Water Mark

A luxury condominium and mixed-use development in Detroit’s Midtown district is the first outside the city’s downtown core and riverfront.


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A new condominium development, Cass & York, is on the horizon in Detroit, and with it comes an emerging resident profile for the city. Offering 53 condos which will range in price from $380,000 to $1 million, the project confirms an interest in the city outside downtown and the riverfront by potential residents who are looking for luxury.

Scheduled for completion in spring 2020, the 89,000-square-foot residential development was designed by McIntosh Poris Associates in Birmingham, the same firm that transformed the former Detroit Fire Department headquarters in downtown Detroit into the luxury boutique Foundation Hotel and upscale Apparatus Room restaurant.

Cass & York, to be built at 5935 Cass by the Detroit development group The Platform, will occupy a parking lot just south of the former Cadillac Sales and Service Building designed by famed Detroit architect Albert Kahn. The site is near TechTown, the upcoming Henry Ford – Detroit Pistons Performance Center, a future Plum Market, the Fisher Building (owned by The Platform), and the campuses of Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies.

Above, the Cass & York sales office located inside the Fisher Building.

The Platform is also renovating the six-story Kahn building into Cass Cadillac, which will offer 80,000 square feet of office space, 25,600 square feet of retail space, an art gallery, and a refurbished second-floor showroom when it reopens next year. In addition, The Platform will build between 80 and 100 apartments and ground-floor retail space west of Cass & York, along with an adjoining 550-space parking deck to serve all of the developments (the deck, to open next year, will have a small retail component).

A mix of restaurants and retailers will occupy 13,800 square feet of space on the first floor of Cass & York. The condominiums will offer 37 different layouts, and six of the units will be penthouses with rooftop decks. Small rooms on top of each penthouse that lead out to the rooftop deck can be turned into kitchenettes or bathrooms. Four of the units will be duplexes and will occupy space on two floors.

Future residents will have access to a 1,500-square-foot fitness center with a yoga room, a library, a business center, a rooftop terrace and clubroom, and a rooftop lap pool (12 x 35 feet). The lobby will be attended 24 hours, and residents will have access to the attached parking deck from inside and outside of the building. They can also keep bikes in a dedicated storage room with direct street access. A garden courtyard will be tucked between the building and the parking garage.

Each condominium will feature 10-foot ceilings, quartz countertops, and oak hardwood floors. They will be pre-wired, allowing residents the option of controlling everything from the shades to the temperature via iPads mounted on the walls. Most units have two or three bedrooms and will range in size from 1,300 to 2,000 square feet. A few units will have one bedroom and offer 890 square feet of space.

Lisa Nederlander, Cass & York’s sales agent, already feels like she came home to the city. After selling condos and leasing apartments in Manhattan since 2002, she returned to Michigan in 2009. “I know how people live in this type of environment on a day-to-day basis,” says Nederlander, a real estate agent with Max Broock Realtors in Birmingham.

Cass & York, a residential and mixed-use development in Detroit's Midtown district, will offer 53 condominiums priced from $380,000 to $1 million. Set to open in 2020, the project includes retail space and a 550-space parking deck. 

Selling the condos has been full-circle in other ways for Nederlander. Her grandfather, D.T. Nederlander, owned the Fisher Theatre inside the Fisher Building, and it remains in the family with her uncle, Robert Nederlander, as its head. The patriarch converted the Fisher Theatre into a Broadway stage from a movie house in 1961.

Lisa Nederlander’s showroom is in the Fisher Building, and she recalls seeing many shows there as a child. “This lobby is like a home for me,” she says, adding that while some children spent time at their grandmother’s house, she spent time at the theater. “We all really grew up with the Broadway shows in our blood and our home.”

The Platform acquired the Cass & York property and adjoining property from Wayne State University in 2015 without any particular plans. Changes in the fiber of Midtown paved the way for the development, says Dietrich Knoer, president and CEO of The Platform. Following a housing study, it was determined the apartment-rich enclave was doing well, yet a desire for condominium living wasn’t being satisfied.

He says the market is right for high-quality, amenity-rich developments, especially given the fabric of the neighborhood. “You could do so many things living in that location without ever moving a car,” Knoer says. “There’s so much going on up here that the landscape of amenities constantly changes.”

With rotating exhibitions and events at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Historical Museum, an upcoming $50-million expansion of the Motown Museum, and numerous other attractions, the timing is right for drawing other development to New Center, located at the north end of Midtown.

“The face of New Center is changing really rapidly, and these are all quality developments that are going up there,” says Susan Mosey, executive director of Midtown Detroit Inc., a nonprofit planning and development organization.

She says current and future residents want to see more entertainment options and, following a pattern across the nation of suburbanites migrating back to cities, there’s an unsatisfied market of local buyers looking for housing in the $200,000-$400,000 range. “We’re really short on for-sale options here,” Mosey says.

Having holes means there’s opportunity to fill them. And, Mosey says, developers can move in with more projects as pricing in the city goes up. “Detroit was already starting to pop,” Nederlander says. “Now it’s unstoppable. You can’t question whether it’s going to come back anymore. The train has left the station, as they say.”

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