County: Vacant downtown Detroit building may get new owners
A vacant building on Woodward Avenue may have new owners as part of a $4.65 million deal between Wayne County and the Elia Group, county officials announced Sunday.
The tentative sale of the 29,968 square-foot building at 511 Woodward in downtown Detroit is pending approval by the Wayne County Commission.
The Downtown Detroit Partnership will be its first official tenant. There are plans to make the development a mixed-use building with a restaurant on the first floor and the Wayne County/DDP Welcome Center, officials said.
The property purchase, said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, "will activate prime space between Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza that has sat vacant for years."
"This is the type of public-private partnership we're committed to and is another step in our recovery plan," Evans said in a statement. "We are looking forward to having DDP at 511 Woodward and are excited for what Elia Group will do with this space."
The Elia Group, which owns Parc in Campus Martius, 220 Merrill in Birmingham and the operates the Ford Building, has been purchasing and managing property in southeast Michigan since 2008.
“This sale represents a forward-thinking vision for Wayne County by embarking on a plan for integrated development between the private, nonprofit and public sectors,” said Zaid Elia, president and CEO of the Elia Group. “It’s our duty to re-imagine iconic landmarks such as this as social hubs for the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators in the city.”
DDP officials said in a statement that they are excited about moving into the building and their "mission to strengthen and support downtown Detroit."
"This opportunity would provide a long-term home for our organization," said Eric Larson, CEO of DDP. "It will position us to be closer to the community we serve and, with the development of the Welcome Center in partnership with Wayne County, this designated space will become a much-needed gathering place for the public."
The expected sale of the Woodward building follows a redevelopment boom in downtown Detroit, which is fueling the city's recovery.
Two of the most prominent redevelopment projects are Ford Motor Co.’s $740 million plan for Michigan Central Depot and Corktown properties, and the $1 billion development on the former site of Hudson's store downtown by Dan Gilbert's real estate firm Bedrock.
Gilbert affiliate Bedrock owns more than 18 million square feet of commercial space in downtown Detroit and Cleveland. Quicken Loans Inc. founder and developer Dan Gilbert's firms have since moved more than 17,000 workers downtown.
Despite the downtown resurgence, a report issued by Moody's Investor's Service earlier this month called for strengthening the city's tax base beyond downtown.