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Micro-Units Approved for Development Outside Detroit

1 Jul 2015, 8:00 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

An underdeveloped site on the northeast corner of E. 11 Mile Rd. and Rembrandt Ave. in Royal Oak could turn into one of the hippest places to live outside Detroit.

1207 E. 11 Mile Road - Royal Oak MI

1207 E. 11 Mile Road – Royal Oak MI

Earlier this month, the Royal Oak Planning Commission approved Amber Properties’ plans to redevelop the vacant, 13,545-square-foot site (pictured) located at 1207 E. 11 Mile Rd. into a multifamily community. The residential project will consist of 36 luxury micro apartments within a single building on the property. Stantec Architecture designed the project.

Public documents show that the efficiency apartments will come in three different types of units, with sizes of 275 square feet—slightly above the minimum floor area of 250 square feet required for an efficiency or studio dwelling unit—, 314 square feet, and 356 square feet. Additionally, the project will include 40 parking spaces.

Amber Properties’ new development project in Royal Oak will target Millennials and young professionals who prefer renting a smaller place with full amenities—since they travel a lot or want to live alone—instead of owning an apartment, C & G News reported.

According to NeighborhoodScout, the average rental price in the E. 11 Mile Rd. is $773 per month. Rents are currently lower in this area of Royal Oak than 1.8 percent of Michigan neighborhoods. The area consists mainly of small to medium sized single-family homes and apartment communities and high-rise apartment buildings—mostly built between 1940 and 1969 and occupied by a combination of owners and renters. Additionally, the neighborhood has a vacancy rate of 1.4 percent, which indicates that the available is very tight compared to the demand for housing units supply in this area.

Image via Google Street View 

A Car Collector’s Dream Turns Real in Pontiac

25 Jun 2015, 11:56 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

M1 Concourse rendering - Pontiac MI

M1 Concourse rendering – Pontiac MI

Remember two years ago when we reported on Brad Oleshansky’s vision to build a car condo complex on a vacant parcel formerly owned by General Motors in Pontiac? Hardcore car enthusiasts, rejoice! The M1 Concourse project is really happening and by spring next year you’ll be able to park your collectible car in a luxury garage not far from Detroit.

The 87.5-acre site was purchased by Oleshansky and his equity partner Uniprop from RACER, a trust specializing in marketing properties that used to be part of General Motors’ real estate portfolio before the company filed for bankruptcy in mid-2009.

Situated on the northwest corner of South Boulevard and Woodward Avenue, the former GM validation facility will be replaced by private car condos, a race track and additional amenities such as an auto-themed restaurant, showroom and office space.

The $60 million, multi-phase project finally kicked off this week, shortly after the Michigan Strategic Fund approved almost $8 million in local and school tax capture for the Oakland County brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the entity which applied for the incentive. As reported by Crain’s Detroit Business, 67 acres of concrete and asphalt along with sewers, foundations, lead and asbestos will be removed from the site in preparation for the new development.

Phase I calls for the construction of a 1.5-mile track for defensive-driving courses, vehicle testing, private-course driving and performance driving schools. The first 80 car condos will also be completed during this phase. According to the Detroit Free Press, the developer already has purchase agreements for all these private units, which started selling last year. The buyers—which hail from metro Detroit and represent about 400 vehicles from ultra-rare classic cars to super-expensive ones—paid between $110,000 for a two-car, 600-square-foot condo and $250,000 for a 1,200-square-foot unit that fits up to eight vehicles. All these car condos are climate-controlled, can double as entertainment space and feature private bathrooms.

M1 Concourse rendering of private car condos - Pontiac MI

M1 Concourse rendering of private car condos – Pontiac MI

Phase II of the project will continue with 57 more condos—some of which will be marketed as “jumbo units” with a price tag starting at $500,000—, while the last phase calls for an auto-themed restaurant, a clubhouse, outdoor exhibition space for car shows or auctions, a 40,000-square-foot event center, as well as auto-related retail shops. Once fully completed, M1 Concourse will have more than 325 car condos.


Renderings courtesy of M1 Concourse and JPRA Architects

Michigan’s Second-Largest Conference Center Hotel Up for Grabs

22 Jun 2015, 2:29 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The second-largest hotel and conference center in the state of Michigan changed its name so many times over the past few years that a new change—this time in ownership—wouldn’t surprise anyone.

Royal Dearborn Hotel and Conference Center

Royal Dearborn Hotel and Conference Center

Savills Studley’s hospitality arm announced it is marketing the 773-room Royal Dearborn Hotel & Conference Center located roughly 10 miles from Detroit and less than two miles from the Automotive Hall of Fame and University of Michigan Dearborn. The property, which is situated at 600 Town Center Drive in Dearborn, occupies over 32 acres of land directly across the street from the Ford Motor Company global headquarters. The 854,000 square-foot building features a glass-covered façade and was originally constructed in 1976 as the Hyatt Regency Dearborn.

However, the property went through several changes in name and management operations over the past three years. In fall 2012 the Detroit Free Press reported that the hotel turned into an eco-friendly Adoba Hotel. That switch occurred shortly after Hyatt and Royal Realties—a group of international investors who purchased the hotel for $15.5 million from CW Capital in April 2011—discontinued the management contract. Almost two years later, Crain’s Detroit Business dropped the news that the hotel was renamed into the Regency Dearborn Hotel & Convention Center operating under the management of the Lodging Host Hotel Corp.

In fall 2014, the hotel was foreclosed as Royal Realties owed almost $857,000 in back property taxes, interest and fees from 2012. The 16-story hotel and convention center is now up for sale again. Savills Studley expects to fetch up to $40 million for the property, according to Crain’s.

“This represents a unique opportunity to invest in a major hotel asset free of debt, brand and management”, said Marc Magazine, executive managing director of Savills Studley’s U.S. Capital Markets Hotel Group. “There are numerous repositioning options for the property, including splitting the asset into two smaller hotels or even reducing the size of the hotel component by converting the top floors to residential use and transforming parts of ground-level space into retail,” he added.

Image courtesy of Royal Dearborn Hotel & Convention Center’s Facebook page

$30 Million Price Tag for Crumbling Pontiac Silverdome

15 Jun 2015, 3:08 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Detroit Lions’ former home in Pontiac hit the market again for around $30 million. That’s a huge price tag compared to the modest $583,000 paid by Toronto-based Triple Properties Inc. who purchased the crumbling stadium at auction six years ago.

Pontiac Silverdome

Pontiac Silverdome

After investing $6 million in upgrades for the restaurant and VIP areas, Triple Properties’ plans to revitalize the stadium into a professional soccer franchise were stalled and the property continued to deteriorate and become a ruin.

MLive.com, who first reported the news earlier this week, revealed that the Southfield office of CBRE is marketing the entire 127.5-acre property for sale or lease, and even the option to Build to Suit. 10 acres are currently leased to a local soccer league, and FCA North America occupies another 15 acres. This generates a total revenue of $1 million per year, according to the news source.

According to CBRE’s marketing flyer, the blighted property comes with an entire list of redevelopment options—from office campus to convention center space to mixed-use play community—which indicates that a potential buyer would have to tear down the stadium to make room for new development.

The Silverdome is located at 1200 Featherstone Rd. in Pontiac, roughly 30 miles from Detroit. Designed by the architectural firm of O’dell, Hewlett & Luckenbach, the 82,000-seat venue was completed in 1975 for $55.7 million—less than 1 percent of what Triple Properties paid six years ago and almost double the price it’s being marketed for by CBRE.

The venue was first closed in 2006, four years after the Detroit Lions moved to Ford Field, but the city decided to give the dome another chance and sold it at auction in 2009.  After hosting several events, the former Pontiac Silverdome closed permanently in 2013.

Image credits to Flickr user Don Robson

Gilbert Snags Two New Center Parking Decks—Albert Kahn/Fisher Duo to Follow?

28 May 2015, 5:51 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

In a move that simply doesn’t surprise anyone anymore, Detroit real estate mogul Dan Gilbert snagged two more properties in the city.

View of the Lothrop Parking Garage and adjacent Albert Kahn Building - Detroit

View of Lothrop Parking Garage and adjacent Albert Kahn Building – Detroit

A pair of surface parking decks situated in the New Center recently joined Gilbert’s real estate portfolio in Motor City. Financial terms remained undisclosed, according to Crain’s Detroit Business who first reported the deals.

Totaling 1,800 parking spaces, the acquisition consists of the 1,300-space Lothrop Parking Garage located at 116 Lothrop Rd., and a smaller parking deck of 500 spaces located at 6540 Cass Ave. The two properties have almost 677,800 square feet of space.

While Gilbert’s most recent acquisition might not seem that interesting, the Lothrop Parking Garage is particularly important because of its location directly east of the Albert Kahn Building. This iconic office building will be hitting the auction block in a couple of weeks—and so will its much larger next-door neighbor, the 635,000-square-foot Fisher Building. Now that Gilbert has been buying properties left and right in downtown Detroit, the parking decks purchase is a strong indicator of his next potential move: bidding for the Albert Kahn/Fisher duo, which would add more than 900,000 square feet to its real estate portfolio in the city.

Since 2010, Gilbert has invested more than $1.7 billion in downtown Detroit through his real estate company Bedrock Real Estate Services. More than 70 office buildings and parking garages accounting for more than 11 million square feet are currently owned by Bedrock. Less than two months ago, Gilbert’s Detroit empire expanded with the acquisition of One Detroit Center, a Class A office tower encompassing nearly one million square feet of space.

Image via Google Street View

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