Business, City Transformation, Small Business

One of Detroit’s longtime restoration firms says it is setting up shop in the city

Grand Park

For years now, ASTI Environmental has been working in Detroit, contributing to the city’s turnaround through its clients and their projects. Now, the company is doing what many businesses are doing when they realize how quickly Detroit has become recharged – they’re investing in a piece of it for themselves.

logoThis week, the environmental consulting firm announced it is expanding by opening an office in the former Stroh Brewing Company headquarters, now known as the Grand Park Centre building. The Detroit office will be the new home of its real estate incentives and Brownfield redevelopment group, specializing in urban restoration.

It is appropriate that ASTI is setting up shop in the Stroh location – it completed its first Brownfield project there nearly 30 years ago. It’s been a long and fruitful business partnership as ASTI started working in Detroit around 1985 with its initial project in the Crystal Mines. Some of its other notable projects include the Wurlitzer restoration, the Foundation Hotel redevelopment and the former Carpenters Union building. To date, ASTI has completed more than 1,500 projects in the city.

Also known as the Michigan Mutual building, this historic 19-story building was designed by Frederick P. Dinkelberg and originally constructed in 1922 as headquarters for the Stroh Brewery Company.  The eye-catching gold leaf entryway is steps from Comerica Park and directly across from Grand Circus Park.  Acquired in 2013 by ASTI Environmental client Princeton Enterprises LLC,  we are joining co-tenants Giffels Webster Engineers, Jaffe, Raitt Heuer & Weiss PC, Painia Development Company, The Social U, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Advanced Building Group, Thomas Group Consulting  and Bank of America.

ASTI President Tom Wackerman described the move as coming at the right time for his company. But he also noted that ASTI truly wanted to be a part of Detroit’s revitalization in every possible way. The Detroit site is the third office in Michigan for ASTI Environmental; its other location in its addition to its Brighton headquarters is in Grand Rapids.

Wackerman“With our history in the City of Detroit since 1985, it’s high time that we hang a shingle there,” Wackerman said. “We have been instrumental in so many redevelopment projects in the city and we see a great future for Detroit as it redefines what it means to be an American city.  I couldn’t be more pleased to be in the middle of one of the Nation’s best urban comeback stories.”

Wackerman said he believes Detroit’s current burst of energy is going to keep its redevelopment and investment going long term.

“This revitalization is different than previous bursts. It is occurring on multiple levels and has multiple drivers, so is much more sustainable,” Wackerman said. “With the bankruptcy behind us, the change in city council representation, the new private investments, and the strength of the five key neighborhoods, the city is ready for growth.”

Wackerman also said ASTI plans on becoming involved in other efforts to build Detroit, including volunteer opportunities as they arise.

“We want to work with groups that are supporting neighborhood redevelopment and historic restoration. There are loads of volunteer opportunities there for both our Detroit and Brighton staffs,” Wackerman said. “We think that Detroit has an opportunity to redefine what an American city is.”

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