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UAW-GM riverfront training center sold, to be renamed ‘The Icon’

After getting caught up in a federal investigation into union corruption, the training center along the Detroit riverfront jointly owned by General Motors Co. and the United Auto Workers has been sold to two developers and will be renamed “The Icon.”

The sale of the 420,000-square-foot building on 18 acres at 200 Walker to a joint venture between Auburn Hills-based Moceri Cos. and Detroit-based 400 Monroe Associates closed last week, partner Dominic Moceri said. The developers expect to lease the building formerly housing the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources to a major business, government agency or university.

“It’s not just a building; it’s a campus,” Moceri said. “The setting is unmatched in the entire Midwest with an international location on the Detroit riverfront that has a walkway from Belle Isle to the TCF Center, and the setting is fit to fit the staff of whether it’s a Fortune 50 company, an educational community or a government operations. The setting is second to none.”

Morceri declined to share the transaction price, citing a nondisclosure agreement. His brothers, Frank and Mario, as well as Christos Moisides of 400 Monroe also were principals in the deal. Lino Realty Inc. represented the buyer M & M Iconic Venture LLC.

As a part of labor negotiations last year, GM and the UAW agreed to sell the training center building and reform the organization itself into trust funds with more financial oversight of funds designated for skilling blue-collar workers. The federal probe has solicited 15 convictions, including three convictions related to UAW officials soliciting bribes from contract vendors for the UAW-GM center. Proceeds from the sale of the building will go toward joint training activities, according to the contract.

In March, more than 70 employees were laid off at the GM center because of its closure. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV also agreed to put up for sale its National Training Center building on Nine Mile in Warren. The automakers will provide other space to skill workers. The Detroit building housing the UAW-Ford National Program Center will continue to support training programs.

The property was constructed in the early 2000s and has a 900-space underground garage, full-service kitchen and dining area, 375-person auditorium, conference center, fitness center and eight-floor outdoor terrace overlooking the city and Detroit River.

“This will be one of the most significant transactions of the year in Detroit and it demonstrates the long-term confidence that investors have in this market,” Brendan George, senior vice president of the Detroit office for CBRE, which represented the sellers, said in a statement.

The building has plenty of elbow room for staff, workers or visitors in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, Moceri said. He expects the building to hit the market for lease within the next 60 days at around market rate. At the end of the third quarter, the vacancy rate of Detroit’s central business district was at 12.7%, and asking rents were on average at $25.59 per square foot, according to real-estate firm Newmark.

Talks started in June for the training center, Moceri said. The developers also were looking at the Roberts Riverwalk Hotel next door at 1000 River Walk Drive. They had had it previously under contract. The 108-room hotel is now relisted for sale at $26 million by Newmark’s Southfield office.

“That’s on pause for now,” Moceri said of the talks. “It has to do with timing. It doesn’t mean we’re not interested.”

Moceri added that while the former training center’s structure itself is iconic, its new name is in devotion to his father, Dominic, the Hall of Fame builder who constructed many Southeast Michigan neighborhoods and died in 2018 as well as former 400 Monroe patriarch, Ted Gatzaros, who helped bring casinos to the city and develop Greektown. Gatzaros died in 2013.

“For these two masters of industry,” Moceri said, “it will be The Icon after them both.”


Posted By: The Detroit News on November 2, 2020.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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