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 fourth in a series that will run in this newsletter. The developer group 311 E. Grand River, LLC, led by Patricia Cole and Roger Basmajian, plans to transform the first and second floors of the former Harmonie Club building at 311 East Grand River into “a 1920’s boutique hotel,” update the current restaurant and expand it with an outdoor café. Here’s what they had to say.
As a longtime resident and business woman in Detroit, I am proud to be involved in the redevelopment of the Paradise Valley District. I have been investing in Detroit real estate since 1992, beginning with my first commercial property purchase of 139 Cadillac Square, a 10-story, 40,000 sq. ft. office building. I was also the owner of Cole Financial for 28 years and the first woman to serve on the board at The Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority. I will have been serving on this board for 21 years come this December.
My partner, Roger Basmajian, is also a Detroiter and an experienced developer of walkable communities, with several ongoing projects in downtown Detroit. Roger Basmajian is the president of the real estate investment and development company Basco, which is based in Detroit. Basco is focused on rehabbing and repurposing older buildings with new and creative uses, and in return, breathing life into once neglected neighborhoods. Basco’s success can be attributed to its creative thinking and close work with the community. Our partnership came together because of these common values, the mutual love for Detroit and the bright future we share for the city.
Our project, the old Harmonie Club building, is the most unique of all the properties in the DDA’s Paradise Valley portfolio that was put out for bid in the RFP. Built originally as a clubhouse for Detroit Germans, it has many unique features such as the upper two stories being a theatre and a bowling alley in the basement. The architect was Richard Raseman, the same person who designed the Grand Army of the Republic Building on the other side of downtown on West Grand River.
We are proposing a boutique hotel that celebrates local artists and the history of Detroit. Our work begins with the rehabilitation of the theatre space which is currently in dire condition. When done, the space will be used for concert events, family celebrations, wedding banquets and art exhibits. To compliment the theatre space will be hotel rooms for guests to stay in as well as a second restaurant and bar in the basement. The Harmonie Club Hotel will act as the heart of Paradise Valley, welcoming all Detroiters and guests to stay and enjoy all the new businesses, restaurants, galleries, and clubs which will be the new Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District.
In closing, we look forward to working together with the other developers in cooperation so that we may realize the true potential that this district could and should be.
Patricia Cole with