FOURMIDABLE Assumes Management Of Industrial Stevens Buildings In Detroit
A pair of downtown affordable senior housing buildings will remain that way even after being acquired by a joint venture between Detroit-based developer The Roxbury Group and Invest Detroit.
Totaling 165 units, the deal to buy the Industrial State Bank Building and the Stevens Building north and south of Grand River Avenue on Washington Boulevard closed Thursday, according to the buyers.
Previously owned by Gilbert “Buzz” Silverman, the early 20th century buildings are expected to undergo about $10 million in improvements to individual units, common areas and building systems, said David Di Rita, principal of Roxbury.
There are 127 units in the Industrial building, which stands 22 stories at the northeast corner of Washington and Grand River and was designed by architect Louis Kamper, who designed the Book-Cadillac Hotel, the Book Tower and Broderick Tower.
It is expected to be renamed the Louis Kamper Building.
The Stevens Building is the smaller and older of the pair, standing six stories on the southeast corner of Washington and Grand River. It was built in the 1900s and has 38 units. There are no plans to rename it.
Photo by CoStar Group The Stevens Building, which serves as senior housing in Detroit, was acquired by a joint venture last week.
The two buildings, which sold for an undisclosed price, are nearly fully occupied.
Stacy Fox, fellow principal of Roxbury, said that although the deal wasn't in her company's “strike zone” — these are the first buildings entirely for affordable housing owned by Roxbury — they “felt this is an important complement to what we are doing in the west district.”
“We knew and felt that if we didn't step in and get these properties under control, they could well go the way other Section 8 properties have gone, which is market rate,” she said. “It was important to maintain them for their intended use. I really believe in that mission and really look forward to raising the quality of life for these residents by upgrading these properties.”
They were put up for sale about a year ago.
According to the buyers, aside from the Industrial and Stevens buildings, there are only two other downtown Section 8 buildings: the Himelhoch Building, next to Roxbury's David Whitney Building redevelopment and across Woodward from the Broderick Tower, and the 114-unit Washington Boulevard Apartments, owned by Silverman next to the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel.
Fox said an offer was made on the Washington Boulevard apartments, but that property “fell out of the deal.”
“Given the scarcity of available properties in the area and rising property values and rents, it is critically important that these remaining affordable properties be protected and improved,” David Blaszkiewicz, president and CEO of gap-financing provider Invest Detroit, said in a statement.
Keeping the buildings as affordable housing aligns well with Mayor Mike Duggan's goal of having at least 20 percent of the new multifamily housing units in the city being reserved for low-income renters.
“This is a signature project, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to work with the new stewards of these properties,” Arthur Jemison, the city's director of housing and revitalization, said in a statement.
Southfield-based Fourmidable Group, which owns and manages the Himelhoch Building, will manage the Industrial and Stevens buildings. Fourmidable will also be property manager for Roxbury's $24 million The Griswold apartment development, which is under construction for 80 new units on top of an existing 10-story building at Washington and Michigan Avenue.
Invest Detroit is also a financer of that project and provided financing on the $94.5 million David Whitney redevelopment project.
Renovations to the Industrial and Stevens buildings, which were converted into Section 8 housing in the early 1980s, are expected to be financed at least in part with federal low-income housing tax credits.
Kirk Pinho: (313) 446-0412. Twitter: @kirkpinhoCDB