A $62-million refinancing of The Boulevard, a new midrise apartment community located at the northwest corner of West Grand Boulevard and Third Street, represents one of the largest multifamily financings in Detroit’s history. It’s also the first new construction development of its scale in New Center in more than 30 years.
Developed by Detroit-based The Platform, the project, which replaced a vacant site that previously was a Howard Johnson Hotel, offers 231 apartments, 17,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and a 330-space parking structure. The apartments are more than 80 percent leased and 50 percent of the retail space is occupied by Beyond Juice + Eatery, Comerica Bank, and Orangetheory Fitness.
“Leasing has exceeded our expectations, especially given the pandemic,” says Clarke Lewis, senior development manager on the project for The Platform. “To have this level of success despite COVID-19 and opening during the winter season, I believe that’s proof of the … demand for quality housing in Greater New Center and outside the downtown core.”
Lewis adds the refinancing will free up additional capital that the company will reinvest in other developments. It also demonstrates how the Greater New Center area has emerged as one of Detroit’s stronger real estate markets. Office tenants also are being drawn to New Center, with Strategic Staffing Solutions recently moving to the Fisher Building at West Grand Boulevard and Second Avenue from downtown Detroit.
A six-story, 356,000-squre-foot, mixed-use development, The Boulevard offers studio, one-, and two-bedrooms residences ranging from 534 to 1,185 square feet. Twenty percent of the apartments are reserved as affordable housing at 80 percent of the area median income.
The Boulevard features walkability and access to public transportation, such as the QLINE and bus routes, as well as major expressways. Additional amenities include a clubroom, a fitness center, an interior courtyard, and more.
“That we have been able to repay our construction lenders and free up capital for other investments reinforces our confidence in the Detroit market,” says Allen Weiss, director of capital markets for The Platform. “We are proud of The Boulevard and what our team has accomplished despite the challenges with the pandemic, and we are excited to continue our work on other developments in the Greater New Center Area and across the City of Detroit.”
Later this summer, The Platform will open Chroma, a redevelopment of a historic cold storage building in Milwaukee Junction in the Greater New Center area. It will join other projects the developer has finished in the neighborhood, including Baltimore Station, the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center, and an overhaul of a Baltimore Street parking garage.
Just to the south, The Platform completed a renovation of the former Cadillac Sales & Service Building at 6001 Cass Avenue that now is occupied by WeWork and Tata Technologies’ North American headquarters. The Platform also is planning an extensive renovation to another Albert Kahn-designed building, at 7300 Woodward at the northeast corner of West Grand Boulevard.
Construction also is under way at Woodward West, at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Stimson Place, and last year, the Obama Building was completed in Detroit’s Old Redford neighborhood.
Meridian Capital arranged the financing on The Boulevard deal. For more information about The Boulevard, visit www.theboulevard.city.