Developer envisions massive tower for former Joe Louis Arena site
A developer has put forth a conceptual design for a massive tower with 500 apartments to be built on the site of the demolished Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit-based Sterling Group, which owns the former arena site, submitted a conceptual site plan to the city in July showing a 25-story, 290-foot-tall residential tower called The Louis where the old Red Wings arena once stood on the city’s riverfront west of the Renaissance Center.
The 500 apartments would be a mix of one-bedrooms and studios, including penthouse units. If built, the tower would be the biggest new high-rise housing development in downtown Detroit since the three Riverfront Towers opened in the 1980s.
However, the concept submitted to the city does not appear to be an actual building proposal — or at least not yet. The Sterling Group could not be reached for comment late Friday. News of the concept tower design was first reported by Crain’s Detroit. Joe Louis Arena closed in summer 2017 and has been completely demolished for more than a year.
In late 2019, the Sterling Group acquired the 5-acre arena site, plus the nearby 3,000-space Joe Louis Area parking garage, in a complex $14.1 million deal with the city that included paying the city’s demolition costs.
The deal bought out a New York-based bond insurer, Financial Guaranty Insurance Corp., which had been given future development and ownership rights to the arena site during Detroit’s 2013-14 bankruptcy in exchange for swallowing big losses for a $1.1-billion claim against the city.
The bond insurer was supposed to build a hotel with at least 300 rooms on the site, but bowed out of that plan. The Sterling Group has yet to make any public announcement about its plans or visions for the site.
In March, the developer sold the arena parking garage, 900 W. Jefferson Ave., to Grosse Pointe-based Foster Financial Co. for $36 million.
Foster Financial President Brad Foster said Friday that his team has been remaking the garage into the “Joe Louis Mobility Hub,” and recently finished renovations for half of the 3,000 spots, with the rest to be ready in the spring.
“Pre-COVID, there was a 19,000-space deficit for parking spots,” Foster said. “Obviously it’s changed a little bit since COVID happened, (but) we imagine there is still a need for it.”
Foster said he has not been told anything by the Sterling Group about the tower concept design, but added that his garage would be available for the tower’s residents if it project moves forward.
“It’s our understanding that there’s no parking being included with Sterling’s development,” he said. “So we are excited to partner with them to offer a parking option for their apartments — if that’s what ends up happening.”
Posted By: Detroit Free Press on November 5, 2021. For more information, please click here to read the source article.
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