Foster Financial Company Inc. and Tribus, both located in Grosse Pointe, have acquired the Joe Louis Arena Parking Deck, a 1-million-square-foot, 3,000-space structure at 900 W. Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Foster Financial, a full-service real estate firm, and Tribus, a real estate, trade, and investment firm, state the garage will undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation, including a structural makeover along with new signage, camera and security systems, automated access, and LED lighting. Other upgrades being contemplated are car wash facilities, dry cleaning pickup and drop off, and a shuttle service.
Built in the mid-1980s, the garage has been closed for several years following the move by the Detroit Red Wings to Little Caesars Arena in 2017. The professional hockey team started playing at Joe Louis Arena in 1979, after previously playing at the now-demolished Olympia Stadium on Detroit’s west side.
Foster and Tribus plan to market the garage as a mobility hub to downtown businesses, residents, and visitors. The structure offers a direct exit from the M-10 Lodge Freeway, covered access to a People Mover stop, electric vehicle charging stations, and electric bike and scooter rentals.
Foster Financial also plans to add a lounge and eatery for parkers to grab breakfast and a coffee in the morning before heading to work.
“The office and real estate environment around the entire country is evolving,” says Brad Foster, president of Foster Financial, “When the opportunity to purchase the Joe Louis Arena Parking Deck came to us, we knew that we would regret not furthering our commitment to the city if we didn’t proceed with the acquisition.”
Foster partially attributed the partnership’s desire to purchase the parking structure to their acquisition last October of the 211 Tower office tower (450,000 square feet) at Fort Street and Washington Boulevard in downtown Detroit.
By purchasing the parking deck, Foster says he will be able to offer nearly unlimited parking to prospective tenants at 211 Tower, while charging below-market rates. Currently, the building offers120,000 square feet of contiguous vacancy, and now, affordable parking.
“We want (the parking deck) to be much more than just a place to park in the morning,” says Brad Carson, head of asset management at Foster Financial. “Our company’s strategy has always been to add value where others may not see opportunity. With 3,000 or more people starting their day at the Joe Louis deck, we are able to offer unique amenities on a large scale.”
Joe Louis Arena was recently demolished and is expected to be converted into a large, mixed-use development. From the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy settlement in 2014, Financial Guaranty Insurance Corp., one of the city’s largest creditors, was given development rights to the arena site. It plans to submit development plans for the site by June 15.