Restaurants, apartments planned for Broadway in Detroit

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Detroit — Work is years away from wrapping on a multimillion development in Detroit’s Paradise Valley district downtown, but the project has already spurred development on nearby blocks.

Roger Basmajian, president of real estate company Basco of Michigan, said the redevelopments are intended to “reinvigorate” Broadway.

Roger Basmajian, president of real estate company Basco of Michigan, said he’ll spend roughly $11 million renovating and adding two floors to three properties on the 1300 block of Broadway. Two restaurants, office space and 30 residential units are part of the renovation across the street from the Punch Bowl Social entertainment complex.

It’s around the block from the future Paradise Valley Cultural and Entertainment District. The $52.4 million Paradise Valley project, announced in June, will add restaurants, clubs, a hotel and housing to an area bordered by East Grand River, Centre and Randolph.

Basmajian, who will also build a club and hotel in the Paradise Valley project, said his work on Broadway will stitch together what will be two lively areas in downtown Detroit.

Within a few blocks of his site, Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert also has major projects lined up, including potentially building two new office and residential towers, and construction at the former J.L. Hudson site. Up Broadway, developers are working on redeveloping two historic buildings into hotels.

Broadway cuts between the Paradise Valley district and Gilbert’s Z Garage site, which in addition to parking houses multiple restaurants, bars and stores. Basmajian’s buildings on Broadway are some of the last vacant buildings on the block, as only part of one of the buildings is occupied by a convenience store.

“We want to reinvigorate that street,” he said. “We’re very much about placemaking ... We definitely have kind of a site plan we see connecting the developments.”

Basmajian said he’s working closely with developers behind the Paradise Valley project.

An alley will serve as a walkable entryway for restaurants, shops and bars.

Once finished in 2019, his buildings will add about 42,000 square feet of mixed-use space to downtown. About 7,700 square feet of space on the first floor is devoted to two restaurants, one of which will be “finer,” Basmajian said.

The other restaurant will have an alleyway entrance, which Basmajian said is a step to mirror alleyway activation seen at the Z Garage across Broadway, where multiple bars and art galleries use the alley as an extension of the sidewalk.

“We like walkability,” Basmajian said. “We like a challenge.”

The developer bought the space at 1322 Broadway in 2015. In an early December meeting, the Detroit Downtown Development Authority sold him the two other buildings for $800,000.

According to the development agreement with the DDA, the properties were primed for redevelopment given work underway in the adjacent districts.

Basmajian plans to “bring the historic facade back up” on the three buildings, which are in poor shape inside and out.

“We’re going to gut them and start from scratch,” he said.

Conceptual renderings show the additional two floors planned for the site set on the back of the buildings so as not to alter the facade. Basmajian’s designs will need further approval from the city.

Six of the 30 residential units will be reserved for low-income households making less than 80 percent of the area median income.

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Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau