Iconic Detroit Buildings May Shift to Multifamily Use

Posted on Jun 22 2015 - 6:35am by Brandon De Hoyos

Fisher_Building_Detroit_crop(DETROIT)— Two historic buildings at the focus of a three-day auction beginning Monday in the city’s New Center could find new life as mixed use properties, including the remodeling of at least one of these buildings for multifamily apartments.

The Fisher and Albert Kahn Buildings are expected to draw interest from out-of-state investors seeking to bring hundreds of new rental units to meet growing demand, Crain’s Detroit Business reports.

Portions of both buildings — perhaps 20 percent to 40 percent or 185,000 to 370,000 square feet of their total square footage of 925,000 — could be converted to multifamily in an area that multifamily real estate experts see as ripe for such redevelopment.

The selling price for New Center as a market option makes the property an attractive possibility for investors to woo would-be residents priced out of downtown and Midtown Detroit.

Mixed use of the buildings would also provide “no shortage of prospective office tenants, either,” Crain’s reports.

The Fisher Building was seized in a bank foreclosure, and will put the artistic 19th century building on the auction block for “bargain basement price,” NPR reports. What would have cost the Fisher brothers an estimated $140 million in 2015 dollars to erect may go for as little as $20 or $30 million, analysts said.

The building boasts art deco chandeliers, over 52 types of marble, 430 tons of bronze, and a 2,000-seat theater.

The New York League of Architects awarded the Fisher Building the designation of “most beautiful building” of 1928.

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