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Student Lofts Change Hands in Grand Rapids

24 Aug 2015, 5:22 pm

By Ioana Neamt, Associate Editor

Lofts @ 5 Lyon

Lofts @ 5 Lyon

A 65-unit student housing community in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich. recently changed hands in a deal arranged by Marcus & Millichap.

Lofts @ 5 Lyon, a 65-unit, 175-bed student housing building at 5 Lyon St. Northwest sold for $12.5 million, or $192,000 per unit, to an undisclosed buyer. Senior associate with Marcus & Millichap Michael Cagen represented the seller in the transaction and also procured the buyer for the property.

“Lofts @ 5 Lyon is a former office building that was converted to student housing with a limited first floor office and retail component in 2008,” said Cagen. “The location is ideal for students as the Kendall College of Art and Design, Michigan State University Medical School, Ferris State University, Cooley Law School, Western Michigan University and Grand Rapids Community College are all within walking distance.”

The community is conveniently located adjacent to a bus stop and various dining and entertainment destinations. The property incorporates studio, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments and amenities such as secure keycard access, high-speed wireless Internet and private single bedrooms.

Image courtesy of Lofts @ 5 Lyon

Nexteer’s New Home Closer to Motor City

6 Aug 2015, 6:11 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Less than six months after announcing plans to establish its headquarters closer to Detroit, Nexteer Automotive shed light on the exact location of its new home.

Laurent Bresson - President and Global Chief Operating Officer, Nexteer Automotive

Laurent Bresson – President and Global Chief Operating Officer, Nexteer Automotive

The Chinese auto supplier announced this week that it will relocate its global operations in Auburn Hills, one of Motor City thriving suburbs. About 150 management employees—including senior executives, global financial team, human resources, information technology and sales staff—are expected to move into the new center. The relocation is scheduled for the second quarter of 2016, the auto-supplier announced.

Meanwhile, the company’s Global Engineering Center and Saginaw Division will retain close to 5,000 employees and will serve as the company’s North American headquarters, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Nexteer invested more than $400 million in Michigan since July 2010, when General Motors Corp. sold its GM Global Steering Holdings division to AVIC Automotive Systems Holding Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corp. of China. The auto supplier will join a long list of 40 international corporations that are either headquartered or have North American operations in Auburn Hills, Crain’s Detroit News noted.

Motor City Lures Another Chinese Auto Supplier

3 Aug 2015, 11:01 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

For anyone who is remotely familiar with the automotive industry, Motor City lives up to its name.

 YFS Automotive Systems, Inc., a Chinese auto supplier, has chosen Michigan to create an industrial facility on 30 acres of vacant land at an undisclosed location near I-75 and I-94. The company plans to invest $26.9 million into a new 150,000-square-foot facility where automotive fuel system components will be designed, tested and manufactured. The site is located in the city of Detroit and was selected over other competitive sites in Ohio, according to Gov. Rick Snyder’s office.

“YFS locating in Detroit is a reaffirmation of Michigan’s competitive business climate,” said Gov. Rick Snyder in prepared remarks. “Our strong economy combined with our top talent makes investing in Michigan ideal for local and international businesses to locate and thrive.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund will provide the Chinese auto supplier a $1.3 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for this project. Set to open in summer 2017, the new YFS facility is expected to employ 160 people at full capacity.

YFS’s American operations are based in Gallatin, Tenn. The company was known as ABC Group Fuel Systems until 2014, when it was acquired by Rongshi International Holding, a Chinese-owned automotive supplier.

Phillips Edison Scoops Retail Center Near Ann Arbor from Fellow Ohioan

29 Jul 2015, 2:05 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Phillips Edison is the new owner of the 102,275-square-foot Crossroads Town Center at 108 W. Highland Road in Howell, a suburb of Ann Arbor. The Cincinnati-based investor purchased the retail center from fellow Ohioan Viking Partners for $8 million or a little over $78 per square foot.

Crossroads Town Center - Howell, MI

Crossroads Town Center – Howell, MI

Situated at the intersection of Highland Road and Oak Grove Road, which benefits from over 28,000 vehicles per day, the Crossroads Town Center was purchased by Viking Partners in August 2011. The commercial asset was 77.9 percent occupied at the time of acquisition. In four years, Viking Partners’ strategic plan for the retail center improved occupancy to 87.5 percent, increasing net operating income by 94 percent.

Crossroads Town Center is currently anchored by Kroger, a very popular grocery chain in the Ann Arbor area. The list of tenants also includes Subway, Great Clips, Little Caesars, and H&R Block.

Mid-America Real Estate Corp.’s Joe Girardi and Daniel Stern served as the exclusive brokers in the transaction on behalf on Viking Partners.

The transaction marks the tenth and final sale for Viking Partners’ Fund I, which was launched in 2009. “We are pleased to announce the sale of the final asset in our Fund I portfolio as this transaction represents an important milestone for our company. By executing on our investment objective to buy the right asset, fix the asset through leasing and sell the asset at the right time, our team surpassed the return expectations for our Fund I investors,” said Bret Caller, Principal of Viking Partners.

Image via Phillips Edison

This Crumbling Building in Detroit Wants to be Saved

24 Jul 2015, 1:58 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

In a continuing effort to save or repurpose a long list of blighted buildings across Detroit, the City and the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA) are looking for proposals for the adaptive reuse of a crumbling industrial property in the East Riverfront District.

Stone Soap Building - Detroit

Stone Soap Building – Detroit

The Request for Proposals (RFP) solicits statements of qualification and preliminary redevelopment proposals for the empty Stone Soap building, which encompasses three structures at 1450, 1460 and 1490 Franklin near the new Milliken State Park and the Detroit RiverWalk.

Built in three stages between 1907 and 1927, the Stone Soap building contains more than 83,000 square feet of vacant industrial space, according to PropertyShark. The western section at 1450 Franklin sits on 0.12 acres and encompasses 44,649 square feet; the middle building at 1460 Franklin is 14,036 square feet and sits on 0.27 acres; and the eastern section at 1490 Franklin sitting on 0.33 acres has 24,684 square feet.

According to the RFP, the Stone Soap building is adjacent to the Orleans Landing project, a 285-unit mixed-use development which will break ground this fall and is set for completion in 2016. The property’s location nearby this residential and retail development indicates that the Stone Soap building is most likely to be adaptively reused as a mixed-use or residential/retail development as well—but housing proposals are required to include an affordable component of at least 20 percent. Other concepts will be judged on their consistency with the East Riverfront District Plan and zoning in the area.



The adaptive reuse of the Stone Soap building will be part of the future redevelopment of the East Riverfront District which is located immediately east of Detroit’s Central Business District and encompasses approximately 350 acres. The City of Detroit selected Cooper Robertson Associates of New York City to conduct a multi-disciplinary district planning process for the East Riverfront District.

The DBRA will receive development proposals until August 31 at 3 p.m. A pre-bid meeting will take place at the offices of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) at 500 Griswold St. on August 6 at 11 a.m., followed by a two-hour tour of the Stone Soap building at 12 p.m..

Images via the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority

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