A new $64.6-million, 16-story residential tower offering a total of 165 units is planned at the southwest corner of Gratiot Avenue and Brush Street in downtown Detroit. The land, located across Gratiot from the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Detroit, is currently used as surface parking lots.
To be called The Exchange, the new structure is scheduled to open in early 2022 with 153 apartments and 12 condominiums, the latter situated on the top floors. The location is just north of Monroe Street and Greektown, and south of Paradise Valley (formerly Harmonie Park).
The development and construction team includes Gratiot Acquisition Partners, LiftBuild (serving as general contractor), a subsidiary of Barton Malow Co., one of Michigan’s largest contractors, along with Ghafari Associates in Dearborn and 1+1+, an architecture firm with offices in Ann Arbor.
Work on the site is projected to start in October, and the construction is expected to be fairly quick. LiftBuild has developed a method where a core elevator and mechanical shaft is built first. From there, residential or office floors are built on the ground level and then hoisted to the top, followed by the next individual floor. The process saves about 30 percent of the time compared to conventional construction methods.
Marisa Varga, senior director of project development at LiftBuild, says The Exchange will offer “an inviting, updated, and modern atmosphere. We will be very inclusive in working with Detroit vendors in terms of the fit and finishes, and interior design,” she says.
Condo prices are still being finalized, while the rent range will be $1,100 per month for a studio unit (433 square feet) up to $3,100 a month for a two-bedroom apartment (855 square feet). Around 30 of the apartments (20 percent) will be affordable. The condos will consist of four one-bedroom units, six two-bedroom units, and two three-bedroom units.
The building will include a concierge and valet parking. The ownership group is securing nearby parking to accommodate all of the residents, Varga says.
In addition, the first floor will offer 30 private office suites that can be leased by the residents or the public, along with a 950-square-foot space ideally for a small grocer offering prepared food. The second floor will offer a resident club room, fitness center, and a deck. The building will be complemented with landscaping treatments.
The project group is a member of the Greektown Neighborhood Partnership, says Varga, and it has been working closely on providing for community needs. Most of the financing is in place, and the project group is seeking Neighborhood Enterprise Zone financing and $2.8 million in brownfield financing from the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.
Gratiot Acquisition Partners includes Anthony R. Paesano, a partner at Paesano Akkashian Apkarian, a law firm in Bloomfield Hills.
He is working with Mark Bennett, managing director of MJBennett in Farmington Hills a longtime real estate developer who with the late Walter Cohen developed DuCharme Place in Lafayette Park and is currently working on Lafayette West, which will offer around 325 residences on the former site of the now demolished Shapero Hall.
The site for Lafayette West is bounded by the Chrysler Freeway East Service Drive, Antietam Street, Rivard Street, and private land to the south. The project is scheduled to open in summer 2022.