First modular home installed at Detroit's famous 'Corner'
Detroit — A large crane set into place a modular apartment Tuesday, marking a construction milestone for a $30 million mixed-use development project on the former site of Tiger Stadium.
Six to 12 modular units, with fully complete interiors, will be installed each day at the development known as "The Corner," said Eric Larson, president and CEO of Larson Realty Group. The Bloomfield Hills-based company is developing the site at Michigan Avenue and Trumbull.
Officials broke ground on the site in May, and the development is expected to open in February. It will feature 111 residential units and 26,000-square-feet of commercial space.
The modular units are constructed in a plant off-site, speeding up the project’s completion, Larson said. Within 30 days, he expects all four residential floors will be installed.
“I really do believe in this technology,” he said. “I think it’s a process we can build on here in this city. It’s a process that has been used in a lot of other cities, especially in European cities. It’s an opportunity to build the base while the upper floors are being built at the same time.
"… What would normally be a 16- to 18-month construction window we’re now at 8 to 10 months. It cuts the time in half and allows us to create a quality product but in a short period of time.”
Troy-based Champion Homes manufactures the units, ranging from studio to two-bedroom apartments. The average apartment will be 650 square feet and the largest unit 1,200 square feet. Rents will start at $1,100 monthly, Larson said.
The development will include affordable housing for 20 percent of its units. There will also be below-market rental rates for small businesses in the retail spaces.
“I think one of the great things about the Corner project is you see a developer who has taken to heart crafting a development that is sensitive to the neighborhood and honoring the longtime heritage of that site and looking to the future,” said Sarah Pavelko, director of real estate for the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.
Pavelko said that Larson’s company is working with the DEGC’s small business team to identify small local businesses.
Larson said that his company has already received interest from the public regarding the residential units and commercial space.
“There’s all the buzz around Corktown and what’s happening,” Larson said. “This is such a historic site so people are excited to be a part of the future legacy of this site cause there’s so much past legacy. We really have made this equitable and accessible. So the idea of really embracing the local businesses and providing a cost-effective opportunity is important."
The DEGC was involved in the city's process of selecting developers to take on the redevelopment of the former Tiger Stadium site. The site is now home to the Corner development and the Detroit Police Athletic Complex, which opened in March.
Watching the installation of the first apartment — a studio unit — was exciting, Pavelko said. She joined a crowd of onlookers who watched just yards away on Michigan Avenue.
“I think it was a great opportunity to showcase a new type of construction,” she said. “We know construction costs significantly impact the feasibility of a project moving forward. To see different approaches to addressing the construction costs is great. It’s incredible to see how quickly the project is going to go up.”