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Demos now starting, clearing way for big suburban projects

Out with the old, in with the new.

That’s the theme behind a few demolition projects underway in the suburbs to make way for more than $300 million in new development across two very different sectors.

In Birmingham, a handful of single-story buildings at the corner of Brown Street and Old Woodward Avenue have been razed, and in Harper Woods, demolition on the now-closed Eastland Center shopping mall has begun.  At the former General Motors Co. Warren Transmission Plant, demolition started in January.

Demolition of the buildings that once housed Lutz Financial Services, Roche Bobois and Frank’s Shoe Service in the swank downtown Birmingham are gone from the 1 acre-plus site, said Victor Saroki, president of Birmingham-based Saroki Architecture, which is working on the project to bring the RH — formerly Restoration Hardware — flagship store to town. The new building, slated to be more than 50,000 square feet and four stories, is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter next year, Saroki said.

“They were just simple single-story buildings and they are taking the footings out today,” Saroki told me Monday. Site excavation should begin the week of May 9. Rochester Hills-based Adams Group is the demolition contractor, while Detroit-based Sachse Construction is the construction manager on the development.

Tim Conder, vice president for Riverside, Mo.-based developer NorthPoint Development LLC, said the Eastland Center site, which is expected to be turned into more than 1 million square feet of warehouse and industrial space in a $94 million project, is slated to be at grade level in the next seven or eight months.

Because much of the building is concrete, brick and stone, it is being pulverized and turned into subgrade material for the new buildings, he said. Detroit-based Adamo Group is the demolition contractor.

At the former Warren Transmission Plant, much of the property is steel, which can be scrapped and sold, Conder said. The 123-acre site on Mound Road is slated to become 1.4 million square feet of new light industrial and warehouse space, a big chunk of the more than 7 million square feet that NorthPoint has in the development hopper around town. The project is expected to cost $180 million.

Indianapolis-based Renascent Inc. is the demo contractor.

Among the other demolitions we are tracking but haven’t yet started: The Packard Plant in Detroit, the owner of which is in the middle of a court fight with the city. A judge ordered Fernando Palazuelo’s Arte Express Detroit LLC, which owns the 3 million-square-foot-plus plant, to tear it down at its own expense, although Palazuelo blew a deadline last month to apply for demolition permits.

Pending city approvals, NorthPoint expects to begin demolition on the former American Motors Corp. headquarters on Plymouth Road in August, Conder said. A new 728,000-square-foot building is expected to take the place of the blighted property.

Another is the expected razing of the Main Art Theatre in downtown Royal Oak, the site of which would be turned into a new mixed-use building with office and residential space above commercial space by an affiliate of Bloomfield Township-based developer A.F. Jonna Development LLC.

And of course, there is the bevy of blighted Detroit buildings Mayor Mike Duggan has targeted for demolition, as my former colleague Annalise Frank and I reported in March.


(Signature is proud to be a part of the Eastland Commerce Center project!  For leasing information, click here.)


Posted By: Crain’s Detroit Business on May 3, 2022.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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