Olympia Plans To Renovate Three And Build Three New Buildings Near Little Caesars Arena

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It seems like development around the new Little Caesars Arena is moving from a focus on residential to a focus on building more office space.

Six more projects were announced Monday near Little Caesars Arena. This is the second phase of development of the District Detroit which is owned by Olympia Development.

The newest development is the restoration of three additional vacant historic buildings and the construction of three new mixed-use buildings.

The projects are more offices and storefronts as opposed to what we’re used to seeing, which is residential. In fact, a couple of the buildings have had their draft plans changed from residential to offices.

A big part of the motivation from a practical perspective for projects downtown is a lot of money comes into the city through employees. There isn’t a big cost outlay of city services for these new workers.

Non-residents who work in Detroit pay 1.2 percent of their income to the city and that new money drove a significant budget surplus last year.

Also, some leaders as of late have publicly mused there isn’t ready room for the companies that want to move downtown to move in. This seems to be a sign the demand is high.

The total investment is expected to be about $200 million and create more than 400,000 square feet of office space and nearly 70,000 square feet of street-level retail.

So what are the projects? Here are the projects per the press release:

Historic Renovation

To further its intention of self-developing these historic projects, Olympia Development of Michigan will pursue the federal, state and local incentives often necessary to make them economically viable. Initial architectural and engineering work, as well as leasing efforts, are already underway.

2210 Park Ave. – The former Detroit Life Building, a 10-story historic office building built in 1922, would be transformed into 32,000 square feet of office space and 6,000 square feet of street-level retail space just north of Columbia Street. Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group has been selected to design this $17 million renovation.

1922 Cass Ave. – This six-story, Albert Kahn-designed historic building would be renovated into 66,000 square feet of office space and 8,000 square feet of street-level retail space. With roots dating back more than 100 years, the site once included a carriage and wagon shop and later, a machine and engine shop. Detroit-based Albert Kahn Associates has been selected to design this $23 million renovation.

2110 Park Ave. – The interior of this six-story historic building would be renovated into 47,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of street-level retail space.  Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group has been selected to design this $25 million renovation.

New Construction

2715 Woodward Ave. – This proposed $65 million development between Little Caesars Arena and Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University would include 110,000 square feet of office space and 17,000 square feet of street-level retail space.

111 Henry St. – This proposed $20 million mixed-use office, retail and parking development would be completed with 50,000 square feet of office space and 7,000 square feet of street-level retail space. It would continue to build on the success of Henry Street’s popular retail and restaurants. Previously designated as residential, this property is now envisioned as office space to meet surging demand for Class A office space in Detroit.

120 Henry St. – This proposed $48 million project would be developed adjacent to Chevrolet Plaza at the new Little Caesars Arena. The development includes 100,000 square feet of office space and 20,000 square feet of street-level retail space. Previously designated as residential, this property is now envisioned as office space to meet surging demand for Class A office space in Detroit.

Other Developments Under Study for Phase Two

The historic Blenheim Building at 2218 Park Ave. is also under early feasibility study for potential redevelopment into residential units over street-level retail space. Feasibility studies are also underway for additional hotel and entertainment developments, several of which will take the place of existing surface parking lots.

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