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Thread: GAR Building

  1. #1

    Default GAR Building

    Per Inside Detroit's Facebook they are doing work on the GAR Building . I love this building and it's exciting to see work being done. Anyone have any information on what they are doing? http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...type=1&theater


  2. #2
    agrahlma Guest

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    I saw that post too. Also, a few weeks ago I was leaving for work and I noticed two guys pulling-off some of the plywood and going inside the building. They were driving some type of commercial pick-up truck. I wasn’t able to make-out the name on the side of the truck.

  3. #3

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    That was city crews patching up the building from a break in. I have heard that the city may be talking to some of the groups that made proposals - what is it, 5, 6 years ago? - but nothing at all solid.

  4. #4

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    I was just admiring this building a few weeks ago. Glad to hear the boards are coming down.

  5. #5

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    The boards are not coming down, as rb said, they were putting up new boards to replace broken and older boards.

  6. #6

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    If only we could move the triangle shaped GAR building to the triangle shaped property at the south entrance to downtown Birmingham (Woodward and Old Woodward). What a neat landmark building that would be.... complete with a flag on the turret. and lighted up at night.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by detroitbob66 View Post
    The boards are not coming down, as rb said, they were putting up new boards to replace broken and older boards.

    The maybe Tyree Guyton will go by and paint some of his signature dots on the new boards.

  8. #8

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    Isn't the problem that the owners of the GAR refuse to let it be used for anything, but don't actually have money to do anything with it themselves?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by drjeff View Post
    Isn't the problem that the owners of the GAR refuse to let it be used for anything, but don't actually have money to do anything with it themselves?
    Wait... doesn't Illitch own it?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bailey View Post
    Wait... doesn't Illitch own it?
    thats what i recall as well. from wikipedia, thought i can't find original article

    The Detroit Free Press reported on April 7, 2007 that the GAR Building had been sold to Olympia Development, an arm of Ilitch Holdings, Inc.. The Ilitch family also owns the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers, as well as the United Artists Theatre Building.
    The Free Press stated that the sale price was $220,500. Olympia Development expected to renovate the building at a cost of $2 million, and use it for its staff, though the purchase of the GAR by the Ilitch family was later rescinded. The property was then sold to Mindfield USA, a Detroit-based media company who plan to renovate the building for use as their headquarters.

  11. #11

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    I believe the option Olympia held expired so they never completed the purchase.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by drjeff View Post
    Isn't the problem that the owners of the GAR refuse to let it be used for anything, but don't actually have money to do anything with it themselves?
    I think what you are referring to is actually before the building was sold to Olympia / Ilitch. I believe the city owned the building, but was not able to do anything to it without permission from the GAR (and I think the DAR also) because the building contains a war memorial (part of the floor inside the main entry I believe).

    *Do not quote me on this though because that was all from memory*

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.w View Post
    I think what you are referring to is actually before the building was sold to Olympia / Ilitch. I believe the city owned the building, but was not able to do anything to it without permission from the GAR (and I think the DAR also) because the building contains a war memorial (part of the floor inside the main entry I believe).

    *Do not quote me on this though because that was all from memory*
    Conditions of the sale were something along the lines of: Developers had to section off a piece of the building and designate it as a memorial to those who fought in the civil war.

    I remember hearing that the proposition was expected to be costly and a major waste of the space, scaring off buyers. If my memory serves, Mindfield rescinded just like Olympia.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by esp1986 View Post
    I remember hearing that the proposition was expected to be costly and a major waste of the space, scaring off buyers. If my memory serves, Mindfield rescinded just like Olympia.
    I spoke with the Mindfield folks as early as last summer. The mention was that they still had plans to occupy the GAR building. Perhaps forum member "Mindfield" has some info?

  15. #15
    bartock Guest

  16. #16

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    Wow. Great news. Another significant renovation is at hand.

  17. #17

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    This would be an awesome renovation. Maybe downtown might have a little life to it in the next couple of years!

  18. #18

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    Nope, my s/n has nothing to do with the company downtown and is just coincidental. anyways, great that another downtown building is being saved. Maybe in ten years, there won't be any abandonment downtown.

  19. #19

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    From what I gathered over the years... the amount of space for some sort of acknowledgement to the Grand Army of the Republic would have been just some niche or display case... not a make or break large amount of space that would make the entire deal financially unpalatable.

    Not sure why the Ilitch's let their option expire? But since the renovation of the Fox they have seemed to be "restoration challenged" in how to fix up old spaces. Still nothing going on at the Moose, UA and Fine Arts. What's with their building on Park Ave. Has any more work been done on it?

  20. #20

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    Think of where that building would be today if the Illitch family had stayed out of the way.

  21. #21

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    This is very good news. We can't save all the cool old buildings, but this one is historic, architecturally unique, and well worth restoration, in my opinion. I hope it ignites that area.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    From what I gathered over the years... the amount of space for some sort of acknowledgement to the Grand Army of the Republic would have been just some niche or display case... not a make or break large amount of space that would make the entire deal financially unpalatable.

    Not sure why the Ilitch's let their option expire? But since the renovation of the Fox they have seemed to be "restoration challenged" in how to fix up old spaces. Still nothing going on at the Moose, UA and Fine Arts. What's with their building on Park Ave. Has any more work been done on it?
    I know that many people think very highly of Ilitch (I realize others don't), but the reality is, they are clearly not the best at development. They could have easily done what Gilbert is doing, and could have been doing so since the 1990s. Almost any of their buildings could be profitable as residential lofts and they probably could have worked out tax credits to pay for the cost. For whatever reason, they simply cannot get it together. Ilitch's buildings could be generating serious revenue right now instead of just eating into their balance sheet.

    This is true of so many of the so called "investors" who own buildings in downtown Detroit. We really got screwed with the quality of developers we have in Detroit. Very few have the vision and basic business savvy to see the opportunities that they have right in front of them. Consider for a moment that some of these folks even teamed up and purchased properties in tandem with the intention of creating entire areas of redevelopment, such as what is possible in Capitol Park, or along Park Ave, or lower Woodward. It's really kind of pathetic.

    There's no reason United Artists should not be completely developed, or any of Ilitch's other real estate holdings. I get that he is in the entertainment/pizza business, but you could hire a management company to run the place if it were residential. With the occupancy rate of downtown near 99%, you really have to be an inept idiot to not make money in that kind of environment, especially when you have the resources to develop properties. Right now, Ilitch and others like him should not only be taking advantage of tax credits to develop existing buildings collecting dust in their portfolio, but they should be constructing new buildings on lots that can be purchased for virtually nothing.

    Downtown could look like Manhattan within 10 years if the power brokers that be in Detroit had vision. Gilbert is really the only one making a go of it. Currently, almost any building could be made into a profitable residential space. When I walk through downtown, it makes me sick that these investors/developers ignore market forces and do nothing to capitalize on demand for residential. Thankfully, new developers like the Roxbury group are emerging. I hope they send the do-nothing investors packing. There's absolutely no excuse for the Wurlitzer, Metropolitan, United Artists, Book Tower, etc, etc. Smaller buildings should be even more ripe for redevelopment. Small luxury lofts like the Eureka on Broadway are leasing for $2,000/mo per unit and are fully occupied with wait lists.

    Ridiculous.
    Last edited by BrushStart; November-03-11 at 10:38 PM.

  23. #23

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    The question is, what is the ROI? How many rental units does the associated Ilitch companies own in Detroit or anywhere for that matter? I am pretty sure none. Residential leasing and redevelopment is not their business. When you have other businesses generating ROI far beyond what rental payments generate, why would you enter the risk? Any real estate play they have made downtown has been pure financial. The Fox may be the only exception but they needed a headquarters anyway. In my view, they are holding up the progress and re-development of downtown, just look at parking lot city west of the Fox. Anyway, the GAR should not even be mentioned with the word IIitch since it would have been below a new hockey arena if he had control of all the property behind the Fox.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrushStart View Post
    I know that many people think very highly of Ilitch (I realize others don't), but the reality is, they are clearly not the best at development. They could have easily done what Gilbert is doing, and could have been doing so since the 1990s. Almost any of their buildings could be profitable as residential lofts and they probably could have worked out tax credits to pay for the cost. For whatever reason, they simply cannot get it together. Ilitch's buildings could be generating serious revenue right now instead of just eating into their balance sheet.

    This is true of so many of the so called "investors" who own buildings in downtown Detroit. We really got screwed with the quality of developers we have in Detroit. Very few have the vision and basic business savvy to see the opportunities that they have right in front of them. Consider for a moment that some of these folks even teamed up and purchased properties in tandem with the intention of creating entire areas of redevelopment, such as what is possible in Capitol Park, or along Park Ave, or lower Woodward. It's really kind of pathetic.

    There's no reason United Artists should not be completely developed, or any of Ilitch's other real estate holdings. I get that he is in the entertainment/pizza business, but you could hire a management company to run the place if it were residential. With the occupancy rate of downtown near 99%, you really have to be an inept idiot to not make money in that kind of environment, especially when you have the resources to develop properties. Right now, Ilitch and others like him should not only be taking advantage of tax credits to develop existing buildings collecting dust in their portfolio, but they should be constructing new buildings on lots that can be purchased for virtually nothing.

    Downtown could look like Manhattan within 10 years if the power brokers that be in Detroit had vision. Gilbert is really the only one making a go of it. Currently, almost any building could be made into a profitable residential space. When I walk through downtown, it makes me sick that these investors/developers ignore market forces and do nothing to capitalize on demand for residential. Thankfully, new developers like the Roxbury group are emerging. I hope they send the do-nothing investors packing. There's absolutely no excuse for the Wurlitzer, Metropolitan, United Artists, Book Tower, etc, etc. Smaller buildings should be even more ripe for redevelopment. Small luxury lofts like the Eureka on Broadway are leasing for $2,000/mo per unit and are fully occupied with wait lists.

    Ridiculous.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjlj View Post
    The question is, what is the ROI? How many rental units does the associated Ilitch companies own in Detroit or anywhere for that matter? I am pretty sure none. Residential leasing and redevelopment is not their business. When you have other businesses generating ROI far beyond what rental payments generate, why would you enter the risk? Any real estate play they have made downtown has been pure financial. The Fox may be the only exception but they needed a headquarters anyway. In my view, they are holding up the progress and re-development of downtown, just look at parking lot city west of the Fox. Anyway, the GAR should not even be mentioned with the word IIitch since it would have been below a new hockey arena if he had control of all the property behind the Fox.
    I agree with all that you are saying... I'm just kind of surprised they let the GAR slip away, what with them owning the neighboring 6 story Cass-Adams Building (used for MotorCity Casino training), as well as the nearby Moose Lodge. They could have built up a nice entertainment area right around the GAR, if the Arena was going into the area. Maybe it's not....

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    I agree with all that you are saying... I'm just kind of surprised they let the GAR slip away, what with them owning the neighboring 6 story Cass-Adams Building (used for MotorCity Casino training), as well as the nearby Moose Lodge. They could have built up a nice entertainment area right around the GAR, if the Arena was going into the area. Maybe it's not....
    the Olympia folks didn't "let it slip away" the original proposal format was deemed faulty, and they didn't follow up in the next round. not sure, but the irregularities in the original proposal submission process might have prevented them from the re-issued RFP

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