3 local firms behind top bid for Kahn, Fisher buildings

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

Detroit— Redico LLC, Peter Cummings and John Rhea are the local partners behind the winning bid for the historic Fisher and Albert Kahn buildings and their individual track records include some key Detroit developments.

The HFZ Capital Group, an upscale Manhattan real estate firm, along with Redico, Cummings and Rhea won the landmark buildings in Detroit’s New Center with a $12.2 million bid. The buildings were sold as a package deal during an online auction that ended Wednesday.

In addition to the Fisher and Kahn buildings, the sale includes more than 2,000 parking spaces in two parking structures and three surface lots. The closing will occur sometime in July.

The group aims to convert the buildings into “a true, urban, mixed-use development,” according to a press release issued Thursday by Redico. “The partnership envisions office, retail, residential and entertainment uses, which will require additional investment into the properties,” the statement said.

Redico is a national real estate development and property management company.

Some of Redico’s past projects include the One Kennedy Square and Compuware buildings in downtown Detroit. It is behind the current plan to convert the former state fairgrounds into a mixed-use development. It also helped develop the Gateway Marketplace on the east side, which included bringing the first Meijer grocer store to the city.

Peter Cummings, former chair of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, also has a long track record in Detroit real estate. He played a key role in convincing grocer Whole Foods to open its Midtown store, which many hailed as a victory for a city with few national retailers. He also developed or invested in the residential projects The Ellington in Midtown and the Riverfront Towers downtown.

Rhea, the managing partner of Rhea Capital Management, is developing the former Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center site in the Brush Park.

The firm HFZ Capital Group is a real estate investment and development company that manages more than 5 million square feet of Manhattan property, according to its website.

Adam Feldman, who handled the acquisition for the Manhattan firm, said the company has a depth of experience in revitalizing iconic properties, according to the press statement. “This acquisition extends our reach to the city with a great future and to working with local partners who know the market really well and appreciate its full potential,” said Feldman.

“We are very pleased to have won the auction, along with our partners, and are excited to be a part of Detroit’s continued revitalization,” said Dietrich Knoer, chief investment officer of Redico. He continued, “With the recent activity downtown and in Midtown, along with the imminent arrival of the M-1 rail, New Center development is the next step in Detroit’s comeback. We are pleased to have put together a local group of development partners with strong capital support.”