200 new apartments open in Art Deco building in Detroit's New Center

Hayley Harding
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Kahn Apartments, which brings 200 additional housing units to Detroit's New Center Commons neighborhood, opened Wednesday to fanfare and a tour from the mayor.

The apartments are in the Albert Kahn Building at 7430 Second Avenue, which was redeveloped by Lutz Real Estate Investments/Northern Equities and includes several units aimed at low-income tenants.

Developer Matthew Sosin, left, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and developer Adam Lutz, tour the 8th floor outdoor patio deck of the Albert Kahn Building apartment complex in the New Center area on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.

Speaking before the ribbon cutting, Mayor Mike Duggan said he felt the apartments were emblematic of Detroit's future and called project developers Adam Lutz and Matt Sosin "visionaries."

"The future of downtowns is not a city where you drive in in the morning and you drive back out to the suburbs at night. That kind of development doesn't sustain the kind of shopping you want, doesn't really sustain the kind of entertainment you want," Duggan said. "The city you are seeing built in Detroit is going to have a lot of people living here with a lot of choices to shop, a lot of choices for entertainment. You've got all four professional sports teams not far from here, you can go next door to the theater, there are a number of offices nearby as well."

The game and recreation room at the newly renovated Albert Kahn Building in Detroit on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021.

Duggan applauded the building for having dozens of units that would fall below market rates. Property manager Justine Tuma said that rents in the more affordable units, which make up about a fifth of the apartments, are available to those who make 80% of the area's median income: starting at $1,200 a month.

Rent in the rest of the units start at $1,535 for a studio and go up to $4,500 monthly for a two-story penthouse. Even before the building's official opening, Tuma said about 30% of the units are already occupied.

The building itself was opened in 1931 and follows the Art Deco style of the era. Many features of the building were saved in the remodel, including gold accents, mail chutes and even water fountains. Lutz said that the building's 700 windows are all original, restored with double-paned glass for energy efficiency but otherwise true to architect Albert Kahn's original vision.

The units themselves have a much more modern feel, although they too pay homage to the building's history. They have stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and cabinets with brass hardware. Each unit has its own washer and dryer.

Communal spaces include a rooftop patio, several lounges and a 3,000-square-foot gym where Tuma said instructors would hold fitness classes and one-on-one training sessions. Residents also have access to bike storage and a pet spa, which has a wash station and both indoor and outdoor relief areas. 

The game and recreation room at the newly renovated Albert Kahn Building in Detroit.

Lutz told The News that he and Sosin saw the building as an exciting challenge, one where they could both work within the Art Deco look and feel while also creating modern housing. 

Many of his past projects are in the suburbs, but he said that as a fourth-generation Detroiter, it was important to do the kind of work that could help revitalize the city.

"My parents grew up here, and they would show me their neighborhoods when I was a kid, but it was hard to envision anything because it was so depressed at that time," Lutz said. "I really wanted to be a part of this city's rebound."

Lutz said he and Sosin own several other buildings along Second Avenue that they plan to redevelop. The goal is to create a revitalized corridor in the area, he said. 

"We're excited about what's to come."