Midtown Detroit will break ground next week on a three-story, $7 million building at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Willis Street that will house a new Lawrence Technological University design center.
The Southfield-based university will house its new Detroit Center for Design + Technology, which will consolidate three Detroit-based programs of Lawrence Tech’s College of Architecture and Design in 14,000 square feet of the 30,000 square foot building. The groundbreaking is planned for Wednesday.
Relocating into the Woodward and Willis building will be LTU’s Detroit Studio, established by Associate Professor Joongsub Kim in 1999 and provides design support for neighborhood and community-based projects in Detroit, along with urban design studio DetroitSHOP, from the Federal Reserve Building in Detroit, and Studio Couture, a storefront exhibit space on Woodward Avenue.
Amy Deines, associate dean of the College of Architecture and Design and associate director of the new Detroit Center for Design + Technology, and Midtown Detroit Executive Director Sue Mosey said construction should get underway in a few weeks and the university is expected to occupy the building by October.
Other building occupants will include Ann Arbor-based Quinn Evans Architects Inc., the project architect that is expected to relocate a Detroit satellite office, as well as Invest Detroit, which manages $110 million in several investment funds and tax credits, as well as a possible restaurant tenant that is still finalizing negotiations with Midtown Detroit, Deines said.
“Most of the ground floor is actually gallery space for Lawrence Tech, but we are looking at a possible restaurant in one corner,” Mosey said. “This was a vacant piece of property we acquired a number of years ago and we felt it was redeveloped in a way that was consistent with the other uses we were driving to this area.
“With Lawrence Tech being another civic user, that will bring a lot of new energy to the city and fits with the mix of creative development uses we need.”
About $2.3 million toward the $7 million project cost has come through philanthropic contributions to Midtown Detroit, and the rest from a mix of loans and state aid programs such as brownfield tax credits and the commercial revitalization program, Mosey said.
Funders include NCB Capital Impact, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Detroit Development Fund, Detroit-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and developer Peter Cummings.
Troy-based Kresge Foundation provided Lawrence Tech a separate $300,000 grant to support the project and creation of its new Detroit Center. Eastpointe-based Monahan Co., a general contracting company, will be construction manager for the project site.
Deines said Lawrence Tech’s first phase of occupancy next fall comprises the Detroit Center for Design + Technology and other programs, including a K-12 educational outreach program and some research space.
The second phase will add approximately 6,000 square feet for other LTU programming, such as the makeLab, a digital fabrication service space for various design projects.
Source: Crain’s Detroit Buisness