Detroit’s Riverfront Towers sold to New York firm

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

A Detroit luxury high-rise apartment complex that once counted dignitaries and celebrities such as Rosa Parks, Coleman A. Young and Aretha Franklin as residents has been sold to a New York City-based firm.

Two of the three Riverfront Towers were sold to Image Capital LLC and private investors for $79.5 million, the company said Thursday. The seller was Riverfront Tower Holdings LLC.

The 577-units are expected to be managed by Indianapolis-based AMP Residential, which oversees properties in Alabama, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, according to a letter sent to residents that announced the sale.

“We have exciting changes in store and we are looking forward to meeting and exceeding your expectations,” Jonathan Merkle, AMP regional manager, wrote in the letter.

The letter does not address Image Capital’s plan for the towers. It does say “all of the privileges and obligations identified in your lease agreement remain in full force and effect.”

Image Capital was formed in 2010 “to provide real estate investment opportunities on behalf of its high net worth and institutional clients” and has invested “over $300 million in a diverse portfolio of high quality real estate assets,” according to its website.

Among Image’s listed properties are the CNN building in Washington, D.C., and One South Wacker in Chicago.

The 26-story Tower 100 and 29-story Tower 200 were listed for sale last summer through Berkadia, the real estate company handling the listing, which did not post a price. Tower 300, which was converted to condominiums in 2005-07, according to the listing, was not included in the sale.

The site on Riverfront Drive boasts “stunning panoramic views of international waters and bustling city scenes,” the listing said.

The towers are within walking distance of Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Center and Hart Plaza. There’s also a 77-slip marina, which Image Capital said it plans to reopen.

Unit upgrades, including granite kitchen counter tops, stainless steel appliances and LED lighting, also are planned, along with upgrades to the common areas, according to Image Capital.

The property has undergone more than $4 million in improvements in recent years — including renovations to the health club, office, lobby and interiors of the elevators, according to the listing.

Riverfront Tower 200 was built in 1983 by Max Fisher and A. Alfred Taubman. Tower 100 was erected in 1992. Tower 300, which houses condominiums, was also built in 1983 by Fisher and Taubman.

In 2011, the former owners New Jersey-based companies Empirian at Riverfront LLC and Aintsar Riverfront LLC defaulted on a $55 million mortgage.

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Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed.