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Construction : Development News

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Dearborn's Arab American National Museum to celebrate 10th anniversary with expansion

The Arab American National Museum has added a new wing that will act as a performance hall and a gathering space for artists. It will also host special collaborations with local and national cultural groups and institutions.

The opening of the 4,700-square-foot annex on March 27 coincided with news that the museum is sending its exhibit, "Little Syria," to New York. "Little Syria" documents life in a once-vibrant Lower Manhattan Arab neighborhood, one of the earliest Arab American settlements in the U.S. The exhibit will be on display at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum from Oct. 1, 2016 to Jan. 9, 2017.

The Arab American National Museum opened on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn 10 years ago this May. In that time, the museum has built itself into a reputable institution with the purpose of exploring and explaining Arab American culture and history. It is the only southeast Michigan affiliate of the Smithsonian, which is helping organize the transporting of "Little Syria" to New York.

The expansion opportunity arose when two neighboring businesses on Michigan Avenue became vacant. The Annex features a moveable stage and light and sound systems for live performances.

"TEN:The Exhibition" will celebrate the museum's decade of existence with a collection of works by 10 leading Arab American artists.

Source: Arab American National Museum and East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Shuttered Sears store in downtown Wyandotte to become lofts, shops and more

The demolition of a former Sears & Roebuck department store will clear the way for a $5.3 million development of loft apartments, restaurants, retail, and commercial space in downtown Wyandotte.

The neighboring Sears auto repair garage is part of the Roebuck Residential project, which calls for the renovation of the three-story structure at 3061 Biddle Ave. and new construction of a four-story building next door at 3063 Biddle, Wyandotte's main street. Completion is expected by early 2016.

The renovation of the existing three-story building will bring about a 9,600-square-foot first floor to be occupied by a restaurant and other commercial businesses retailers. The second floor of the same square footage will become office space for two tenants, and the third floor, also 9,600 square feet, will be converted into nine loft-style apartments (six one-bedroom units and three two-bedroom units) with access to an open air rooftop terrace. The basement and mezzanine levels of the building will be renovated into storage space and common areas.

A newly constructed four-story building next door will rise in place of demolished department store and will contain an entrance lobby, stairwell, and elevator for the larger mixed-use building next door.

The project has been in the works since 2012 when the DDA purchased the property for $530,000. Since then, storage tanks have been removed from the site and other environmental preparations have been made. The development is expected to be create 56 jobs.

Developer Joe Daly bought the property from the DDA in 2014 for $350,000. Since then, the city of Wyadotte, the DDA, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation have chipped in tax abatements, grants, and other financial assistance worth nearly $3 million as the parties worked together to transform the long-vacant site into an economically viable part of downtown.

Source: Natalie Rankine, Downtown Development Director, city of Wyandotte
Writer: Kim North Shine

Former Northville psych hospital to become massive commercial/public use space

After years of sitting dark and quiet, wasting way, the former psychiatric hospital property in Northville Township is undergoing changes that are part of a lively economic redevelopment that turns the 400-acre site into a walkable, shoppable, eatable, hang-outable, job-creatable project.

Part of the project at 7 Mile and Haggerty roads, known as Northville Park Place, covers about 82 acres, and is being developed by Livonia-based Schostak and its Team Schostak Family Restaurants. A large portion is a public park, walking trails and other amenities that will give visitors a variety of things to do and also connect some locals to their neighborhoods via a trail system. The main hospital and other buildings have yet to be demolished, but the development is proceeding.

As the retail and commercial portion of the project enters phase 2, several restaurants and retailers have signed leases to open. They include Tom + Chee, a specialty grilled cheese restaurant; Mediterranean eatery, Red Olive, North Dakota-based Granite City, Seattle-based MOD Pizza, BurgerFi, Chipotle, Jimmy John's are signed leases previously.

Several stores are also signed on. Phase 1 was the 100,000-square-foot University of Michigan Northville Health Center.

The final phase will be the public space that will also feature water falls, a pond, bike trails and outdoor seating.

The re-use of the land was a source of debate for years in the township as several plans and promises were made and broken and red tape for the former state-owned property dragged out a re-use of the prominent piece of land.

Source: Jennifer Frey, director of community development, Northville Township
Writer: Kim North Shine

Lincoln Park Lofts ready for downtown residents and retailers

A former movie theater and adult club on Lincoln Park's main street are gone and in their place is a new residential loft and retail development.

The grand opening of Lincoln Park Lofts on Fort Street at O'Connor is being celebrated Jan. 15.

The project headed by the Wayne Metro Community Action Agency is a mix of historic rehab and new construction and is meant to offer affordable housing and retail space in place of the historic vacant Park Theater, which was a family draw before closing in the 70s. In the 80s it became the Hustler adult club until closing in 2008.

The facade and marquee of the theater were saved and incorporated into the new development. The marquee is expected to be restored and re-lit eventually. Inside the former theater construction is nearing completion on 12 residential lofts. On the ground floor are two 1,200-square-foot retail spaces. Behind the former theater is a new building that houses 24 condos with ground level parking. The condos are fully occupied.

"We are thrilled to have the Lincoln park lofts opening in our downtown. This is a project that has been a long time coming," says Madhu Oberoi, executive director of the city's downtown development authority.

The project has been in development since at least 2009, when developer Louis Piszker, CEO of Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, told metromode, "It will stand out as an exciting entry point to downtown Lincoln Park. "We're looking at this project as a seed or catalyst to revitalize the downtown of the city."

Today, Oberoi says his prediction holds true even as local preservationists fight plans to demolish a 1920s-era dime store just down the street from the lofts. The Neisner dime store would be replaced with a Save A Lot grocer.

"This will provide a 24/7 resident population in the downtown which is extremely important for downtowns to survive," says Oberoi. "This is expected to generate walkable activity and need for support services to serve the downtown...Hopefully this project will provide a catalyst for other retail type businesses to locate in the downtown."

Source: Madhu Oberoi, executive director, Lincoln Park Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine


Oakland U building first fire science lab in Midwest

Oakland University wants to build the first fire-science lab in the Midwest.

Manufacturers have already donated $275,000 of equipment that would go into the Fire Science Lab, which would be a classroom for OU's Occupational Safety & Health students, a training site for employees who work in fire and safety for private manufacturers, the government and a range of workplaces. It would also be a field-trip site for companies wanting to prepare their employees for fire emergencies.

Inside the lab, real fires can be set, sustained and extinguished for an up-close understanding and analysis of the operation and effectiveness of fire suppression equipment, devices and systems.

Fire code enforcement agencies, government agencies, safety consulting firms, insurance companies and a multitude of manufacturers large and small can use the laboratory to provide training, demonstrations and certifications.

While donations for equipment have been given, there is still a need for donations to build the lab, and OU is looking for sponsors. Once the construction costs are covered, the lab could be operational within four to six weeks, says Dr. Charles McGlothlin, special instructor and director of OU’s Occupational Safety and Health program. For more information on sponsorships, click here.

The lab would be the first of its kind in the Midwest and one of about a dozen nationwide, he says.

“The addition of the new Fire Safety Laboratory will give our graduates the advantage of experiencing first-hand the capabilities of various fire suppression systems and devices," he says.The training will also lead them to jobs that are in short supply in the fire safety industry.

"Today’s safety professionals play an essential role helping companies maintain profitability while ensuring safe, healthy workplaces and environments," he says. "We are driven to continuously improve, keeping pace with ever-changing needs of the market -- the future industries and employers of our graduates," McGlothlin says. "The Fire Safety Laboratory is a tremendous resource which we intend to put to use to benefit the greater community, state and region."

Source: Brian Bierley, spokesperson, Oakland University, and Dr. Charles McGlothlin, special instructor and director, Occupational Safety & Health program at Oakland University
Writer: Kim North Shine

Met 13 - Royal Oak apartments rehabbed into "upscale urban flats"

A 1950's-era apartment building near Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak has been rehabbed into what the developer describes as "upscale urban flats."

Metropolitan 13, or Met13, is located at 4000 W. 13 Mile Road. The 40-unit project offers completely renovated two-bedroom units and services and amenities meant for urban professionals who don't spend much time at home but want a living space that feels fashionable and comfortable and is close to the places they work and play.

Met13 offers free Wi-Fi, an outdoor living room and round-the-clock services. For developer Jeffrey Kaftan, president of Kaftan Communities, the renovation represents a lifestyle- and design-focused way to see the leasing market.

"We really see the Metropolitan brand as a confluence of design and living," he says. "You can find a number of examples in the marketplace where design has been brought to products like cars and watches, but there are not many examples of that in rental housing. We’re trying to bring that to the forefront in the urban flat rental market in the metro Detroit area. Young professionals are asking for a living environment that gives them the opportunity to express their individual sense of style and the Metropolitan brand’s urban flats do that beautifully."

Kaftan is nephew to Sheldon Kaftan, who in 1960 moved into an apartment at what is now Met13. Kaftan Communities invests in and rehabs residential and commercial properties throughout metro Detroit.

Source: Sue Voyles, Logos Communication
Writer: Kim North Shine

Hampton Inn hotel & retail planned for Michigan Ave in Dearborn

A vacant fitness center on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn will be demolished and replaced by a hotel and retail spaces.

The project of Hallmark Ventures LLC will include a 5-story, 96-room Hampton Inn and four retail spaces totaling 1,500 square feet at 22324 Michigan Avenue.

The state has approved a $1 million, performance-based grant for the project, and the city of Dearborn's Brownfield Redevelopment Authority is capturing $943,700 in local and school taxes for demolition and asbestos abatement.

The development will create 52 full-time jobs and cost about $8.6 million to complete, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Source: Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Writer: Kim North Shine

Walsh College breaks ground on expansion of Troy campus

Walsh College's Troy campus is getting a $15 million addition and renovations that will support a more contemporary learning and teaching environment.

The groundbreaking last week at 3838 Livernois Rd. marked the start of construction of a two-story, 27,000-square-foot renovation and addition to the original campus building built in the 1970s. Another 27,000 square feet of interior space will be renovated during the 18-month-long project.

When complete, the campus will offer distinct pavilions for a business-communication focused student success center, a student lounge and a one-stop student services center.

Technological upgrades are part of the renovations, and will fold into programs that focus on the development of business communication skills that are critical to leadership roles in business, says Stephanie Bergeron, president and CEO of Walsh College.

The project is the fifth improvement to the 4,000-student campus since 2007, including the Blackstone Launchpad for Entrepreneurs in 2010, a Barnes & Noble bookstore in 2012, and a Finance Lab in 2013.

Source: Erica Hobbs, Airfoil Group
Writer: Kim North Shine

DFCU Financial breaks ground on Plymouth branch

DFCU Financial, Michigan's largest credit union, is opening a new branch in Plymouth.

Ground was broken in late August on a 4,583-square-foot facility that will open in the first quarter of 2015 at Ann Arbor Road and Main Street.

The branch will be the 25th for the credit union that formed in 1950, started by seven Ford Motor Co. engineering employees. President and CEO Mark Shobe says the Plymouth location will serve more than 4,000 families.

The branch, which will sit on about one acre of land, will have two drive-through teller lanes, a drive up ATM and full services inside.

DFCU currently has branches in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Lansing.

Source: Peggy Richard, spokesperson, DFCU Financial
Writer: Kim North Shine

Cooley Law School's building ranks as one of world's most impressive

A rainwater harvesting system, a green roof, low flow plumbing and other eco-focused features has landed Cooley Law School in Auburn Hills on the list of the most impressive law school buildings in the world.

Best Choice Schools' independent ranking put Cooley, which has undergone major renovation and a 64,000-square-foot addition, at #35 out of 50 law schools. Architects and engineers from Rockford Construction and SHW Group designed the building.

Cooley's building on its Auburn Hills campus at 2630 Featherstone Road is a LEED silver certified facility that was constructed with sustainability at the fore. "Building architects sought to maximize light and air flow throughout the structure with large windows and open spaces," according to Best Choice Schools.

Cooley is the fourth law school in the U.S. to be LEED certified.

Source: Tyler Lecceadone, spokesperson, Cooley Law School, Auburn Hills
Writer: Kim North Shine


Farmington Road next big downtown development project

A rebuild of Farmington Road is the next big project to make downtown Farmington into an inviting place for businesses and customers alike.

Annette Knowles, executive director of the Farmington Downtown Development Authority, says the new Farmington Road streetscape will spruce up the the city's main thoroughfare, make it easier to travel and reach businesses, whether by car of foot and, ideally, help local businesses grow and attract new clientele.

One goal of the rebuild is to give restaurants more sidewalk space for outdoor seating.

"We've got our work cut out for us," Knowles says, "but next year we hope to be starting construction."

The project is largely funded by federal grants through the state and will require local, state and federal approvals of the construction plan, which is being drawn up by OHM Advisors and Grissim Metz Andriese Associates.

The Farmington Road streetscape comes on the heels of of the rebuild of Groves Street, a major makeover of a tired shopping center there and the redesign of Riley Park, a downtown gathering spot.

"We're not resting on our laurels or closing the book," Knowles says. "There's always something that needs attention. That's kind of challenge for any community.

"We are providing all of these investments into the downtown to keep us positioned to businesses that need to grow or are looking for attractiveness for relocation."

Source: Annette Knowles, executive director, Farmington Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

$22 million Neuroscience Center opens at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak

The first freestanding building to go up on the campus of Beaumont Hospital's Royal Oak campus in more than a decade opened this week.

The three-story, 80,000-square-foot, $22-million Neuroscience Center will give pediatric and adult patients one point of access for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions.

The center was built in anticipation of a growing population of patients 65 and older. The number is expected to double to 72.1 million by 2030. Pediatric patients will also be a focus of the center.

The Neuroscience Center will offer high-tech conference rooms that allow physicians and clinicians to collaborate on patient care, advanced equipment for diagnosis and treatment, rooms designed for comfort and privacy, and more.

There are 11 clinics within the center, including the Ian Jackson Craniofacial Clinic, a pediatric and adult epilepsy clinic, clinics for stroke, spinal, and brain tumors, neuro-oncology, concussion, aneurysm, Parkinson's Disease and others.

The center was developed by Royal Oak-based T.H. Marsh Construction and designed by HKS Architects of Northville.

Source: Angela Blazevski, spokesperson, Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak
Writer: Kim North Shine

Walsh College campus to get $15M addition, renovation

An expansion of space and a refinement of business programs is coming to Walsh College in Troy as part of $15 million in renovations, additions and improvements.

The changes include a two-story, 27,000-square-foot renovation and addition to Walsh's original 1970s-era campus building and the redesign and modernization of 28,000 square feet of interior spaces on campus.

Construction will begin in late summer and is expected to be completed within 18 months. When finished, distinct pavilions will offer a business communication-focused student success center, a student lounge and a student services center.

The project will be guided by Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, the renovator of Walsh's Barry Center that opened in 2007.

The student success center will offer technologically advanced services and equipment meant to respond to the demand of employers and students for more business communication skills and leadership training.

Inside the center, students can work on presentations in various digital and electronic formats at new work stations, practice presentations and other projects in simulated workplace environments and have access to videoconferencing.

The new student lounge will have interactive meeting spaces and additional study areas and the new student services center will house all the departments of Walsh College, making taking care of college business faster and easier. There will also be more private meeting space for students and advisors.

Source: Lateshia Dowell, Airfoil PR
Writer: Kim North Shine

Brass Aluminum Forging embarks on $8.6M rehab of Ferndale brownfield

A vacant industrial site in Ferndale will be cleaned up and returned to the tax rolls after a growing local business renovates the property and brings new jobs to the site.

Brass Aluminum Forging's plan to re-use the building at 965 Wanda will come with an $8.6-million investment. The project got the go-ahead this week when the Michigan Economic Development Corp. approved a local and school tax capture of nearly $718,000, money that will help cover the cost of renovations.

The building will be shared by Brass Aluminum Forging and other tenants that lease space.

The company, which makes valve bodies, weapon components, air and hydraulic fittings, and architectural details and provides items that can be forged as well as other processes and products, expects to hire 50 new employees to work at the new site. Building tenants are expected to hire another 50 employees.

The city of Ferndale's Brownfield Development Authority requested the 965 Wanda site be a recipient of the the MEDC's Michigan Strategic Fund's economic development and community revitalization projects.

Source: Kathy Fagan, spokesperson, MEDC
Writer: Kim North Shine

Lawrence Tech breaks ground on residence hall at Southfield campus

An $11.6-million residence hall with room for 160 Lawrence Technological University students is expected to be ready for move-in by fall of 2015.

An April 7 groundbreaking marks the start of construction on a 47,545-square-foot, two-story building near the university's largest parking lot along the Northwestern Highway Service Drive.

The dorm will increase on-campus residential capacity by about one-third. Currently there are about 600 students living on campus. As the school's athletic programs and student activities grow, so too does the demand for housing on campus.

The new residence hall will be designed in a pod-style of five pods that sleep 32 students in 16 double-occupancy units. Each pod will have its own common lounge with fireplace and kitchen. All pods will share a cafe and retail space, laundry room, game room, multi-purpose and meeting rooms on the first floor.

“The building is designed to encourage students to be out of their rooms with plenty of space for interaction and collaboration," says LTU President Virinder Moudgil. "One of the goals is to get new students involved in campus life by fostering collegiality."

Source: Eric Pope, spokesperson, Lawrence Technological University
Writer: Kim North Shine
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