Ex-Dearborn Hyatt sale closed to New York real estate firm, which plans apartments

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

A New York-based real estate investment firm has closed on the former Dearborn Hyatt Regency, marking a step forward in plans to convert empty hotel rooms into apartment units.

Amir Makled, an attorney who represented the buyer, Rhodium Capital Advisors, on Thursday confirmed to The Detroit News that the deal had closed but declined to comment on the sale price. Rhodium purchased the property from the U.S. Marshals Service.

The former Dearborn Hyatt Regency is an 18-story, 773-unit property that sits on more than 23 acres near the Fairlane Town Center shopping mall.

"We're just really excited to get this project up and rolling," Makled said. "We think it's going to be a great project for the city of Dearborn and the region."

Current plants call for upwards of $50 million in investment to rehabilitate the property — located at 600 Town Center Drive — and convert it into a 400-unit market-rate, "upscale" apartment complex with banquet and restaurant space.

"There's a ton of rehab work that needs to (be done)," Makled said. "There's going to be a lot of demolition and construction that needs to happen to transition 800 rooms into 400 apartments. That being said, we anticipate (opening) around 2023."

Makled said Rhodium plans to seek unspecified tax incentives from the state and city of Dearborn to help finance the redevelopment.

The redevelopment plans cap nearly a decade of management issues surrounding the property. The Hyatt hotel chain ended its management agreement with the property in 2012. It later was sold to an offshore investment group, then to Chinese-Canadian businessman Edward Gong's company, which operated it as the Edward Hotel & Convention Center.

In 2018, Gong was charged by Chinese prosecutors over a $275 million pyramid scheme (in June, New Zealand authorities announced a settlement). That December, Dearborn officials closed the site over safety violations.

The Jonna Group had been marketing the 18-story, 773-unit property, which sits on more than 23 acres near the Fairlane Town Center shopping mall, and in September said it had found a buyer after the property was on the market for under two months and drawn more than a dozen offers. 

According to an overview the Jonna Group provided at that time, the property has an assessed value of $6.5 million.

According to its website, Rhodium's portfolio focuses on urban multi-family housing properties and suburban office properties in the New York City metropolitan area, as well as "suburban, garden-style" apartments in other markets. The group owns and operates thousands of apartments across the U.S.


Twitter: @JGrzelewski

Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed.