The Vibe in Paradise Valley

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Five developers with strong Detroit roots recently received approval from the Downtown Development Authority of the City of Detroit to redevelop nine properties in the Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District. The project will feature commercial and retail space, residential units, restaurants, entertainment venues and a boutique hotel, all scheduled to be built in the next three years.

Each developer has a great story to tell, and this is the first in a series that will run in this newsletter. Hamilton Development Corp., led by Rainy Hamilton, Jr., FAIA, NOMA, will renovate the 36,000 sq. ft. building at 1435 Randolph St. in which his firm, Hamilton Anderson Associates, has been an anchor tenant for Paradise Valley. It also will build a 16,000 sq. ft. new office building on the parking lot next door at 1455 Centre St.

“As the longest standing anchor tenant in the Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District (PVCED), formally Harmonie Park, I am incredibly proud to see the push for redevelopment of the area. I am even more honored to have the opportunity to not only participate as a property owner, but also with my architecture firm, Hamilton Anderson Associates (HAA), serving as design lead for most of the proposed developments.

”When I decided to make the move to establish my own firm more than 21 years ago, I knew that location would play a large part in our ability to provide creative design solutions to our clients in the city. At that time, Harmonie Park was perfect, and was also the place where I held my first job out of college as an architect. This area has always been home to me.
“It is a great time in the City of Detroit, one of rebirth and resurgence. I often refer to this as the ‘second wave’ of my 30+ year-long career as an architect. HAA is fortunate enough to be involved in some of the city’s most notable development projects, including: Brush Park, The District Detroit, several projects with Wayne State University, and a number of mixed-use residential projects with private developers. Adding PVCED to our diverse portfolio is an honor, not only professionally but personally. When my 91-year-old father arrived in Detroit many years ago, Paradise Valley was his first home. This development opportunity has come full circle for me and my family.

“My proposed development at 1435 Randolph St. and 1455 Centre St. will honor the history of Paradise Valley and offer commercial office space for fledging entrepreneurs, retail and dining, and as an homage to the importance of music, a jazz alley dedicated to local and national artists.”

Rainy Hamilton, Jr., FAIA, NOMA

Hamilton Development Corp.

DDA Approves Firms to Redevelop Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District

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The Downtown Development Authority of the City of Detroit (DDA) recently approved a comprehensive plan to redevelop nine properties in a historically significant pocket of downtown with a $52.4 million investment in new construction and renovations.

The Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District project includes the simultaneous redevelopment of five existing buildings and four surface lots. The project will feature commercial and retail space, residential units, restaurants, entertainment venues and a boutique hotel; all scheduled to be built over the next three years. The DDA voted to approve four of five projects. To meet a legal requirement, approval of the final project is expected at a later meeting of the Authority.

The winning proposals came from developers with strong Detroit roots. Several of the developers, including Rainy Hamilton, Jr., Hiram E. Jackson and Ismail Houmani, already have a major presence in Paradise Valley. Other developers include Patricia Cole and Roger Basmajian, and Dennis Archer, Jr.

The development plan includes these five projects:

  • Hastings Place.Paradise Valley Real Estate Holdings, II, LLC, led by Hiram E. Jackson as managing partner, plans to build a new 189,660 sq. ft. building on three current parking lots at 1468, 1480 & 1496 Randolph St.
  • Randolph Centre Building. Hamilton Development Corporation, led by Rainy Hamilton, Jr., FAIA, NOMA, as president, plans to renovate the 36,000 sq. ft. building in which his firm, Hamilton Anderson Associates has been an anchor tenant for Paradise Valley, at 1435 Randolph St., and to build a 16,000 sq. ft. new office building addition on the parking lot next door at 1455 Centre St.
  • Harmonie Club Hotel. 311 E. Grand River, LLC, led by Patricia Cole and Roger Basmajian as partners, plans to renovate the 36,000 sq. ft. building at 311 E. Grand River as the Harmonie Club Hotel.
  • Harmonie Pointe. Gotham Capital Partners, led by Dennis Archer, Jr., as managing partner, plans to renovate the 17,328 sq. ft. in two buildings at 1407 and 1427 Randolph St.
  • La Casa Cigars and Lounge. La Casa Properties, LLC, led by Ismail Houmani as principal, plans to purchase and refurbish the 7,500 sq. ft. building at 1502 Randolph St., in which he now operates La Casa Cigars and Lounge.

The development of Paradise Valley has been nearly a decade in the making.

At the urging of Detroit City Council, the Downtown Development Authority used casino fund dollars to purchase the buildings and lots in 2006 with the intention of developing an entertainment district that would celebrate African-American culture and the vibrant music scene of Paradise Valley. At that time, crime and blight was becoming a major concern in the district and the buildings were only 20% occupied.

“Stepping in to purchase these buildings to stabilize this section of the district was the right move,” Rod Miller, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC), said. “I’m proud that a decade later, the DEGC has found developers who have the capacity to develop the entire district at once and turn it into a cultural destination and economic hub that’ll serve Detroit for years to come.”

Moddie Turay

Executive Vice President – Real Estate 

Flex-N-Gate to Build New Facility in Detroit

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Flex-N-Gate, a top global auto supplier headquartered in Illinois, will invest $95 million in construction and capital costs to build a facility in the I-94 Industrial Park that will supply parts to Ford Motor Company. The project will create at least 400 and up to 650 new jobs in Detroit over the next three years.

“This news is further evidence that the United States auto industry is strong, promising and experiencing exceptional growth,” said Shahid Khan, owner.  “Building a new plant from the ground up within the Detroit city limits will be a milestone moment for Flex-N-Gate, made possible thanks to our partnership and collaboration with Ford Motor Company, the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan.”

Flex-N-Gate has committed to meeting Detroit-based hiring and contracting thresholds outlined in Executive Orders 4 & 5 (2014) and to develop a comprehensive hiring plan in conjunction with the City’s Human Rights Department and Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., to help ensure jobs for Detroiters.

“Nothing is more important to our city than creating jobs for Detroiters,” said Mayor Duggan.  “The fact that Flex-N-Gate has committed to such a strong local hiring and contracting plan shows the company’s deep level of commitment to being a partner with the community.”

The 189-acre I-94 Industrial Park is under control of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC).  Since 2000, EDC has overseen the property acquisition, clean up and development of the land.  The Park’s first major new tenant, LINC Logistics, opened a new $30-million, $500,000-square-foot facility immediately adjacent to the Flex-N-Gate site earlier this year.

This new multi-layered investment provides a major boost to the I-94 Industrial Park, and is the culmination of a collaborative effort among the city of Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), which administers incentives and programs on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund. MEDC also serves as the state’s chief business attraction and marketing agency along with directing the Pure Michigan campaign.

“The expansion of Flex-N-Gate’s presence in Michigan demonstrates the broad range of productive possibilities for private investors and job creators when local and state economic development teams work with one of the state’s bedrock automotive companies and a privately owned auto supplier,” said MEDC CEO Steve Arwood, who noted Flex-N-Gate is among 81 of the top global auto suppliers that have North American headquarters or tech centers in the state.

Malinda Jensen

Vice President, Business Development

Downtown Development Authority approves plans for new parking deck at Comerica Park


February 25, 2016, Detroit – The Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has approved plans for Detroit Tigers, Inc. to build a $29 million parking deck between Montcalm St. and the Fisher Freeway South Service Drive, across from Comerica Park. The 900-space deck would replace a surface parking lot and would serve St. John’s Episcopal Church as well as the sports and entertainment venues in the area.

The Tigers designed the deck to blend with the architecture of Comerica Park. Landscaping and green space along the south and east sides will help create a pedestrian-friendly environment and a gathering spot before or after Comerica Park events.

The land is owned by the Detroit-Wayne County Stadium Authority, which must also approve the project before construction begins. If the Tigers receive timely approvals they expect construction to begin this spring and be completed next year.

Moddie Turay
Executive Vice President of Real Estate

New Apartments to Rise Atop The Griswold

New Apartments to Rise Atop The Griswold

A “sky breaking” marked the start of construction last month on a $24 million residential project that will rise five stories atop The Griswold, the 10-story parking and retail structure at the corner of Griswold Street and Michigan Avenue in Capital Park.

Beginning on the 11th floor, the 80 market-rate apartments in The Griswold will have unobstructed views of downtown Detroit through floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows. The one, two and three-bedroom apartments will range from 750 to 1,600 square feet.

“It is gratifying to be able to revive the Griswold nearly a decade after our initial plans for this location were put on hold,” said David Di Rita, principal of the project development firm The Roxbury Group. “We see the renewed project as a natural evolution of our original vision for the site, which also builds on the current momentum in Capital Park.”

In 2007, the Roxbury Group entered into an original Development Agreement with the DDA for The Griswold, which then envisioned 80 for-sale condominium units. While the project was scrubbed later that year as a result of the collapse of the national real estate market, the DDA proceeded with the construction of the parking structure, including the necessary improvements to support the residential project.

The strong and growing demand for rental apartments in greater downtown coupled with the ongoing redevelopment in the Capital Park district led Roxbury and the DDA to re-launch the residential project.

The Griswold is scheduled for completion at the end of 2016 and when it is finished, it will be the first new-construction apartment project to be built in the Central Business District since the third tower of Riverfront West was completed in 1992.

In addition to The Roxbury Group, the construction team includes Kraemer Design Group as architect and Walbridge as construction manager.

Brian Holdwick
Consultant – Real Estate Development