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Six Downtown Detroit Buildings Bouncing Back

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Downtown Detroit's Dime Building, now called Chrysler House. Photo by Mike Russell, through Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Detroit’s Dime Building, now called Chrysler House. Photo by Mike Russell, through Wikimedia Commons

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DETROIT — Monday was an amazing day in the rebirth of downtown Detroit.

Monday morning, Chrysler Group LLC announced that for the first time in its history, the company will have an office presence in downtown Detroit. The historic Dime Building will be renamed Chrysler House, as the automaker moves its Great Lakes Business Center and several corporate functions into the top two floors of the 23-story building.

Then, Monday afternoon, the Downtown Detroit Partnership held a press briefing to go over the redevelopment of five more downtown buildings that are being converted to residential, hotel and commercial space.

In the Dime Building, Chrysler Group will lease nearly 33,000 square feet of space from building owner Rock Ventures LLC, the umbrella entity for Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert’s portfolio of companies, investments and real estate.

The space will accommodate about 70 employees who will be located in the new offices. Remodeling will start immediately and is expected to be completed by late summer.

“The future of Chrysler Group and the City of Detroit are inextricably tied,” said Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO, Chrysler Group LLC. “In order to reflect this we want to go beyond spiritual or symbolic evidence of our faith in the City’s future by establishing a physical presence people can see and be proud of.”

Added Gilbert: “It’s very exciting that a company with the legacy and brand of Chrysler is joining the many other companies opening shop in Detroit, as we together help build downtown into the energetic, job-producing, high-tech corridor it is quickly becoming. Chrysler has always been synonymous with Detroit, but today they can truly say they are ‘Imported from Detroit,’ as their presence makes them an important participant in the positive transformation of a great American city.”

Located at 719 Griswold St., the Dime Building was built in 1912 by the Dime Savings Bank. It was designed in the Neo-classical style by Daniel Burnham, the famous Chicago-born architect whose other works are known worldwide, led by his famous Flatiron Building in New York City.

The Dime building underwent extensive renovations in 2002.

As for the Downtown Detroit Partnership, it released updates on these projects:

* Broderick Tower. This 34 story, 1928-vintage skyscraper on Woodward at the north edge of  Grand Circus Park  is currently under renovation, with completion expected by October. Of the 127 new units of rental housing the building will contain, 80 are already reserved, according to Dave Blaszkiewicz, president and CEO of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “There’s such a need for downtown housing these days, and this is a welcome addition to the neighborhood,” Blaskiewicz said. Apartments in the building start with studios for as low as $625 a month. All three of the penthouses on the top three floors — each three stories, three bedrooms, and about 2,200 square feet in size apiece — are already reserved, at $5,000 a month. More at http://brodericktower.com.

* David Whitney Building. This 19-story, 1914-vintage former office building — comprising 250,000 square feet at 1553 Woodward Ave. on Grand Circus Park — is being redeveloped into 108 residential units on the top 10 floors of the building and a 125-room Aloft Hotel on floors two through nine.

* Capitol Park. This partnership of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., the DDP, INvest Detroit, Wayne County, the state of Michigan’s Land Bank and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority will redevelop three buildings — the Farwell Building, the Capitol Park building at 1145 Griswold, and the former United Way building at 1212 Griswold. This formerly dilapidated area that housed the city’s old bus terminal has been resurfaced, relandscaped, and relit with high-tech LED lighting. Work will start on the three buildings in spring 2013 at 1212 Griswold, with completion of all three buildings expected by the end of 2014. Most of three buildings’ 126,000 combined square feet will be turned into residential space with first-floor retail.

Blaskiewicz said both the Whitney and Capitol Park projects benefit from redevelopment tax credits that are no longer available for new projects.

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