This bricked-up warehouse is used as a garage for the Shriners' buses, and should have fetched $1 million, local developers estimate. (Elizabeth Conley / The Detroit News)
The Detroit Shriners have agreed to sell a Cass Corridor garage in the heart of the planned $650 million entertainment district that will be anchored by the Detroit Red Wings’ future home ice. The garage easily fetched more than $1 million, according to speculation from local developers.
“We have an arrangement in place to sell,” said Chuck Baer, president of the Detroit Shriners group, the local chapter of the International Shriners organization. He declined to say who is buying the building, nor would he reveal the price.
The property is on a corner of Ledyard Street and Cass Avenue, one block south of the Masonic Temple. It’s a 12,564-square-foot class C warehouse, according to commercial property database Costar. The building’s windows have been bricked up, and some of the graffiti on its walls is the size of a bus. The Shriners have been parking buses there when the fraternal organization participates in events in the city.
Across the street on Cass is where the planned 650,000-square-foot, 18,000-seat multipurpose arena is expected to be built.
“We entertained a few offers,” Baer said. “We went with the group that had the most secure development plan. It is really a joy for the Detroit Shriners to be part of this great comeback of the neighborhood.”
It was easily a seven-figure deal, said several real estate developers who do business in Cass Corridor.
“That deal is well north of $1 million,” said Robert Slattery, president of Midtown Development Group. In the Cass Corridor, he added, “There are much smaller buildings that are asking $700,000, $800,000. Really, the atmosphere right now is crazy, the limit hasn’t been set yet on price.”
In June, the location of the new home ice for the Red Wings was unveiled after years of speculation. The arena is about four blocks north of the Fox Theatre and Comerica Park. The Fox is headquarters to the Ilitch family empire that includes Little Caesars Pizza. Comerica is home to his Detroit Tigers.
The arena’s borders are Woodward on the east, Cass to the west, the Temple on the north and 1-75 on the south.
The arena is just one slice of the 45-block “entertainment district” that was announced along with the arena’s location. The district will include retail, office and residential space, a hotel and parking structures. It generally reaches from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte between Woodward and Grand River.
Ilitch’s Olympia Development has committed to invest at least another $200 million for developments in the larger entertainment district. The entire project has an estimated economic benefit of $1.8 billion, officials said.