The Auburn mixed-use development to offer new apts and indie retail

Nearly an entire block of Cass Avenue at Canfield will be renovated into a mixed-use green-friendly development offering apartments and retail spaces -- aiding a severely tight rental market in Midtown.

The $12 million Auburn development, which broke ground last week, is being developed by the Roxbury Group and partners Invest Detroit and Midtown Detroit Inc. Fifty eight one-bedroom and studio apartments, beginning at $675, are scheduled to be available by fall 2012. All feature French balconies, individual parking spaces and two shared outdoor common spaces; one with glass garage doors and a built-in outdoor fireplace.

The Auburn was also built with a sensitivity to green design, says Roxbury's James Van Dyke -- Tom Brennan of Second Avenue's Green Garage aided the group in conceiving a building with an environmentally-friendly layout, especially with the Auburn's heating and cooling capabilities. "For example, we've decided use very efficient (and Michigan-made) windows which have double the performance of typical apartment windows," says Van Dyke. "Further, we are planning to install the Mitsubishi City Multi VRF HVAC system which provides for increased modulation and efficiency." Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group is the architect of record for the project.

Thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation, retail spaces will be "tenant-ready," offering would-be entrepreneurs a lower point of financial entry for opening retail on the Auburn's first floor. Van Dyke says the 11 first-floor spaces will be reserved for  independent retail only.

"It's subsidizing the cost of build-out space, so a local independent retailer could literally come in, and plug their cash register and start selling goods," Van Dyke says. "We're actually going to go out in the marketplace with pretty inexpensive space to try to reduce the capital required for an entrepreneurial retailer to start a new location."

Find out more about the project here.

Source: James Van Dyke, vice president of development, The Roxbury Group
Writer: Ashley C. Woods