Book Building and Tower to be brought back to life

The Key Investment Group, comprised of developers that have worked on Campus Martius, Compuware and the Ford Rouge Plant, has announced the first of its six planned mixed-use developments in the city of Detroit -- the renovation of the Book Building and Tower on Washington Blvd. in Downtown.

The team hopes to close on the purchase of the buildings in November and begin construction in June 2010, says chief financial officer RoseMarie Dobek. There will be 260 rental residences, a common residential area and three floors of retail that will be accessible by the Rosa Parks Transit Center and the Detroit People Mover Times Square Station. The entire project will be built with strict attention to sustainability -- think living roof, energy-efficient windows and geothermal heating and cooling -- with LEED Gold being the development's goal.

Dobek says that Key spent three years researching potential developments and the Detroit housing market. For tenants, they are targeting the 80,000 downtown employees by offering rentals at a rate less than the suburbs -- along with the chance to potentially ditch a car payment. "There is a lack of affordable housing (in Detroit)," she says. "There is an excess of low-income and high-end."

Key Investment's other five projects are still confidential. Dobek says they will be announced in December along with details of the plans financing, although she says "no city funds, no pension funds, no HUD and no gap" monies are being utilized. There will be four more developments downtown and one on the east side; one will be a LEED- and Green Seal-certified hotel. In total, Key will be investing $320 million into Detroit in the next 3-1/2 years and be bringing 970 new residences online.

Source: RoseMarie Dobek, Key Investment Group
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh