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GM Snags Former Campbell Ewald Office Building in $2 Million Deal

19 Sep 2014, 12:45 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Lowell Campbell Ewald building - Warren, Mi.

Lowell Campbell Ewald building – Warren, Mi.

General Motors’ sprawling Tech Center in suburban Detroit is preparing to expand with a new building right across the street in Warren, on Van Dyke Avenue.

The former headquarters of Lowe Campbell Ewald—the advertising and marketing communications agency now based in downtown Detroit in the former J.L. Hudson building at Ford Field—was recently acquired by the automaker. While the sales price hasn’t been disclosed by the two parties, The Detroit News reports that GM paid around $2 million for the 10-story office structure.

Located at 30400 Van Dyke Avenue north of East 12 Mile Road, the former Campbell Ewald building includes 150,000 square feet of office space and more than 800 surface parking spots. According to the news source, GM is still in the process of putting together a renovation plan for the Campbell Ewald building, which will eventually serve as additional office space for the company’s tech center employees and visitors.

With this new acquisition, GM is one step closer to consolidating its operations at the Warren Tech Center. In June this year the automaker announced it will invest $130 million to create an enterprise data center in Warren as part of the $2 billion investment that the company had planned for 17 facilities in eight states. The move included renovations at a former administrative building, as well as adding 25 high-tech jobs.

GM’s Tech Center in Warren spans around 25 buildings on more than 330 acres of land bounded by 12 Mile Road, Mound and Chicago Roads and Van Dyke Avenue. The center already employs 19,000 people here, with up to 1,750 new jobs expected to be added in the newly purchased Campbell Ewald building and elsewhere across the Tech Center.

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Image via Google Street View

Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, Commomwealth/McCann Relocate Local HQs Closer to Downtown Detroit

11 Sep 2014, 1:57 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

What seemed almost impossible a few years ago is turning into reality: Detroit is no longer a ghost city, as the long list of vacant and desolate real estate properties are coming back to life.

693-707 W. Milwaukee Street

693-707 W. Milwaukee Street

The five-story building sitting at 693-707 W. Milwaukee Street in the city’s New Center section was recently sold to the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority. Crain’s Detroit Business reports that the organization paid $2.7 million for the property, which was previously owned by a group of entities based in Florida and New York.

The Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority is currently headquartered in an outdated building at 640 Temple Street and close to Ilitch Holdings’ upcoming entertainment district, a $650 million mega-development that will create a new Detroit Red Wings arena, apartments, office buildings, restaurants, shops and parks on the blighted area at Woodward and I-75. According to Crain’s, the mental health authority spends around $1 million per year for the 50,000 square feet of office space at 640 Temple Street.

The newly acquired Milwaukee Street property, which was the former home of a Michigan Works! Association agency will become the mental health authority’s new home starting spring 2015 when around 120 employees will relocate there. Reportedly, the organization is preparing to invest another $6.5 million to renovate the building under plans designed by local architecture firm

One Detroit Center - 500 Woodward Avenue

One Detroit Center – 500 Woodward Avenue

Hamilton Anderson Associates.

Meanwhile, an ad agency known for its work with Chevrolet announced it will relocate its Detroit operations to One Detroit Center, the Class A office tower located at 500 Woodward Avenue. According to the Detroit Free Press, Commonwealth/McCann has leased 50,000 square feet in the skyscraper and will move all of its 250 to 300 employees in the 43-story building sometime in early 2015.

The ad agency currently occupies around 42,000 square feet of space in the Francis Palms Building at 2111 Woodward, the source said.


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Images via Google Street View and One Detroit Center

Franklin Partners Launches $3.5 M Renovations at Grand Rapids’ Historic 25 Ottawa Building

4 Sep 2014, 2:07 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Twenty 5 office building - Grand Rapids

Twenty 5 office building – Grand Rapids

Franklin Partners, the owner of a six-story building in downtown Grand Rapids, broke ground on a complete transformation process that will bring back the 124-year-old structure to the city’s office market.

Located at 25 Ottawa Street SW in the city’s Heartside district, the 105,700-square-foot building was originally built in 1890 for the Worden Grocery Co., Wholesale Grocers, Tea Importers and Coffee Roasters, and was later used by Williams Distributing as retail and warehouse space. In mid-1990s, when the Van Andel Arena was completed, the mid-rise structure was remodeled into offices and became known as the Arena Station, serving the businesses in the thriving downtown area.

As reported by MLive.com, Franklin Partners purchased the Arena Station building for $6.18 million in March this year with plans to rebrand and reposition the property. As such, the Chicago-based real estate developer has renamed the building into Twenty 5 and now is investing $3.5 million in renovations under plans designed by Wright Heerema Architects, also of Chicago. Franklin Partners has hired local construction company Owen-Ames-Kimball (O-A-K) to manage the Class A renovation project which

Twenty 5 office building entrance - Grand Rapids

Twenty 5 office building entrance – Grand Rapids

will continue through fall and winter with a completion date scheduled for June 2015.

According to O-A-K, the transformation process at Twenty 5—which is connected to the Van Andel Arena and nearby hotels via a skywalk—calls for a new entrance, a new lobby with a two-story atrium, a fitness center high-end elevator finishes, as well as upgraded shared tenant areas, conference rooms and new street-level retail space.

This is Franklin Partners’ second major renovation project in downtown Grand Rapids. According to MLive.com, in 2012 the developer paid almost $12 million to Westminster Campau LLC for the outdated Campau Square Plaza building located at 99 Monroe Avenue. Sixteen months and $4 million later, the 12-story, 200,000-square-feet building became 99 Monroe, one of the prime office locations in Grand Rapids.

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Renderings via O-A-K

Toyota to Expand Technical Center in York Township, Create 250 Jobs

27 Aug 2014, 9:24 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Toyota Technical Center in York Township

Toyota Technical Center in York Township

At the beginning of August Toyota Motor North America pledged $1 million to the City of Detroit toward the Detroit Institute of Arts’ effort to raise $100 million as part of a larger commitment to protect the museum’s art collection and also help the city emerge from bankruptcy. Now, the Japanese automaker is looking to grow its investment in Michigan by expanding the Toyota Technical Center in York Township, a few miles south of Ann Arbor, as the company will consolidate its national headquarters in Plano, Texas.

According to MLive.com, this expansion will accommodate approximately 250 direct procurement jobs that are currently based in Erlanger, Kentucky, and is a key component of the company’s ongoing consolidation of the North American operations.

The $187 million Toyota Technical Center in York Township opened in 2008 on nearly 700 acres of land that the automaker had purchased from the state in 2005. Spanning 530,000 square feet of space, the center incorporates two large buildings—a crash test/safety facility and an engineering design building—with around 1,100 employees, mostly engineers and designers. The Detroit News reported that the 250 positions will be relocated from Erlanger to York Township by the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017.

Toyota will invest $32.5 million in expanding its Technical Center in York Township and will receive an additional $4 million tax incentive through the Michigan Business Development Program. Further financial help is expected to come from the York Township in the form of 12-year property tax abatements valued at $4.6 million.

“Toyota’s expansion reflects the company’s recognition that the Ann Arbor region can accommodate its future growth and product development,” said in an official statement Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization that helped Toyota through the incentives process.


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Toyota Technical Center in York Township image via Toyota

Private Car Condos Project in Pontiac Ready to Break Ground as Developers Close on 80-Acre Construction Site

13 Aug 2014, 4:07 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

More than one year after Birmingham native and entrepreneur Brad Oleshansky announced plans to redevelop a vacant parcel in Pontiac, the project is now one step closer to becoming reality.

M1 Concourse - Pontiac

M1 Concourse – Pontiac

The construction site, an 80-acre property that was once used as a validation facility for General Motors and housed four plants, was recently acquired for an undisclosed price by Oleshansky, founder and CEO of M1 Concourse–the future auto-themed park that will be built on the northwest corner of South Boulevard and Woodward Avenue. According to a news release, the property was previously owned by Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response (RACER) Trust which was created in May 2011 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in an effort to attract investors that would redevelop and reuse a list of properties owned by the former General Motors Corporation before it ran bankrupt five years ago.

Uniprop, a real estate development company based in Birmingham, made a significant equity investment in the project and will assist the M1 Concourse team with its expertise in real estate development, construction and finance.

The $40 million to $60 million M1 Concourse has already received preliminary approvals from Pontiac city officials. Designed as a both a private club and public destination in an area known for the large concentration of car enthusiasts, the project will include a community of 250 to 350 private garages—marketed as “car condos” —that will sell for $100,000 and more. Detroit Free Press reports that the garages will range in size from 600 to 1,200 square feet and will have a capacity of four to six cars.

In addition to the car condos, M1 Concourse will include a 40,000-square-foot events center, an amphitheater for outdoor concerts, auctions and car shows, 100,000 square feet of multi-tenant office space, a 7,000-square-foot private club house, and a 1.5-mile performance track. Phase 1 of the project, which is scheduled to break ground in the following weeks, could open for car enthusiasts in mid-2015, while the first private garages will be sold beginning September this year.

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Rendering via M1 Concourse Facebook page

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