with a dedicated desk, or 10-pass punch cards for $150.

 

Images via Junction440



DevMar, Burton-Katzman to Bring Luxury Multifamily Complex to Plymouth

3 Jan 2014, 2:55 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

DevMar Development LLC and Burton-Katzman LLC are on track to build the first multifamily community in Plymouth in almost ten years as the city Planning Commission unanimously approved a new luxury development along Plymouth Road near North Holbrook in the historic Old Village area.

Starkweather Station – Plymouth, MI

Dubbed Starkweather Station to honor William and Keziah Starkweather, the first settlers of Plymouth, the 93-unit residential complex will sit on a 5.8-acre site. According to Patch.com, the property is currently occupied by a 25,000-square-foot building that used to house the regional offices of Columbian Mutual Insurance.

Work on this upscale project is set to begin by spring 2014, after the existing building is razed, and completed after 12 months. Reportedly, the $18.5 million development will consist of two mid-rise residential buildings with balconies and patios that will be connected to Plymouth’s Old Village through a lush open green space with large trees, a walking path and a pavilion. The project also features two single-family houses on Holbrook.

Designed by Farmington Hills -based Fusco, Shaffer & Pappas, Inc. (FSPArchitects) for empty nesters and young professionals, Starkweather Station will include 62 two-bedroom apartments and 31 one-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 800 to 1,330 square feet and featuring 10-foot high ceilings, high-end amenities such as wood flooring, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and in-unit washer and dryer. As reported by Hometownlife.com, the project will also have 186 parking spaces.

 

Rendering of Starkweather Station courtesy of DevMar Development LLC







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