When any company looks at Detroit for development, one of the first questions it has is whether this is a city with life. With a pulse. With a flow of people, traffic and shoppers that merits an investment.
The answer for Bedrock Detroit is a resounding “yes.” Yes, Detroit has something James Witherspoon calls vibrancy – a population that is strong and resonating. A commuter group that cares about the city’s development. A fan base that is easily defined as full of enthusiasm and energy.
That is one reason why Witherspoon and the rest of Bedrock is excited about its latest project known as 28Grand. 28Grand is a mixed-used, mixed-income 13-story residential development at the corner of West Grand River Avenue and Griswold Street in downtown Detroit.
When completed, 28 W. Grand River Avenue will have 85 apartments and 133 market-rate apartments for a total of 218 furnished microlofts. Those 85 apartments are for residents who qualify for low-income housing tax credits from the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority.
The media, Bedrock and Quicken Loans employees and curious passersby got a tour of the project this week. The goal is to have leasing on these “tiny apartments” ready to go by February 2017. Lease details, such a pricing, will be released around then, officials said. Apartments will be ready by summer 2017.
Its Capitol Park location is ideal, putting its residents in the heart of downtown, its retailer and its employers. The Central Business District is hopping now, and 28Grand is the largest ground-up, mixed-use residential development there since the 1980s, Bedrock said.
The features in these units will be plentiful: Rocket Fiber high-speed internet, largest windows with a view of Capitol Park, huge community spaces, an outdoor terrace with seating and grills as well as a fitness center. Furnished units come with a bed, table and chair (soft goods such a bedding, pillows and the like are the tenant’s responsibility).
The media tour highlighted what the microlofts will look like when finished. At 260 square feet, they are indeed tiny. But all of your basic needs are there: A full bed, a large 10-foot long cushioned window seat, a kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, double-burner cook top and sizable microwave.
Maybe some of you might be clutching your throat at the idea of living in such a small space. After all, some hotel rooms are larger than 260 square feet. But I gotta say: I felt perfectly at ease in the space. The ceilings are high, so you have room for tall people and tons of storage above cabinets and the like. The windows bring in plenty of light, and the large window seat could be used as extra storage under as well as a sleeping space on top (great napping, natch).
The whole vibe works for people like me who love to nest. The white cabinets are clean, simple, modern. The table feels very Mid-Century Modern. The bathroom is sleek yet simple with upscale subway tile and fixtures. All in all, a single person or the right kind of couple could fit in here very nicely and likely enjoy their life in Detroit to its fullest potential.
The community spaces also will allow residents, commuters who are looking for a crash pad or others living there a space to hang out with others, a spot to have dinner parties or any other kind of gathering you can imagine, said Witherspoon, the project architect, and Steve Rosenthal, Bedrock Principal.
How did such a development come about? Detroit needed more residential space, plain and simple. The downtown allows for higher buildings with higher density; Brush Park’s Bedrock development is more low rise and will have different feel, Witherspoon and Rosenthal noted. And the timing is impeccable; microlofts are popular in other larger cities, and Detroit’s time to move into large city category is well established.
Project developers include Bedrock, Kraemer Design Group, Michigan State Housing and Development Authority as well as Walbridge. The 4,500-square-foot retail space on the ground floor will have a restaurant concept from Marc Bogoff and Eli Boyer as well as other tenants to be announced soon.
All in all, it’s amazing to see the residential development moving quickly into Detroit’s core, giving people more options than ever to live in Detroit. The level of construction and commitment to the city makes me think we are at the top of the tipping point or even on the other side. And that, my friends, bodes well for all of us as a region.