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General News

New Greektown 16-Story High-Rise Building Planned

DETROIT, MI – A new 16-story tower is planned for the Greektown neighborhood in Detroit, Crain’s Detroit Business reported on June 11, noting that the high rise building will be built “on what are currently surface parking lots.”

The Exchange, as the project is called, will have “165 residential units with the 12 units on the top floors being for-sale condos and the other 153 being apartments, according to documents provided to the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, which is being asked to approve $2.8 million in brownfield financing,” Crain’s reported, adding that “it would be the first residential property in the neighborhood.”

“The developer is Gratiot Acquisition Partners LLC, an entity connected to LiftBuild, a Southfield-based subsidiary of Southfield-based general contractor Barton Malow Co,” Crain’s reported, noting that “Dearborn-based Ghafari Associates and the architecture firm 1+1+, which has offices in New York City, Ann Arbor and Chicago, worked on the project,” and “LiftBuild is the general contractor.”

LiftBuild senior director of project development Marisa Varga, told Crain’s on June 11 that “construction on the $64.6 million tower across five parcels totaling a half-acre at Gratiot Avenue and Brush Street should start in October and wrap up in January 2022.” Gratiot Acquisition Partners “expects to close on the purchase of the five properties from two separate owners by July 31,” Crain’s reported.

The site “sits near the planned $750 million redevelopment of the 15-acre former Wayne County Consolidated Jail site at Gratiot Avenue and I-375, which is now expected to become a University of Michigan graduate school initiative called the Detroit Center for Innovation in a collaboration between billionaires Dan Gilbert and Stephen Ross, plus the Ann Arbor university,” Crain’s reported, adding that “it would be for students in things like mobility, AI, sustainability, cybersecurity, financial technology and other fields.”

Varga told Crain’s that “LiftBuild's construction process — which allows individual floors to be built at the ground level and then hoisted into place — saves 30 percent on a typical construction schedule,” and “equity financing is secured, and the project in addition is seeking Neighborhood Enterprise Zone financing.”

"We've been working on it for a year now. We are confident we'll have the financing we need to move ahead,” Varga said, Crain’s reported.

The average size of a studio would be 433 square feet while two-bedroom units would be 855 square feet, Crain’s reported, adding that “there would be 78 studios, 50 one-bedrooms and 25 two-bedroom apartments, plus four one-bedroom condos, six two-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units.”

“Twenty percent of the apartment units would be considered affordable for those making 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI),” Crain’s reported, pointing out that “the AMI includes suburban Detroit, and is currently $76,300 for a family of four and $61,100 for a two-person household, meaning that 80 percent is $61,030 and $48,880, respectively,” and “the use of AMI for determining what housing is affordable has been criticized because the suburban household incomes skew upward the city's household income.”

Varga told Crain’s that “the project has been set back slightly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

She said, ”We believe when we deliver this project, we'll be able to deliver residents to the city that are needed right now, and the timing should be really appropriate as businesses and organizations continue to pull through and recognize how to operate post COVID,” Crain’s reported.

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