United Artists Building in Detroit Will Undergo a $75M Redevelopment

Bagley Development Group, Olympia Development, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced a $75-million redevelopment of the long-vacant United Artists Building at the northwest corner of Bagley and Clifford streets in downtown Detroit. The building has been shuttered for nearly 50 years.
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The long-vacant United Artists building in Detroit will undergo a $75 million redevelopment led by Bagley Development Group, Olympia Development, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. // Courtesy of Hobbs and Black
The long-vacant United Artists building in Detroit will undergo a $75 million redevelopment led by Bagley Development Group, Olympia Development, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. // Courtesy of Hobbs and Black

Bagley Development Group, Olympia Development, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced a $75-million redevelopment of the long-vacant United Artists Building at the northwest corner of Bagley and Clifford streets in downtown Detroit. The building has been shuttered for nearly 50 years.

The redevelopment will include 148 apartments, 20 percent of which will be affordable housing, along with ground-floor retail and restaurant spaces. The historic, 18-story structure at 150 Bagley St. was designed by noted architect C. Howard Crane and opened in 1928.

The Black-led development team at Bagley Development Group consists of Emmett Moten, Scott Allen, Larry Brinker Sr., Tom Goss, Richard Hosey, Roy Roberts, and Jim Thrower. To be called The Residences @ 150 Bagley, the building is within the Grand Circus Park Historic District and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

In addition to one- and two-bedroom units that will be up to 1,300 square feet, the redevelopment of the Spanish Gothic and Art Deco tower also will activate approximately 10,000 square feet of retail and dining space along Bagley Street. The building is slated to open in late 2023. The actual 2,070-seat theater attached to the back of the tower, one of several movie palaces in the area, will be torn down.

Bagley Development Group has decades of combined development experience in Detroit and have helped to save a number of the city’s vacant historic buildings, including the Fort Shelby Hotel, Farwell and Capitol Park buildings, and soon, the Fisher Body 21 plant.

“My partners and I are honored to develop Residences @150 Bagley in such a vibrant, downtown community,” says Moten, the group’s managing partner. “Residences @ 150 Bagley represents the perfect model for urban development, with the public and private sectors working collectively to benefit the community. (The project) will become a flagship, residential development in The District Detroit, and will honor the past while creating the next step in downtown’s exciting future.”

The Residences @ 150 Bagley will create hundreds of construction and permanent jobs to Detroit.

“For nearly half a century, the United Artists Building has been one of our city’s iconic images of blight and abandonment,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “Today, just like we are doing with Michigan Central Station, Fisher Body 21, Lee Plaza, and others, we are giving the United Artists Building new life, and turning blight into beauty. I’m so proud that we have a development team that truly represents our city turning this great building into new housing, with 20 percent of the units reserved for Detroiters of lower incomes. This project would not have been possible without the leadership of Chris Ilitch and the partnership of HUD, the state of Michigan, our Department of Housing and Revitalization and others. This is a great day for Detroit.”

The renovation joins several new and renovated properties in the area, including Little Caesars’ corporate headquarters, the Eddystone Residences, the redevelopment of seven historic Henry Street residential properties, the renovation of the Women’s City Club Building, and the recently announced Detroit Center for Innovation being built in partnership with Olympia Development, Related Cos., and the University of Michigan.

“Bagley Development’s commitment to bringing this historic property back to life — and to creating opportunity through good jobs and affordable housing while doing so — remains an inspiration to me and the entire team at Olympia Development,” says Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., which owns Olympia Development. “We’re honored to partner with Emmett Moten and the rest of the outstanding Bagley Development team on this historic restoration in The District Detroit, and we look forward to seeing the lasting, positive impact that it will have on the community.”

The Residences @ 150 Bagley will be within walking distance of several public transit options in The District Detroit, a 50-block area that includes Comerica Park, Ford Field, Little Caesars Arena, the historic Fox Theatre, the Detroit Opera House, and other cultural venues.

The project’s financial team includes AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, Gershman Investment Corp., Stonehenge Capital, Bernard Capital, Capital Impact, and Liberty Bank. The development received a $43 million HUD 221(d)(4) multifamily housing loan, along with $8.5 million from the Downtown Development Authority, $7 million from the Michigan Strategic Fund, and $3 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding secured through the Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department.

“HUD is thrilled to partner with the city of Detroit, Bagley Development Group and Olympia Development to bring 150 Bagley back to life,” says Michael Polsinelli, Detroit field director for HUD. “HUD’s name says it all — housing and urban development. The rehabilitation of the United Artists Building will bring additional quality housing to the city of Detroit along with the continued successful urban development of Detroit.”

Detroit-based Brinker/Christman is the project’s construction manager, HPM is the owner’s representative, and Michigan-based Hobbs + Black is the project’s architect.

The redevelopment effort was six years in the making. “It was a journey, a hard journey, and a collective journey,” Moten says. Duggan adds that the United Artists Building was one of 12 “ruin sites” in the city that his administration is working to assist in redeveloping or demolishing. Of the later sites, Duggan and his team are working with developers to prepare the sites for new projects.

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