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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

Chase-Financed Renovation Project Kicks Off at Capitol Park Building

20 May 2015, 7:31 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Capitol Park Lofts - rendering

Capitol Park Lofts – rendering

The century-old Capitol Park Building in downtown Detroit is finally being renovated into a new lofts and retail project. Crain’s Detroit Business reported that earlier this week Mayor Mike Duggan, JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon and other officials celebrated the official start of construction during an event that was held at the site.

The 72,000-square-foot project is estimated to cost nearly $23 million and is part of JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to invest $100 million in the Detroit’s recovery over five years. Since May 2014, Chase invested $34 million in financing for the 13-story Detroit Savings Bank building located at 1212 Griswold—which reopened in February as a mixed-use structure with 56 apartments and office space—and the upcoming redevelopment of the Capitol Park Building.

“JPMorgan Chase is helping the city address a number of tough challenges,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in a prepared statement. “With their support, innovative programs are investing in new housing, more people are graduating from job training programs, rehab loan financing is available to homebuyers and there’s greater support for small businesses. Their long-term commitment is making a real impact,” he added.

Named Capitol Park Lofts, the renovation project is spearheaded by Karp and Associates of Lansing, MI, with conceptual plans created by Kraemer Design Group. It calls for a thorough transformation of the 11-story building into 63 market-rate apartments and nearly 19,000 square feet of retail space. According to Crain’s, work at the new Capitol Park Lofts is expected to wrap up by spring 2016. Around 60 construction jobs will be created during the renovation process.

Rendering credits to Kraemer Design Group

Sakthi to Invest $31M in Former Detroit High School, Create Hundreds of New Jobs

13 May 2015, 11:06 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Sakthi Automotive Group's new manufacturing campus in Southwest Detroit

Sakthi Automotive Group’s new manufacturing campus in Southwest Detroit

An abandoned high school in Southwest Detroit was selected by the U.S. subsidiary of Indian auto supplier Sakthi Group for a massive redevelopment project that will create hundreds of new jobs and—quite possibly on the long run—put Motorcity back on the American automotive industry map. According to city officials, the long-vacant Southwestern High School property was selected over other potential sites located in Ohio, Georgia and South Carolina.

Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and other business officials announced this week that the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approved a $3.5 million performance-based grant that enables Sakthi Automotive Group USA Inc. to invest another $31.8 million in creating an automotive manufacturing expansion. Sakthi first set foot in North America in 2012 when, according to Crain’s Detroit Business, the company paid $7.6 million for the former ArvinMeritor facility at 6401 W. Fort St. and opened its first auto parts manufacturing center with the help of a $1.5 million grant from MSF. The facility is currently home to 170 employees which will be maintained here.

Sakthi’s newly announced expansion was made possible thanks to an agreement between the auto supplier, its business partner ProVisions, and the Detroit Public Schools. Accordingly, Sakthi will purchase the vacant high school building and the surrounding property and turn it into a training center for high-tech manufacturing jobs. Located west of the existing facility, the new 70-acre manufacturing campus will house about 650 employees and a training center for new engineers, city officials announced.

“Sakthi is making a major commitment to Detroit and is creating employment opportunities for our residents that otherwise would have remained overseas,” said in a prepared statement Mayor Mike Duggan. As such, the new manufacturing campus is expected to help bring back lightweight metal manufacturing jobs that are currently outsourced in China.

Sakthi Automotive Group's new manufacturing campus in Southwest Detroit - map

Sakthi Automotive Group’s new manufacturing campus in Southwest Detroit – map

As part of the redevelopment project, the historic portion of Southwestern High School will be turned into offices, training rooms and warehouses. Around 70 employees will work here. Additionally, Sakthi plans to hire another 150 people who will work in a planned casting facility of roughly 100,000 square feet, while the school’s gym will be redeveloped into a 10,000-square-foot benchmarking and testing center. Construction at the site will start immediately and should complete by the end of 2017.

Sakthi’s commitment to Detroit also involves hiring around 50 recently paroled Michigan convicted felons, a “nontraditional sort of workforce” according to Automotive News. The auto supplier plans to hire two parolees per month over the next two years and pay them $11 to $13.50 per hour, a significant opportunity for those who have served time in prison to rebuild their lives and be hired under the same conditions as regular employees.


Renderings via the City of Detroit

Google Grows in Michigan

7 May 2015, 8:27 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Google Logo

Google Logo

Google Inc. plans to expand its footprint in Michigan by building a new corporate campus roughly 44 miles west from Detroit. By the end of 2016, the Mountain View, Calif.-based internet giant will occupy 140,000 square feet of space in Ann Arbor’s north side, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Google first set foot in Ann Arbor in a small office on Main Street in September 2006, attracted by the town’s growing entrepreneurial sector and talented graduates from the University of Michigan—the same university where Google co-founder Larry Page earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering. The internet giant currently leases 85,000 square feet on four floors at the McKinley Towne Centre, a 137,000-square-foot office building located at 401-407 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor and owned by Ann Arbor-based McKinley Inc. Google’s lease at the McKinley Towne Centre—which is home to more than 400 Googlers working for the company’s AdWords advertising program—will expire in October, according to Crain’s Detroit Business who quoted CoStar. The internet company also leased 30,000 square feet at the South State Commons II building in the Briarwood Mall area as a temporary space that will handle Google’s growth until the new campus is completed.

In an effort to consolidate all its Ann Arbor operations and programs into one location, Google will lease a 67,000-square-foot office building located at 2300 Traverwood Dr. at the Traverwood Business Park, near the University of Michigan’s north campus. Completed in 2000, the three-story facility is owned by First martin Corp. and was designed as a build to suite for Mechanical Dynamics. According to Crain’s, Google was represented by CBRE in the transaction.

The tech giant is expected to break ground on an adjacent 73,000-square-foot office space in the coming months, and complete it by the end of 2016 when the first employees are set to move in.

Click here for more market data on Detroit.

$35 Million Student Housing Complex Ready to Break Ground in Grand Rapids

23 Apr 2015, 6:59 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A new housing complex designed for college students will soon break ground in Grand Rapids.

Fulton Place - Grand Rapids MI

Fulton Place – Grand Rapids MI

MLive.com reported that local developer Rockford Construction is ready so start construction on a 112-unit student housing project in Grand Rapids’ West Side neighborhood, within walking distance from Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) Robert Pew campus.

The complex is called Fulton Place and will be located at 616 Fulton W. between Lexington Ave. and Seward St., replacing an auto repair shop that sits on a parcel recently acquired by the developer. This in an emerging area that lacks quality housing options—especially with the expanding GVSU, whose downtown campus can only accommodate around 370 residential students. The official ground breaking ceremony for Fulton Place will take place on May 5, and Rockford Construction is set to complete the project before the 2016-2017 academic year starts.

Designed as a three-building development, Fulton Place will offer 232 market-rate bedrooms that are expected to meet the demand for student housing inventory in Grand Rapids’ downtown area. As detailed by MLive.com, the complex will include a three-story, 13,000-square-foot building with seven, three-story townhomes, each of them offering four bedroom. The second building will be similar in height but smaller in size, with only 5,000 square feet that will include three apartments, each with two bedrooms. Standing two stories taller, the third building will be the largest one at Fulton Place. It will encompass 125,000 square feet of mixed-use space, offering 102 housing units in a combination on 14 one-bedroom units, 84 two-bedrooms and four four-bedroom units.

Fulton Place will also include 10,000 square feet of ground-level retail space, as well as a two-story garage and street-level parking space.

According to the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Rockford Construction will invest $35 million towards the development of Fulton Place.

Click here for further market data on Detroit.

Rendering courtesy of Rockford Construction

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