The Elia Group, a Birmingham-based real estate development company, has closed on the purchase of 511 Woodward Ave. in downtown Detroit with the Wayne County Land Bank. The announcement was made Thursday by Elia Group founder Zaid Elia and Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans.
“We are extremely excited to bring this project from concept to reality,” says Elia. “The property has been sitting vacant for well over 20 years and through a concerted, forward-thinking effort with our team, Wayne County, the city of Detroit, and many others, the iconic 511 Woodward building will once again be a vibrant part of the city’s landscape, growing workforce, and visitors.”
The building, a landmark in the heart of the city that was the site of Detroit’s first telephone installation in 1877, will be leased by Detroit-based Iconic Real Estate.
“Our company is currently in … negotiations with various tenants for the building,” says Kees Janeway, managing partner of Iconic Real Estate. “The initial leasing interest and activity on 511 has been extremely high, representing the continued growth of the city.”
The developer also announced that Capital One Financial Corp. has signed an agreement to open a new Capital One Café in the building.
Construction will begin immediately and is scheduled to be completed in late 2020, which is also when the Capital One Café is scheduled to open. The Detroit-based project team includes Yamasaki as lead architect/designer and Walbridge as the construction team.
“This is another key piece of property identified in our recovery plan that we are putting back into productive use after it sat idle for years,” Evans says. “There has been tremendous interest in the building and in Wayne County, and this deal reflects that. We are happy to help attract a national tenant like Capital One to the region. It shows that investing in Detroit and Wayne County continues to make a lot of sense.”
The more than 7,000-square-foot, two-story Capital One Café will have a full-service Peet’s Coffee bar that will offer baked goods from local bakeries and where Capital One cardholders will receive 50 percent off handcrafted beverage purchases.
While the café will offer more traditional bank functions, such as account opening, assistance with existing accounts, and access to ATMs, it also will include features designed to encourage community engagement and financial education. The café will have free community room space for registered nonprofit, alumni, and student groups as well as additional semi-private spaces and nooks for making phone calls, conducting meetings, or working – available on a first-come, first-served basis. It also will offer complimentary financial education programs, such as money coaching, which will enable customers and non-customers alike to create personalized action plans.
“We believe strong communities and strong businesses go hand-in-hand, which is why we are thrilled to be opening this new location in Detroit,” says Ryan Laudenbach, market executive for Capital One. “Our hope is that the café will provide the community with the resources they need and more. What motivates us is that we have both the opportunity and responsibility to help our customers in their financial lives – to save them time, money, and to inspire a sense of optimism about the future, every day.”