Dan Gilbert buys Detroit’s Book Tower skyscraper

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bedrock acquires Detroit’s Book Tower properties.

Billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert said Friday he’s buying the long-vacant 38-story Book Tower skyscraper and two other adjacent buildings on Washington Boulevard and plans to tranform them into a “a game-changing, mixed-use development.” Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services doesn’t release purchase prices, but sources told the Free Press he’s paying about $30 million for the package that also includes the 13-story Book Building and an adjacent 2-story community center. DETROIT (AP) – Dan Gilbert’s ownership presence in downtown Detroit has kept growing, with the addition of a vacant 38-story office tower and adjacent buildings to his stable of properties.Built in two stages, the Book Building (1916) and then the tower (1926) is one of Detroit’s most iconic structures, with high detail high into the sky. We can’t wait to get started.” “The historic Book Tower dates back to 1926 and is visible for miles with its ornate, copper roof, Corinthian columns, carved figures and other intricate details. They were owned by Milan, Italy-based Akno Enterprises, which purchased them in 2006 for $4 million, according to CoStar Group Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based real estate information service.

That’s 13 million square feet of real estate the magnate now owns. “This project is going to be one of the most exciting redevelopments in our entire Detroit real estate portfolio,” Gilbert said in a statement. “We will bring this beautiful, world-class iconic landmark back to life in a manner that will make all Detroiters and visitors proud. Since 2008, the area has been anchored by the completely refurbished Westin Book Cadillac, which sat dark for 25 years before reopening to much fanfare. The Great Recession struck and not much in the way of development happened until the recent reopening of the David Whitney Building and the conversions of the Gabriel Richard Building and Detroit City Apartments. Burgess, Frank and Herbert, real estate entrepreneurs and developers who had a vision to turn Washington Boulevard into a popular and fashionable destination.”

Jim Ketai, managing partner and CEO of Bedrock, said the buildings will contain “a new innovative and unique mix of retail, office and residential tenants.” Jay Lambrecht, whose family owned the Book Tower and Book Building until selling them to Akno in 2006, said his family had a redevelopment plan for the buildings that included razing the community center to make space for a new parking deck with space above it for more office and/or residential space. Lambrecht is also broker/owner of Lambrecht Realty LLC, a Detroit-based real estate company, as well as the Bookie’s Bar & Grill and Fountain Bistro restaurants downtown. So Gilbert could be looking at a $90 million to $100-million cost just in construction work. “The Book Tower is a major missing piece of Detroit’s architectural fabric,” said Amy Elliott Bragg, president of the board at Preservation Detroit. “It’s so big, it’s so tall, it’s been an empty, looming building in Detroit’s skyline for so long.

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