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Detroit — An iconic building in Midtown underwent a $22 million redevelopment over the past 18 months and is now open to renters.

The Plaza, a 100,000-square-foot apartment building at 3800 Woodward Ave., celebrated its grand opening Friday after being remodeled by Detroit-based Roxbury Group.

The former Professional Plaza Building is more commonly known as “the hammer and nail building” for two neon signs that shined from the top while it was home to the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.

Roxbury Group acquired the building in 2015, saving it from the wrecking ball after the carpenters left in 2014. The building has turned into 72 one- and two-bedroom apartments and includes 2,000-square-feet of retail space.

“We are honored to redevelop and steward this important and iconic building into its next chapter but still remain as a landmark,” David Di Rita, Roxbury Group principal, said of the 12-story tower originally built in 1963.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan joined DiRita on Friday in announcing the project’s completion.

“This building has a special meaning to me,” said Duggan, who noted in the past he often met with people who failed visions to make the space into a viable office and that “everyone thought it was going to be demolished.”

“But what a beautiful place it is for people to live,” he added. “All long-time Detroiters remember the hammer and nail sign moving and could see from a mile down Woodward.”

Duggan and Toney Stewart, executive director for the carpenters union, turned on the restored iconic hammer and nail neon sign, which has been permanently placed in the lobby. The second iconic sign has been gifted to the carpenters union, now based in Warren.

Former workers were invited back to the building Friday to tour the remodeled apartments.

“It’s great. It’s still very similar, there are a few changes that I don’t recognize and we only left here four years ago,” said Stewart, who has worked for the carpenters for 25 years.

Carpenters union office manager Cindy Gilmer was shocked to see her old office is the new penthouse suite.

“It’s crazy. The bosses office is now the living room and this lobby used to have a party store where I bought all my scratch-offs from,” said Gilmer. “After we moved to Warren, I was really sad. I miss the city and I miss sneaking to the top of the building to watch the fireworks with my daughter.”

There are 50 one-bedroom, 20 two-bedroom and two three-bedroom apartments. The apartment rental prices start at $1,500 per month and a quarter of the units are already reserved, officials said.

No retail spaces have been announced yet. The grounds also include a private dog park.

Midtown Detroit Inc. Director Susan Mosey praised the project and its partners for bringing more new housing options to the city’s Midtown.

“It fits perfectly and I’m thrilled to see this property reopen as original as possible,” Mosey said.

srahal@detroitnews.com

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