Gilbert aims to add apartments in historic Capitol Park

Louis AguilarThe Detroit News

Detroit — A former strip club in an historic 19th-century building in downtown’s Capitol Park is targeted for demolition to make way for a 10-story apartment structure with ground floor retail.

The new building is the plan of Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services, the entity that controls more than 70 downtown properties. Bedrock revealed its plans Wednesday night during a meeting of the city’s Historic District Commission. The Board of Historic Commission approved by a 5-2 majority the demolition of the 1416 Griswold building.

The former strip club has had various names the past few years. It was last known as The Grind. An extensive fire shut the strip club down last winter.

“This would be our first construction of residential downtown,” said Steve Ogden, Bedrock’s director of real estate development, on Wednesday.

The new building could include up to 175 apartments and have other mixed-use space for retail or commercial. Ogden pointed out plans were early, and the number of apartments could change. The new building would be constructed mainly on a parking lot on the northeast corner of Griswold and Grand River, Ogden said.

But the building would also take up space of the former strip club, which is next to the parking lot. Bedrock has a purchase agreement with the current owner of the former strip club, Ogden said. The three-story structure was built in 1873 and was originally a repair shop for horse carriages and wagons, according to information provided by Kraemer Design Group, which is a consultant on the project.

Capitol Park is a block-long triangle that has attracted more than $100 million in investment since 2009. Capitol Park is bounded by Shelby, Griswold and State with an open area in the middle.

Fewer than a dozen buildings, many of them historical, surround the commons. Most of the buildings have changed ownership in the past few years and are undergoing extensive upgrades and renovations. Some are being overhauled into upscale apartments and office space. Three are part of an $85 million redevelopment plan that’s getting taxpayer subsidies.

There is a plan for Capitol Park to become “the heart of a new art and design experience.” That’s how the area is described by a private and public coalition called Opportunity Detroit, which outlines a broad planning vision for downtown.

Bedrock already owns six properties in Capitol Park.

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