16 luxury loft rental units going into Lafer Building downtown

Construction has started in the nine-story Lafer Building downtown to turn the 1916 building into 16 high-end loft units for rent, with first-floor space for office and retail.

Mercier Development is renovating the building on Broadway between Gratiot and East Grand River. The Garrison Co. is doing the construction work.

Each floor will have two units — one with 1,800 square feet, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and the other with 1,500 square feet, two bedrooms and one bathroom. All will have an open floor plan, granite countertops, and other luxury finishes.

A unique feature for residents will be secured elevator access to their lofts, so the lifts drop them off right into their own apartments. "It's very New York-ish in style," says Michael Mercier, who is partnering with his son, Daniel, on the project.

Mercier says the lofts will be for rent, but they plan to convert the building to condos within the next five years, when they will add balconies to the smaller units.

He expects construction to be finished by the end of the year, and says rents will start around $1,250. A Web site will go up in a few weeks with floor plans and more rental info. In the meantime, call (248) 244-0007 for more information.

Mercier says he put a sign in a window of the building advertising the space, and so far has had at least 60 people ask to be updated on the building. "There’s much greater interest than even I expected," he says.

"It’s just a wonderful feeling that I’m getting about all these dynamics taking place," Mercier says. "I'm really enjoying investing in the city and seeing all the great things that are taking place. I think there’s a really bright future."

Sources: Michael Mercier of Mercier Development/Mark Wilcox of the Garrison Co.