Burns & Wilcox, a subsidiary of the global insurance company network the H.W. Kaufman Group, has announced the purchase of 119 State St. in the Capitol Park Historic District behind the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit. The red brick structure will serve as a satellite location for Burns & Wilcox’s primary offices in Farmington Hills.
The six-story, 40,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1887 for Brown Brothers Cigar Manufacturers. At the time, Detroit had a robust cigar market, with much of the tobacco grown on the northern shores of Lake Erie in Leamington, Ontario, Canada.
The building traded hands over the years, and was vacant before Lear Corp. acquired in 2015. It served as an innovation center for the automotive supplier, which hired Neumann/Smith Architecture in Detroit and Southfield to restore the façade close to the original Victorian Romanesque design.
Burns & Wilcox, Kaufman’s flagship organization, is North America’s leading wholesale insurance broker and underwriting manager.
“Our company was founded in Detroit more than 50 years ago. We have been looking for an opportunity to go back to our roots with a downtown location,” says Alan Jay Kaufman, chairman, president, and CEO of H.W. Kaufman Group. “The Kaufman network has more than 60 locations globally and having a location in Detroit again is very important to us.”
The deal was facilitated by the Kaufman Real Estate Management team in partnership with Peter Jankowski, Richard Deptula, David Friedman, Jared Friedman, and Jordan Friedman of Farmington Hills-based Friedman Real Estate. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
H.W. Kaufman group has more than 60 locations in North America and the United Kingdom, employing 2,000-plus people, while Kaufman Real Estate targets Class A office assets for their international real estate portfolio. The building at 119 State St. will further Burns & Wilcox’s involvement with the city.
“This satellite location reflects the pride we feel as a Metro Detroit-based organization,” says Danny Kaufman, executive vice president of H.W. Kaufman Group and COO of Burns & Wilcox. “Expanding on the presence we have through our Detroit partnerships, we look forward to having this location as a destination for outstanding talent, our global insurance businesses, and clients and partners.”
More information about the cigar industry in Detroit, including Brown Brothers Cigars Manufacturers, is available in “Detroit: Engine of America,” which can be found at www.DetroitEngineofAmerica.com