A $75 million project is getting underway to transform a vacant high-rise tower in the city’s downtown into apartments, dining and retail.
A Detroit-based, Black-led development team is behind the effort that will turn the historic United Artists Building on Grand Circus Park into the Residences @ 150 Bagley.
The nearly 100-year-old, 18-story building will be converted by Bagley Development Group into 148 market rate and affordable apartments. The building, one of multiple historic downtown properties owned by Ilitch Holdings, will feature one- and two-bedroom units that will be up to 1,300 square feet. Of the units, 20% will be reserved as affordable at 80% of the area median income, which is $50,240 or less for a two-person household.
The building is slated to open in late 2023 and will also include 10,000 square feet of street-level retail and dining space along Bagley Street.
“This project represents not just shelter for those who need it, and can afford it, it represents an opportunity for us to invest in our citizens,” At-large Detroit City Councilman Coleman A. Young II said at a Thursday news conference alongside the site developers, union officials, Mayor Mike Duggan and representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Bagley Development Group is a partnership between Emmett Moten, Scott Allen, Larry Brinker Sr., Tom Goss, Richard Hosey, Roy Roberts and Jim Thrower. Together, the team has decades of development experience in Detroit and was behind the restoration of buildings including the Fort Shelby Hotel, Farwell and Capitol Park buildings, and soon, the Fisher Body 21 Plant.
Moten, the group’s managing partner, said the project has been in the works for about six years and ensuring it had affordable housing was a must.
The project, Moten said, “represents the perfect model for urban development.” He reiterated during the Thursday news conference a pitch he’d made to the late Mike Ilitch to put together a team to redevelop the site “with some guys that look like me.”
“A group of Black guys come together, the majority of us see we could do something in our city,” Moten said. “Everybody was talking about what this person is doing, what that person was doing, but what are we doing for our next generation. Let them see that we can work collectively together and all of us are equal.”
The building, mainly vacant for almost 50 years, is among a dozen Duggan highlighted during his State of the City speech earlier this month as the basis for the city’s international reputation for ruin.
“We set out to have a plan for all 12 and the United Artists Building, the decay was in the images around the world,” the mayor said.
Duggan also noted the growing trend in Detroit of long-time residents and Black business leaders heading up the development projects to drive the city’s recovery.
He said the iconic Black business leaders behind the United Artists project wanted to take a “very visible role in rebuilding the city.”
The effort is a partnership between the Ilitch family’s Olympia Development, HUD, state of Michigan and Detroit’s Department of Housing and Revitalization and other financial partners.
The project follows a wave of development primarily led by Olympia Development around Grand Circus Park, including the 13-story former Eddystone Hotel. The United Artists building, within the District Detroit and Grand Circus Park Historic District, was designed by Detroit architect C. Howard Crane. It first opened in 1928.
The Ilitch group formerly touted the District Detroit as a plan for five new neighborhoods that it aimed to create by the time the Little Caesars Arena opened in 2017. Progress on the district, primarily in the Cass Corridor, has been slow to materialize.
Detroit-based Brinker/Christman is the construction manager for the project and Michigan-based Hobbs + Black is the project architect.
The Residence @ 150 Bagley received a $43 million HUDmultifamily housing loan, $8.5 million from the Downtown Development Authority, $7 million from the Michigan Strategic Fund and $3 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding secured through the city’s Housing and Revitalization Department.
“We need to show the American people that their tax dollars are being used for the maximum benefit to make the communities they live in and visit better communities,” Michael Polsinelli, Detroit field director for HUD, said Thursday.