Detroit Downtown Consortium Selects Karp and Associates for Capitol Park Redevelopment
Rehabilitation of three buildings projected to cost about $85 million.
DETROIT — The Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and a group of other economic development agencies have selected Karp and Associates of Lansing, to redevelop three vintage buildings surrounding Capitol Park in downtown Detroit.
The area one block west of Woodward Avenue is considered a prime location for a mixture of residences, offices and retail stores. The DDA formalized the decision on Wednesday by authorizing development agreements with Karp and Associates for the Capitol Park Building at 1145 Griswold and the former United Way Building at 1212 Griswold.
The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority is expected to authorize a similar agreement for the third building, the Farwell Building at 1249 Griswold, when it meets next month. The Capitol Park redevelopment consortium includes the DDA, Invest Detroit, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority, and Wayne County.
“With three buildings in the hands of the consortium, we had a chance to create a significant opportunity for the right developer and to reach a ‘critical mass’ of new investment that will transform this key district,” said George W. Jackson, president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corp., which provides staff for the DDA. “We are truly honored to have been awarded this redevelopment opportunity and thrilled to be part of exciting efforts to rebuild the great city of Detroit,” said Richard Karp, a Detroit native and managing partner of Karp and Associates.
“Make no mistake” said Karp, “mixed-use historic rehabilitation is hard work — far from garden-variety real estate development. Our firm has more than 20 years of successful experience at exactly that, and we look forward to bringing our expertise and proven track record to Michigan’s largest city."
Rehabilitation of the three buildings is projected to cost about $85 million. Karp and Associates’ proposal calls for constructing posh, market-rate loft apartments, with retail and office space on lower floors of the multi-story edifices, which collectively comprise approximately 300,000 square feet.
“This is another home run for Downtown,” said Mayor Dave Bing. “The new apartments will address our shortage of housing there, and the retail and office space will continue the great momentum we have establishing Detroit as a great place to live, work and play.”
Capitol Park has deep roots in Michigan history. The state’s first Capitol Building was built there and, for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, the district enjoyed a vibrant mix of office, hotel and retail businesses and residences. As a development site, it is located in a key position between the Woodward Corridor and Michigan Avenue. The triangular park that is the focus of the neighborhood has recently been refurbished with new amenities. “Capitol Park is a transformational project that will serve as the next building block for the continued revitalization of the Downtown," said David Blaszkiewicz, president of Invest Detroit. "The redevelopment of Capitol Park represents the culmination of the significant efforts of many individuals and economic development partners. Their shared vision and focus to create density and sustainable revitalization in the district will have a great impact on the community.”
The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority, a member of the consortium, acquired the Farwell Building at 1249 Griswold with federal funding from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program. "We are excited about working with Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and our other partners in the redevelopment of Capital Park,” said Kim Homan, executive director. “The Michigan Land Bank looks forwards to working with our local partners to identify viable projects that will support economic development within the city of Detroit." Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano said, "This project underscores the benefits of collaboration — putting together a funding package and helping to identify a developer was truly a team effort for a project that will bring new vibrancy to an area rich with history. These projects are never easy but the rewards will be there for generations to come.”