Detroit’s Fisher Building Listed For Sale

The owners of the historic Fisher Building in Detroit’s New Center have listed the building for sale. The Platform, along with several partners, acquired the Albert Kahn-designed structure in 2015, and since that time has invested more than $30 million in the property.
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The fisher building at dusk
The Fisher Building in Detroit has been listed for sale after $30 million in investments in the property since 2015. // Courtesy of Michael G. Smith

The owners of the historic Fisher Building in Detroit’s New Center have listed the building for sale. The Platform, along with several partners, acquired the Albert Kahn-designed structure in 2015, and since that time has invested more than $30 million in the property.

“We are proud of the work that we have performed to preserve this important piece of Detroit’s history,” says Peter Cummings, executive chairman and CEO of The Platform.  “We have made significant investments to reposition this property as a first-class office building and community gathering space and have overseen a substantial increase in office and retail occupancy.  As such, we feel the time is right to find the Fisher’s next steward.”

The Fisher Building, located at West Grand Boulevard and Second Avenue, offers 505,000 square feet of office space and 68,000 square feet of retail space for lease. It also features 1,900 parking spaces with an attached parking garage.

In the last six years, The Platform has repositioned the Fisher by bringing in 250,000 square feet of leases and new office tenants such as Strategic Staffing Solutions, Children’s Foundation, and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

When the current ownership group acquired the building, occupancy rates were below 40 percent; today, those rates have doubled and are now approaching 70 percent. The Platform also brought in several retail tenants, including The Peacock Room, MATURE, Yama, Hair. a Salon, and Promenade Artisan Foods, joining longtime mainstays like Pure Detroit and The Fashion Place.

The centerpiece of the restoration was the Arcade ceiling by EverGreene Architectural Arts in 2017, which preserved its artwork and re-created areas that were damaged. In addition, The Platform has begun restoring the Fisher’s exterior façade, which features 325,000 square feet of marble, making it the world’s largest marble-clad commercial building.

Other investments include seven fully modernized elevators, a new fire alarm and suppression system, a new HVAC system and, for the first time in the Fisher’s 90-year history, air-conditioning in the building’s Arcade.

“The Fisher Building needed somebody to step in and save this landmark and give it a chance for a future,” says Lawrence Burns, president and CEO of Children’s Foundation, which moved into the Fisher in 2017. “The Platform did that. There is no question to me that the Fisher is in far better shape today than it was before they took over.  The Fisher Building will be our home for many years to come.”

In addition to improvements and new tenants, The Platform set out to reintroduce the Fisher and rebrand it as a “Beacon for Detroit,” making it a welcoming place for residents from every corner of the city to gather. The developer started the Beacon Projects, which celebrated artists, creatives and doers from Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Cummings has long been active in Detroit’s real estate sector, from acquiring the Riverfront Towers in 2005 and spending $20 million for enhancements; helping to save Orchestra Hall and creating the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center; bringing Whole Foods and building the Ellington residential property on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Woodward Avenue; as well as building Woodward West, a mixed-use property at 3439 Woodward (south of Mack) now under construction.

“My father-in-law (Max Fisher) owned (the Fisher Building), and my first office in Detroit was in this building, so it is clearly near and dear to my heart,” Cummings says. “Our team set out to protect and preserve the Fisher for future generations, and I am proud of what we have accomplished. Our commitment to Detroit remains, and I look forward to continuing to do our part to help this city continue its resurgence.”

In addition to The Platform, the ownership group for the Fisher includes majority partner HFZ, based in New York, and Rheal Capital Management. In 2015, the partnership bought the Fisher, along with the Albert Kahn Building, a Baltimore Street parking garage at 645 Baltimore St., and two surface lots (3005 W. Grand Blvd. and 710 Lothrop) for $12.5 million.

The parking assets, which represent a combined 1,985 parking spaces, will be listed for sale with the Fisher. The Kahn Building was sold for $9.5 million in 2018.

Those interested in making an offer for Fisher and parking assets should contact Bruce Miller at JLL at (312)228-2340 or by e-mail at bruce.miller@am.jll.com.

The Fisher Building was built in 1928 by the seven Fisher brothers, part of the Fisher Body Co. that supplied car bodies to General Motors. Eventually, GM acquired Fisher Body. The art deco Fisher Building includes the Fisher Theatre.

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