Details emerge on major Corktown development

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

Plenty of new details emerged Tuesday about the major residential and retail development planned near the former Tiger Stadium site in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.

A rendering of the Elton Park residential and retail development planned in Corktown across from the former Tiger Stadium.

The project on land owned by billionaire Anthony Soave is an estimated $43.8-million development called Elton Park with 151 housing units and 124,000 square feet of retail. It would include the overhaul of the Checker Cab building at 2128 Trumbull and construction of eight new buildings, according to public documents given to a state government agency. Construction is expected to begin in the spring.

On Tuesday afternoon, the development received a $6.9 million equity investment from the Michigan Strategic Fund in Lansing. The fund’s board has power to approve state-controlled tax funds and grants to projects expected to spark economic development.

The Elton Park development, named for a former park, will span five blocks on the northeast edge of Corktown, according to a press release sent by representatives for Soave.

“We are very excited to build upon the investment we’ve had in Corktown for nearly 20 years with the Checker Cab business,” Anthony Soave, president and CEO of Soave Enterprises, said in a written statement.

“With the growth of the Corktown neighborhood and strong demand for new housing, we knew that now was the right time to bring our real estate expertise to this asset.”

The project will include the overhaul of the Checker Cab site at 2128 Trumbull and construction of eight new buildings.

Details of the project:

■Redevelopment of the three-story historic Checker Cab building into a mixed-use facility with an estimated 52 residential units, first-floor commercial space and an estimated 95 parking spaces.

■Construction of a four-story, mixed-use building with an estimated 45 residential units and first-floor commercial space.

■Construction of a five-story mixed-use building with an estimated 40 residential units and first-floor commercial space

■Construction of two, three-story buildings on either side of the UFO Factory bar on Trumbull. The buildings will have 10 residential units and first floor commercial space.

■Construction of four three-story town homes.

Twenty percent of the residential units will be set aside at “affordable housing” rates.

MEDC CEO Steve Arwood, CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corp, praised the Corktown project. The MEDC oversees the Michigan Strategic Fund.

“Clearly Detroit is beyond rebound,” he said. “They’re in a different kind of mode now. You know, way beyond what I would call ‘rebound,’ I would call rapid redevelopment, and it’s great to see that markets beginning to respond.”

The development is on land owned by an entity, Trident-Checker LLC, controlled by Anthony Soave. Soave is founder of Detroit-based Soave Enterprises LLC. Trident-Checker LLC owns the huge Checker Cab building on Trumbull, one block north of Michigan Avenue. Behind Checker Cab, heading east toward downtown, Trident-Checker owns a big slice of the next two blocks bordered by Plum, Elizabeth and Brooklyn. Soave also owns a property on Elizabeth between Eighth and Brooklyn, which borders his bigger swath of land.

Soave is teaming up with The Roxbury Group, the Detroit development and consulting firm that’s behind some of the city’s most high-profile renovations of historic buildings and new developments in recent years.

According to the company website, Soave Enterprises generates $2.6 billion in revenue annually from holdings that include auto dealerships, beverage distribution and transportation. The Soave Real Estate Group is behind three waterfront condominium developments in Florida, a major condo development in Phoenix’s art district and a 2,000-acre planned community in Loudoun County, Virginia.

The Corktown project would be his first residential development in Detroit.

Michael Gerstein of The Detroit News contributed.