Olympia Development Explores Renovation of Seven Historic Buildings West of Little Caesars Arena

Olympia Development of Michigan, the city of Detroit, and Cinnaire Solutions have jointly announced a partnership to explore new affordable housing options in The District Detroit, the 50-block area that includes Little Caesars Arena, Comerica Park, Ford Field, multiple theaters, and more.
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Henry Street rendering of affordable housing
Olympia Development, the City of Detroit, and Cinnaire Solutions are looking into developing affordable housing in The District Detroit. Pictured is a proposed conceptual rendering on Henry Street. // Rendering courtesy of Olympia Development of Michigan

Olympia Development of Michigan, the city of Detroit, and Cinnaire Solutions have jointly announced a partnership to explore new affordable housing options in The District Detroit, the 50-block area that includes Little Caesars Arena, Comerica Park, Ford Field, multiple theaters, and more.

The partnership’s first effort is to explore the potential revitalization of seven, 1920s-era historic buildings on a single city block bounded by Henry Street, Cass Avenue, 2nd Avenue, and the I-75 service drive. The area is just west of Little Caesars Arena.

With public support, the partnership states the proposed redevelopment will help to energize the local economy and support Detroit’s neighborhood revitalization strategy, while providing green spaces and the creation of construction and permanent jobs for Detroiters.

“We are optimistic and excited for Detroit’s future and are planning community-minded development that will help to meet the city’s housing needs while bringing new and vibrant opportunities to The District Detroit,” says Keith Bradford, vice president of Olympia Development of Michigan.

“Cinnaire Solutions is a trusted partner with the resources to advance vulnerable communities, and we are pleased to partner with them to move this important work forward with the city.”

In 1993, Mark McDaniel, founder and CEO of Cinnaire, a Lansing-based community development financial institution, launched a tax credit fund to support affordable housing in Michigan. Today, the nonprofit organization has more than 100 team members with six offices and programs in nine states. Cinnaire Solutions is the development subsidiary of Cinnaire.

Any redevelopment option that may move forward through the partnership would include the commitment to retain and provide rent protections for existing residents, at or very near their current rental rates.

During the proposed renovation of the Henry Street apartments, affected residents would be temporarily relocated on the same block for the duration of construction.

“This partnership embodies what we are looking for from our community-minded developers because it would preserve the affordable rent levels for all current tenants in newly renovated buildings,” says Donald Rencher, Detroit’s director of housing and revitalization.

Olympia Development is currently renovating the former Eddystone Hotel, located immediately northwest of Little Caesars Arena, into 95 apartments, 20 percent of which will be affordable units, along with ground floor retail space. The project is scheduled to open next year.

In addition, Olympia Development is exploring the renovation of the former Women’s City Club and the former United Artists Building, the latter in partnership with Bagley Development Group in Detroit.

Also, Olympia Development is nearing completion of 2715 Woodward, a five-story, 127,000-square-foot building located between Little Caesars Arena and the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University.

The building will be occupied by Massachusetts-based Boston Consulting Group, which has an office in Troy, as well as the law firm Warner Norcross and Judd. The Detroit Medical Center had planned to operate a sports medicine institute in the structure, but has since cancelled those plans.

In turn, the exterior renovation of the historic Detroit Life Building located directly behind the Fox Theatre has been completed. The building, named for Detroit Life Insurance Co., opened in the 1920s at 2210 Park Ave. It is being transformed into 32,000 square feet of Class A office space and 6,000 square feet of street-level retail.

Olympia Development also plans to renovate the former Albert Kahn-designed Detroit Creamery Factory building at 1922 Cass Ave., at W. Grand River Avenue, as well as several structures along Temple Street, between Woodward and 2nd Avenue.

An expansion of the Little Caesars headquarters in a new building just south of the Fox Theatre has all but been completed, and the two structures are connected by a sky walk. At the ground level, a few shops and restaurants have either opened or are planned in a new entertainment district called Columbia Street, though hours of operation have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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