$37.3 million project to turn old Studebaker site into apartments

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit-based developer The Platform plans to begin construction this fall on a $37.3 million project to transform a long-vacant Milwaukee Junction building into a 162-unit apartment complex.

In a brownfield development plan submitted to the city of Detroit, the developer says the project, known as the Piquette Flats, will help meet the demand for workforce housing stock in the neighborhood. It will be housed in the former Studebaker sales and service center at 411 Piquette Ave.

This is a rendering of The Platform's plans for the former Studebaker sales and service center in Milwaukee Junction.

The firm is seeking $2 million in tax increment financing for its cost to remediate the four-story, 108,000-square-foot industrial building. The plan was first reported by Crain’s Detroit Business.

A virtual public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. June 20 before the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

“The Platform is excited about the potential to continue investing in and enhancing the vibrancy of the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood,” Craig Fahle, a spokesman for The Platform, said in a statement Monday.

“Piquette Flats transforms a long-vacant historic industrial building into much needed workforce housing bringing new energy to Milwaukee Junction. We are committed to working with the city and state as we strive to bring this development to life.”

Work is expected to be complete in December 2023. The general contractor for the project is Performance Contracting Inc. and the architect is Kraemer Design Group.

The plan calls for units priced at “workforce housing rates,” which would range from 70% to 120% of the average median income with 9% of the units at or below 70%, 52% of units at 80% and 39% of the units at 100%.

The housing unit breakdown includes: 72 studio apartments, 87 one-bedroom and three two-bedroom units. The first floor would include a fitness room, private workspaces for residents, postal lockers and package room. The project also includes 175 surface parking spots.

The building is owned by 411 Piquette, an entity related to The Platform, which Peter Cummings formed in 2016. It sits next to the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, where the Model T was born. When Ford outgrew the site and moved to Highland Park, the auto company sold the Piquette Plant and land at 411 Piquette to Studebaker in 1911. Studebaker built the four-story industrial building and used it as its sales and service center.

According to the plan, The Platform says to make the project viable it also plans to seek an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Abatement and Michigan Community Revitalization Program loan.


Twitter: @CWilliams_DN