There was an abundance of major downtown development news in the last week. Here is a quick review of some of the biggest projects and purchases announced.
• Dan Gilbert once again seems to be on a building-buying spree, most recently adding the 44,000-square-foot Vinton Building at 600 Woodward to his real estate portfolio. This just a week after closing on 1001 Woodward, a 275,000-square-foot building. This brings the total number of residential and commercial downtown Detroit buildings owned by Rock Ventures LLC, Gilbert's umbrella holding company, up to 17, in addition to several more parking structures and surface lots. Gilbert now controls more than 2.9 million square feet of property in downtown Detroit.
• In downtown building news not related to Dan Gilbert, Village Green, a privately-owned metro Detroit-based apartment owner and operator, purchased the 338-unit Millender Center Apartments. The complex will undergo renovation work and a rebranding in the next year under its new ownership.
• The $279 million renovation of COBO Center is about halfway completed and is both on-schedule and on-budget. The third and final phase is scheduled to be complete by January 2015.
• The Whitney Partners, the development team comprised of the Roxbury Group and Trans Inn Management's Lifestyle Boutique Division, have kicked off construction of the $82 million David Whitney Building mixed-use renovation including 105 residential apartment units, a 136-room Aloft Hotel, and ground floor retail.
• Perhaps the splashiest development news from last week came, once again, from Dan Gilbert at a gathering of some 400 business and civic leaders and members of the press. At the two-hour briefing, Gilbert shared his overall master plan for downtown retail development, which included official announcements of retail businesses opening (Moosejaw has committed to a multi-year lease; Papa Joe's Gourmet Market will open in a 15,000-square-foot space inside the First National Building), as well as Gilbert's personal vision for placemaking strategies (among them sidewalk cafes, pedestrian walks, and dog parks).
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