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Elton Park lofts in historic Checker Cab Building near completion

Candice Williams
The Detroit News
Soave Real Estate Group is redeveloping the former Checker Cab building into apartments and retail spaces.  It’s one of six mixed-use buildings that will comprise Elton Park in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood.

By the end of the year, the first group of tenants are expected to move into a $150-million mixed-use development that has transformed the former Checker Cab Building in Corktown.

The former cab building, part of the first phase of the Elton Park project on Trumbull near Michigan Avenue, will feature 45 one-bedroom apartments and seven two-bedroom apartments. It’s one of six mixed-use buildings in the development just east of the old Tiger Stadium. Pre-leasing for the apartments began Tuesday for occupancy as early as December.

“We envision the project as the development of an entire internal neighborhood,” said Tysen McCarthy, vice president of Soave Enterprises. McCarthy outlined the project Tuesday during a hard-hat tour for the news media.

Tysen McCarthy, VP Soave Enterprises gives a tour of a one-bedroom model at the Checker Cab building. The building is being converted into residential and commercial usage in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood.

Developers have retained numerous historic features in the 1928 building, including Checker Cab Co. artwork in a stairwell and the original beams and columns in the apartments.

Views from the building include the Detroit Police Athletic League complex on the site of the former Tiger Stadium.

“We’ve enjoyed very much watching their games come along over the past year,” McCarthy said.

A rooftop terrace will accommodate 20-25 people and offers a full panoramic view of downtown Detroit, he said.

Soave Real Estate Group broke ground on Elton Park in May 2017. Since that time, the company has created apartment units with tall windows, polished concrete flooring, granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances.

A 1951 Checker Cab was found, covered with a tarp, at the start of the project, in the future first -floor parking area.

“We’ve done a lot of hard work and design to keep a very open interior space for people to gather and enjoy with their friends,” McCarthy said. “We’ve done a lot of hard work to make sure we’ve picked very high-quality finishes.”

Monthly rents will range from $1,020 and up for a one-bedroom unit ranging from 600 to 900 square feet, to $1,900 and up for a two-bedroom unit ranging from 950 to 1,175 square feet.

The other five buildings in the first phase of Elton Park are expected to be complete in the spring 2019 for a total of 151 apartments and 13,500 square feet of retail space. The buildings will be integrated by a gathering space called Checker Alley that will be lined with commercial businesses between the Checker building and 2120 Trumbull.

The site of the development was once primarily commercial and vacant land, said Anthony Soave, president and CEO of Soave Enterprises.

“We are delighted with how these apartments homes have turned out,” he said.

A aerial rendering of the Elton Park design shows the remodeled Checker Cab building in the lower left along Trumbull.  Elton Park is envisioned as a 24-hour residential and commercial district within Corktown.

The construction of Elton Park comes as other developers in the area make progress on their developments. Across Trumbull, modular apartment units are being set into place at the Corner, a mixed-use development by the Larson Realty Group on the former site of Tiger Stadium.

McCarthy noted Ford Motor Co.'s plans to create a $740-million Corktown campus including a redevelopment of Michigan Central Station.

“One of the things that led us to really be excited about the opportunity for Elton Park was the fact that there was already so much activity going on,” McCarthy said. “Ford’s announcement obviously for the train station is going to be exciting for the neighborhood. We’re also very excited about our neighbors the Corner coming along and watching them construct and lift their modular units onto the building.”

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN