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The empty “Hammer and Nail” building on Woodward in Midtown Detroit is about to strike a posh new look as upscale apartments with ground-floor retail.

The midcentury modern tower at 3800 Woodward was known for the blinking neon signs atop the building that showed a hammer hitting a nail. They were a tribute to a local carpenters union once headquartered there.

The structure, built in 1965, was headed for demolition after being vacant since 2013. But in January 2015, a plan emerged to redevelop the building into 72 market-rate apartments and 2,000 square feet of retail.

One of the neon hammers is being restored and will be placed somewhere on the building. The other has been donated to the carpenters union, according to the developers.

Construction of the $22 million project started Friday. Slated to open early next year, the building is being renamed The Plaza. It will house 50 one-bedroom, 20 two-bedroom and two three-bedroom apartments, according to the developers, Detroit-based Roxbury Group. Monthly rent starts at $1,500.

On Friday, officials showed off the raw site of what will become two penthouse apartments on the top floor. Each of the future penthouses provide panoramic views of the booming Woodward Avenue, downtown and Midtown.

The new apartments are evidence that parts of Detroit are the hot new place to rent. A recent report found Detroit had the most permits for new multifamily units in southeast Michigan last year.

SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, reported that out of a total of 2,738 multifamily units permits issued in Metro Detroit in 2015, the city had the most at 882.

laguilar@detroitnews.com

Twitter: LouisAguilar_DN

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