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Outlets of Michigan Nears Start of Construction

30 Jan 2015, 2:26 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Outlets of Michigan - Romulus, MI

Outlets of Michigan – Romulus, MI

More than six months after unveiling plans to build an open-air shopping center in Romulus, MI, New England Development took another step forward in this project. The Newton-based developer announced it teamed up with Baltimore-based Paragon Outlet Partners to create the 360,000-square-foot shopping center directly opposite Detroit Metro Airport which is transited by approximately 32 million passengers annually.

Scheduled to open in 2016, Outlets of Michigan is ideally located on a highly visible site spanning 36 acres and located at the northeast corner of I-94 and Vining Road. According to New England Development, the shopping center is expected to fill the outlet shopping needs of Ann Arbor, Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio—especially Toledo, which is not currently served by an outlet center—or around 3.4 million people living within 30 miles of the site.

Additionally, the mall is located just 21 miles west from the Canadian border crossing. According to Paragon’s website, around 20 million travelers visit Metro Detroit each year, and 64 percent of them are out-of-state visitors who typically spend more than state residents. More than 1.6 million Canadians visited Michigan in 2012 and spent nearly $430 million at various shopping venues across the state. As such, market specialists estimate that the new Outlets of Michigan will drive a 5.5 percent increase in visitor spending and a 3 percent increase in tourist volume.

Outlets of Michigan will be home to approximately 90 retailers. Though the development team hasn’t named any specific stores, leasing activity has already begun and is well underway. With the development team all set up and permitting pending approval, construction at the site could start this summer, Detroit Free Press reported.


Rendering courtesy of New England Development

$148 Million Lightweight Research Center Opens in Detroit

30 Jan 2015, 2:19 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A new innovation center opened in Corktown on January 15, marking another big step forward in Detroit’s drive to become a technology hub and lure back its lost manufacturing jobs.

1400 Rosa Parks Boulevard - Detroit

1400 Rosa Parks Boulevard – Detroit

Announced last year as a $148 million public-private partnership led by the University of Michigan, the Ohio State University and the Columbus-based independent research and development non-profit EWI, the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) opened on Rosa Parks Boulevard. The institute is part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) led by the Department of Defense and aims to implement innovations with lightweight metals into the commercial and military sectors.

ALMMII occupies 100,000 square feet of space at 1400 Rosa Parks Boulevard, near Detroit’s downtown and directly across from the 66,000-square-foot technology center developed by Quicken Loans. As previously reported by Commercial Property Executive, the property’s last tenant was Mexican Industries, a local plastic auto-parts maker that filed for bankruptcy in 2001. After more than ten years of neglect, the graffiti-covered industrial building was renovated and upgraded to house ALMMII’s new program called LIFT—Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow—which will work with lightweight metals as aluminum, magnesium, titanium and advanced high-strength steel alloys to find new technologies that could be applied in various industry supply chains.

The new lightweight materials innovation center was designed by Southfield-based architecture and engineering firm Harley Ellis Devereaux and includes offices, meeting rooms and training spaces, as well as lab spaces for developing and testing technologies for manufacturing. The institute was funded by $70 million in federal grants over five years, and another $78 million in private equity from the 75 companies, organizations, research institutions and non-profits involved in the consortium.


Rendering credits to Harley Ellis Devereaux 

Vacant Strathmore Hotel Gets New Life as Apartment Building

18 Jan 2015, 9:28 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

One year after getting $3.5 million toward redevelopment from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the reconstruction effort at Detroit’s long-time vacant Strathmore Hotel took another step forward.

Strathmore Hotel - Detroit

Strathmore Hotel – Detroit

A public-private partnership between Midtown Inc. and St. Louis-based real estate development firm McCormack Baron Salazar recently announced that funding has been finalized for the $28 million redevelopment project at the eight-story hotel located at 70 Alexandrine Street West. Dubbed Strathmore Apartments, the development project calls for the hotel’s reconversion into 129 market-rate and affordable apartments in a mix of one- and two-bedroom units that will alleviate the strong demand for housing in Midtown Detroit—one of the city’s most densely populated areas, where residential occupancy rate stands at 97-99 percent annually, as recently reported by The Detroit News.

According to a press statement, 40 percent of the rental units at the Strathmore Apartments will be affordable, while the remainder will be market-rate. Designed to become the next Midtown Detroit destination, the redeveloped hotel will also include 2,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. Local architecture studio Hamilton Anderson Associates created the conceptual plans for the 90-year-old structure.

Built in 1924, the Strathmore operated as an apartment hotel for four decades, serving short-term travelers and long-term residents alike. In 1964 the hotel was reconverted into 187 residential units and operated as such until 2004, when the building was closed and left vacant.

The redevelopment project is set to break ground in about one month.


Rendering courtesy of Midtown Detroit, Inc.

Neudeck Building Changes Hands, Prepares for $6 Million Renovation

7 Jan 2015, 5:44 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Neudeck Building - Downtown Detroit

Neudeck Building – Downtown Detroit

A century-old office building in downtown Detroit, just two blocks away from the newly renovated David Whitney Building/Aloft Hotel, has been sold to a real estate investment and management company, according to a press release issued by Wayne County.  The new owner, Bagley Clifford LLC of West Bloomfield Township, paid $2.3 million for the nine-story building and its adjacent gated, surface parking lot which can accommodate around 30 cars.

The Neudeck Building, which was named in memory of former Wayne County Road Commission chairman Philip J. Neudeck, is located at 415 Clifford Street in the heart of the city’s Central Business District and has been sitting vacant for the past five years. The 85,600-square-foot building was completed in 1918 as home to the Detroit City Gas Co., which later became Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. Wayne County has owned the Neudeck Building since 1972.

“This is a wonderful use for an old building that the county no longer uses,” Commissioner Kevin McNamara (D-Van Buren Twp.) said in the statement announcing the sale. “It is yet another great example of developers investing in downtown Detroit, and it is an opportunity for this building to be placed on the tax rolls.”

Crain’s Detroit Business reports that Hantz Bank was the primary financier behind the transaction, while Jones Lang LaSalle brokered the deal. Bagley Clifford is looking to invest $6 million to renovate the building to create street-level commercial space with housing units above. Once redeveloped, the Neudeck Building will be renamed The Philip House and will include approximately 100 rental apartments, a fitness center for the property’s residents and 9,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space.


Image via Google Street View

$94M David Whitney Building Redevelopment Brings Apartments, Hotel to Detroit Hotspot

29 Dec 2014, 9:48 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

David Whitney Building Historic Atrium

The redevelopment of Detroit landmark The David Whitney Building is complete. Following an investment of $94.5 million, the now fully renovated structure features 108 apartments at The Residences and a 136-key Aloft hotel, reports Crain’s Detroit Business.

According to Crain’s, the redevelopment project kicked off in 2011, when the property was picked up for $3.3 million by Whitney Partners LLC, a joint venture comprised of The Roxbury Group and VOS Hospitality, a division of Trans Inns Management Inc. At that point, the 1915-built structure, located in one of Detroit’s hot spots, 1553 Woodward Avenue, had been sitting vacant for over a decade. As previously reported, the project was funded by $82.5 million secured by The Roxbury Group and $8.5 million granted by the Michigan Strategic Fund. Renovation work included restoring exterior design elements removed in the 1950s and the four-story lobby with its glass atrium. VOS Hospitality, the lifestyle boutique arm of Trans Inns, will manage the hotel and apartments as well the property’s retail/restaurant space, located at street level.

Occupying floors two through nine, the Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney marks the brand’s debut in Motor City. The recently opened Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. franchise features 136 loft-style rooms at an affordable price. Amenities include eight meeting rooms totaling 6,670-square feet of flexible meeting space, a business center, 24-hour fitness center, Aloft’s signature W XYZ bar, billiards, bowling and on-site parking.

Located on the building’s top nine floors, The Residences comprise 108 apartments featuring high-end finishes such as stainless steel appliances, ceramic tile, hardwood floors and granite countertops. Units include one- , two- and three-bedroom apartments. Residents can enjoy access to amenities such as a fitness center, business center, covered parking, storage units, private elevator, housekeeping, valet parking, catering and 24-hour security.  According to Crain’s Detroit Business, all units are occupied, with a waiting list in place. Residents will start moving in beginning in January in a phased manner.

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Image courtesy of The David Whitney Building via Pinterest

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