Transforming District Detroit

The former Detroit Life Building, a 10-story historic office building built in 1922, would be transformed into 32,000 square feet of office space and 6,000 square feet of street-level retail space just north of Columbia Street. Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group has been selected to design this $17 million renovation. Image courtesy of Olympia Developments.

The former Detroit Life Building, a 10-story historic office building built in 1922, would be transformed into 32,000 square feet of office space and 6,000 square feet of street-level retail space just north of Columbia Street. Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group has been selected to design this $17 million renovation.
Image courtesy of Olympia Developments.

(DETROIT, MI) – Six major projects are set to launch as part of phase two development in District Detroit. All six projects are part of a nearly $200 million investment by Olympia Develoment, an arm of Ilitch Holdings.

The venture is evenly split between the restoration of three historic buildings and the construction of three mixed-use buildings, for a total of 500,000 sq ft of office space and street level retail. Officials say that hundreds of jobs will be created as a result of moving forward with the project.

“We are enthusiastically building on the incredible success of Little Caesars Arena and the upcoming opening of the new Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion, the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University, and the launch of the Columbia Street shopping and dining destination,” said Christopher Ilitch, the president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings.

This investment will connect Detroit’s thriving central business district to nearby neighborhoods. Development in District Detroit, featuring Little Caesars Arena, has already created more than 20,000 construction and construction-related jobs and more than 3,000 permanent jobs after the opening of Little Caesars Arena.

Renovation will take place at 2210 Park Avenue, the former 10-storey Detroit Life Building, the former Detroit Creamery building at 1922 Cass Avenue, a six-storey Albert Kahn-designed building, and the six-storey Women’s City Club at 2110 Park Avenue. Olympia Development will seek federal, state, and local incentives to make the restoration economically viable.

New construction will take place at 2715 Woodward Avenue, 111 Henry Street, and 120 Henry Street. The latter two addresses were slated to become residential developments, but are now tabled as mixed-use office, retail, and parking developments.

“This new investment puts the focus on the redevelopment of historic buildings while bringing high-demand retail and office space that will contribute to Detroit’s economy,” said Ilitch.

Detroit-based Olympia Developments is also considering work on the Blenheim Building at 2218 Park Avenue to include residential units over street level retail space. As well, a number of existing surface parking lots could be developed into additional hotel and entertainment facilities.

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Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.