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  1. #1

    Default Opera House Lot Redevelopment

    New tower could go up in vacant lot near Detroit Opera House


    certainly a leading headline...

    MOT has issued a request for proposals for the development of its 0.8-acre lot. The request includes the possibility of doing something new with the seven-story Detroit Opera House parking garage across John R Street from the theater.
    pretty sure the opera house parking deck is raking in the money and has lots of life left. i always wish they had street level retail along centre street though.

    lest we forget the adjacent surface lots owned by ilitch co

  2. #2
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    "...and underground parking"

    Those words are like music to my ears.

    Also they should really do something with the front facade facing Grand Circus, it's very bland.

  3. #3

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    It would seem like a waste to bring down the Opera House Garage which is not even 15 years old. However if bringing it down means connecting the two blocks with underground parking, I am all for it. I hope the same thing happens on the Monroe Blocks. Expanding underground parking across different city blocks allows for varied traffic patterns based on flexible ingress and egress points. This all adds to flexibility of development in the surrounding blocks.
    Last edited by DetroitSoldier; April-29-19 at 06:04 PM.

  4. #4

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    Yeah I had heard about this from one of my buddies who is a manager at the Detroit Opera House, at last August Theatre Tours. The rumor he told me was that Gilbert was going to put up a 20-30 story residential tower.

    The Opera House Garage is indeed a cash cow for Michigan Opera Theatre... and cost $20 million to build about a dozen years ago. I agree with the Centre Street facade as being a dead zone, and not a nice way to tie together the Opera House area with the Harmonie Park area.

    I think that initially Gilbert was interested in the site, but other developers, who may offer a better fit to what the Detroit Opera House wants, came forward to offer better development. One thing that the Detroit Opera House needs more of is banqueting space. The Opera House configuration isn't ideal to that kind of development. The Grand Foyer at the Opera House, which would be ideal as a banqueting spot, is unfortunately split into 2 halves by a large staircase that spans the opulent space. Having other banqueting space attached to the Opera House Grand Foyer in a new development, would be ideal for the Opera House, which like other downtown theatres, make a lot of money off of weddings and other functions.

    This would really make that section of downtown sizzle. I bet the Ilitch owned Madison-Lenox site will remain parking, even though it would be a wonderful adjacent addition to this development.

    The irony is that with the Ilitch's tying up so many empty lots downtown, it makes the other properties more desireable.
    Last edited by Gistok; April-29-19 at 08:37 PM.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    Yeah I had heard about this from one of my buddies who is a manager at the Detroit Opera House, at last August Theatre Tours. The rumor he told me was that Gilbert was going to put up a 20-30 story residential tower... with some banqueting space on the first (or 2nd?) floor for weddings and functions at the DOH.

    The Opera House Garage is indeed a cash cow for Michigan Opera Theatre... and cost $20 million to build about a dozen years ago. I agree with the Centre Street facade as being a dead zone, and not a nice way to tie together the Opera House area with the Harmonie Park area.

    I had heard last summer that Dan Gilbert was interested in developing this... but now I'm not sure... especially since he's going to develop the fail jail site.

    This would really make that section of downtown sizzle. I bet the Ilitch owned Madison-Lenox site will remain parking, even though it would be a wonderful adjacent addition to this development.

    The irony is that with the Ilitch's tying up so many empty lots downtown, it makes the other properties more desireable.
    This development will hopefully bring an outside player into Detroit to broaden the development field, but bedrock would be an acceptable choice as well, even with everything else on their plate, since they can deliver results. Hopefully the winning proposal will be a 20-25 story high rises for downtown as mid rises are more fitting to midtown or Corktown.

  6. #6

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    was the opera house garage structured for vertical expansion? if not, i don't understand how the parking garage is even in play.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by hybridy View Post
    was the opera house garage structured for vertical expansion? if not, i don't understand how the parking garage is even in play.
    Even if it is designed with vertical expansion possible, that does not make it practical. It is probably much easier to design parking into a building compared to designing a building to fit the existing parking structure. I would assume spending $15-$20M to tear down the existing structure and reincorporate parking into the new space would be preferential to being limited by physical and design aesthetics.

  8. #8

    Default

    Was the garage initally designed with a future bridge to connect MOT? Therefore just a small modficiation required?

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hybridy View Post
    was the opera house garage structured for vertical expansion? if not, i don't understand how the parking garage is even in play.
    Even if it is designed with vertical expansion possible, that does not make it practical. It is probably much easier to design parking into a building compared to designing a building to fit the existing parking structure. I would assume spending $15-$20M to tear down the existing structure and reincorporate parking into the new space would be preferential to being limited by physical and design aesthetics.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitSoldier View Post
    I would assume spending $15-$20M to tear down the existing structure and reincorporate parking into the new space would be preferential to being limited by physical and design aesthetics.
    hmmm. i don't see the demand to warrant tearing down the MOT ramp and office structure that has paying tenants (LE&A + KDG).

    perhaps MOT is dangling the unassigned parking spaces in the ramp as dedicated parking to a hotel/office tenant in the new proposal.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hybridy View Post
    hmmm. i don't see the demand to warrant tearing down the MOT ramp and office structure that has paying tenants (LE&A + KDG).

    perhaps MOT is dangling the unassigned parking spaces in the ramp as dedicated parking to a hotel/office tenant in the new proposal.
    Demand isn't there now, but if I were a developer I would be looking at securing future rights for that block. If conditions change that is a huge block that could be mixed use in a great part of town.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitSoldier View Post
    Even if it is designed with vertical expansion possible, that does not make it practical. It is probably much easier to design parking into a building compared to designing a building to fit the existing parking structure. I would assume spending $15-$20M to tear down the existing structure and reincorporate parking into the new space would be preferential to being limited by physical and design aesthetics.
    I very much doubt they are looking to tear down the garage. Right now they are adding new pay boxes and renovating the gates. If there was even a chance it gets torn down, I don't think they would be putting a few thousand dollars into it. I could see them expanding on the office space front Broadway, or possibly trying to incorporate retail fronting John R, Centre, or Grand River. As much as I'd like to see the garage replaced, it does serve a lot of daily drivers and was built relatively tastefully.

  13. #13

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    They might not tear down the garage, but they could rebuild the office portion of that lot. It's a triangular shape about two stories high, where LE&A is.

    It's too bad there's no retail/office space fronting Centre Street; the streetwall and trees there feel very New York to me. An underrated downtown street in my opinion.

  14. #14

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    I would love to see the garage torn down and something built in it place that incorporates a deck or underground parking.

    Huge news that they want to redevelop the lot next to the Opera House. I always thought that would remain a lot for as long as they wanted.

    Here's hoping something tall to fit in with the skyline and the surrounding buildings goes there.

  15. #15

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    I also have a hard time seeing the parking deck coming down. Maybe add a floor or two to the parking deck, adding floors to the commercial space on Broadway, and putting in retail on the Cetre St. side of the first level of the parking deck. But that may be overly optomistic.

    Also, the Opera House 7th story rooftop Skydeck... I could see hotel or apartment residents using that space...
    https://www.google.com/search?q=detr...ih=674#imgrc=_

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    Yeah I had heard about this from one of my buddies who is a manager at the Detroit Opera House, at last August Theatre Tours. The rumor he told me was that Gilbert was going to put up a 20-30 story residential tower.

    The Opera House Garage is indeed a cash cow for Michigan Opera Theatre... and cost $20 million to build about a dozen years ago. I agree with the Centre Street facade as being a dead zone, and not a nice way to tie together the Opera House area with the Harmonie Park area.

    I think that initially Gilbert was interested in the site, but other developers, who may offer a better fit to what the Detroit Opera House wants, came forward to offer better development. One thing that the Detroit Opera House needs more of is banqueting space. The Opera House configuration isn't ideal to that kind of development. The Grand Foyer at the Opera House, which would be ideal as a banqueting spot, is unfortunately split into 2 halves by a large staircase that spans the opulent space. Having other banqueting space attached to the Opera House Grand Foyer in a new development, would be ideal for the Opera House, which like other downtown theatres, make a lot of money off of weddings and other functions.

    This would really make that section of downtown sizzle. I bet the Ilitch owned Madison-Lenox site will remain parking, even though it would be a wonderful adjacent addition to this development.

    The irony is that with the Ilitch's tying up so many empty lots downtown, it makes the other properties more desireable.
    I vehemently disagree on that last point.

    The distrust that has been sowed in the public from people like the illitches have hampered developers from coming downtown. Now this is being turned around with the boom in greater downtown detroit since 2013, but the illitches and their misdeeds have and CONTINUE to slow development.

    Their surface parking lots continue to greatly depress surrounding land value.

    Do you know what should be popping up surrounding the beautifully constructed beacon park on the west side of downtown? Shopping! retail!! apartments!!! people want to live near this area!! people want to work around it and be able to walk through it and spend time there! do you know. the illitches and their parking empire continue to hold on to all the land behind the fox up to grand river and it is doing terrible things for northwest downtown! it's truly sad to see.

    The cass corridor surrounding the arena is dying to be developed. NOPE, won't happen.

    I know what point you're saying, since they continue to hold so much land all the other land that IS available for development is being snatched up, but no. honestly if the illitches sold all their surface lots, you would see a development BOOM with mid-rise infill buildings filling up a lot of pockets of land that will otherwise continue to serve the suburban auto-centric population for their events.

  17. #17

    Default

    ^SpartanDawg... I agree with everything you just said... and I probably could have used a better choice of words... "more desireable" probably could be replaced with "fewer choices available".

    But the Ilitch's have over 100 parcels (some with decaying buildings, but most with empty parking lots). And in the past 25+ years they have NEVER sold a single parcel to anyone else.

    It appears that they have Duggan in their pocket... but he's a smart man and needs to wise up and give the Ilitch's a kick in the pants...

    The Ilitch's got a $700K loan from the DEGC (IIRC) to pay for the demolition of the Madison-Lenox... and were told they had to repay it within 7 years... or it would be forgiven if they redeveloped the property within that time. That was back in 2005. No development, no payback.

    That parcel is adjacent to the Opera House parcel... and it could become part of a greater development. But the Ilitch's won't sell...

    The DECG and City need to have stopped long ago with this land amassing corporate welfare for the Ilitch's.

    And the Ilitch's need to understand that they continue to have fewer and fewer friends on their side... even among the business community.
    Last edited by Gistok; April-30-19 at 10:00 PM.

  18. #18

    Default

    Great news about a residential development on that parking lot. MOT has the garage. They really don't need the surface parking lot. I hope the development extends from Broadway all the way to Madison Avenue.

    It's a shame that MOT didn't have enough money to have built the parking structure with retail/restaurant space along Centre Street. Like EGrant said earlier, Centre Street feels like a New York City street. A restaurant with outdoor seating would have been a wonderful addition to the downtown experience.

    Regarding the Ilitches and their surface parking lots, those that face Grand River could have parking decks built, with apartments/condos and ground-floor retail facing Grand River. A "Texas-Donut" garage and residential development could work on those surface lots. It would be a "win-win" for the Ilitches if they only knew how to be good corporate citizens.
    Last edited by royce; May-01-19 at 12:05 AM.

  19. #19

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    While working out at the YMCA across the street today, I noticed that minus a common wall, there appears to be no integration between the MOT parking deck and the office space. It may be quite possible to bring down the garage without touching the office space.

  20. #20

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    crains article out today with some thoughts about what they envision the site to be... I do spy a vertical addition on opera house along grand circus park...

    responses due June 10th

    A spokeswoman would only say that the design in the RFP is "conceptual, and it's not meant to be prescriptive."
    MOT sent the RFP to a small group of developers. I'm told those that received it include Dan Gilbert's Bedrock LLC, the Ilitch family's Olympia Development of Michigan, Farmington Hills-based Hunter Pasteur Homes, Southfield-based Redico LLC, Detroit-based Broder & Sachse Real Estate Services Inc. and others.






    albert kahn assisted in rfp prep. perhaps this is a design for Dubai they just plopped in.
    Last edited by hybridy; May-23-19 at 10:39 AM.

  21. #21

    Default

    Jeeze. I didn't think they were looking at something nearly 500ft in the RFP. I figured something in line with 15-20 stories. It'd be nice to see some height moving to the east.

  22. #22

    Default

    "We are encouraging developers to be creative to design a space that will be compatible with the Detroit Opera House campus and further the city's pedestrian-oriented community environment."

    Umm....

  23. #23
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    Default

    This is a perfect spot for a skyscraper and would give the skyline a lot of balance. I hope something comes out of it.

  24. #24

    Default

    When I talked with my "inside manager" at the Opera House last August... he mentioned a tower in the neighborhood of 30+ stories. Looks like he was right.

    But this development will not be isolated from the Opera House... it will be a symbiotic relationship. The rooftop Sky Deck on the roof of the Opera House will probably be tied into this development, and the Opera House is short on banqueting space for the many weddings and other receptions that take place there... so there will need to be banqueting space as part of this tall development... that will be connected internally with the Opera House.

  25. #25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    When I talked with my "inside manager" at the Opera House last August... he mentioned a tower in the neighborhood of 30+ stories. Looks like he was right.

    But this development will not be isolated from the Opera House... it will be a symbiotic relationship. The rooftop Sky Deck on the roof of the Opera House will probably be tied into this development, and the Opera House is short on banqueting space for the many weddings and other receptions that take place there... so there will need to be banqueting space as part of this tall development... that will be connected internally with the Opera House.
    Cool! Thanks for the good info. Looking forward to finding out more details in June

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