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Developers offered a look Monday at the progress on a $16 million project to turn a cold storage building into a co-working space and food hall in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood.

The first floor-to-ceiling window has been installed in the nine-story building at 2937-67 E. Grand Blvd. It will be among dozens of windows that will pour light into the long-abandoned building known for its rainbow-colored mural.

“It is a relatively small project but because it is out of the norm, it attracts a great deal of interest,” said Peter Cummings, executive The Platform, the Detroit-based development group undertaking the project.

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The tour Monday kicked off the Urban Land Institute of Michigan’s first Spring Real Estate Summit at Cobo Center. The two-day event for real estate professionals is a follow-up to a national Urban Land Institute spring meeting held in Detroit last year.

Developments included in the tour were The Corner, a mixed-used development in Corktown, Pullman Parc in Lafayette Park and Bedrock’s City Modern development in Brush Park. A reception was set for Wednesday night at the recently opened Shinola Hotel. 

“It gives the attendees a firsthand view of what’s happening in the local market, current trends,” said Jill Ferrari, vice chair of Urban Land Institute of Michigan, of the tours. “They can apply what they’ve seen.”

For example, the Chroma project falls under Opportunity Zone rules that allow investors to reduce or avoid capital gains taxes by investing in designated areas. Ferrari will participate in a session Tuesday on the topic of successful opportunity zone investments.

Other topics Tuesday will include women in development, state and federal incentives, and climate change and real estate.

At Chroma, Florida-based Grandview Public Market will run a 14,000-square-foot public hall on the first two floors. It will serve as an incubator for local food entrepreneurs and include a full bar. The third floor will house a nonprofit tenant who Cummings said will be announced soon.  

Beauty Shoppe, a Pittsburgh-based firm, will operate a 15,000-square-feet co-working space on the seventh and eighth floors. There will be an event space in the basement.

"We refer to this building as a hub of creativity, design and business innovation," Cummings said. "This is unlike any project that I've ever done."

Construction began in January, and challenges in a building 100-plus years old arose, said Larry Marantette of Detroit-based Taktix Solutions.

“It has had issues on how it’s been maintained over the years,” he said. “Integrity of the walls, the brick … We’re managing that as we’re building inside the building.”

Marantette said there have also been challenges bringing utilities into a building in a very tight space on Grand Boulevard.

The project is on target for completion in November.

Crews also removed a freight elevator shaft to install a second stairwell. Framing is up for restrooms on each floor.

While much of the interior will change, plans call for preserving the 100-foot-by-125-foot rainbow-colored artwork, “Illuminated Mural,” on the building’s west side. When The Platform went under contract to buy the building in 2017, it agreed with the artist that the mural would remain.

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN

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