DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Redevelopers of one of Detroit’s earliest and tallest “skyscrapers” are offering a progress report on its $53 million restoration project.
The Broderick Tower has opened its doors Saturday for a preview event that highlights exterior and interior renovations of the 34-story structure built in 1928.
It’s also a chance to court prospective tenants for 125 apartments, including 33 “sky top penthouses.” Fred Beal, one of the project’s partners, says interest has grown as the renovation that started last December has progressed.
Urban development expert John Mogk said the Broderick is well-positioned near the city’s thriving sports and entertainment district. And the renovation is well-timed, with major employers offering financial incentives for workers to move in or near downtown.
Plans for the building include a restaurant, lounge, office space, entertainment venues and more.
The Broderick renovation follows the recent restorations of two of downtown’s other landmark properties, the Westin Book Cadillac and the Fort Shelby.
The 33-story Book Cadillac was the epitome of glamour when it opened in 1924. The hotel’s 60-year run ended when a declining Detroit no longer could sustain it.
The Broderick, originally constructed as the Eaton Tower but bought and renamed in 1945 by Detroit insurance broker David Broderick, likewise lost most of its tenants by the mid-1980s. It has been largely vacant but preserved since.
John Mogk, a law professor at Wayne State University who specializes in land use and urban development, said the Broderick is well-positioned and its renovation is well-timed.
The property is just south of the city’s thriving entertainment district and not far from major employers who have moved thousands of jobs from the suburbs to downtown – and offered incentives and subsidies for workers to live there. The planned light rail line on Woodward also could enliven the corridor, he said.
“So long as the new investors are willing to put their money on the line and take the risk, the city benefits,” Mogk said, adding the developments all “should offer a good prospect for being able to fill the space.”
Restoration of the Broderick Tower is scheduled for completion in September of 2012.
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