Post Number: 207
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 2:25 pm: || |
The city has issued a Request for Proposal for the GAr Building. Local and regional tourist destination honoring its past as a Civil War monument. Does this mean Olympia Development gave it back ?
Post Number: 1635
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 3:08 pm: || |
I smell politics
Post Number: 1536
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 3:09 pm: || |
The City of Detroit, through its Planning and Development Department (PDD) is seeking Request for Proposals (RFP) to return the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R) Building, located at 1942 Grand River, Detroit, Michigan 48226, to its prominence as a local and regional destination. The mere mention of the G.A.R. captures the hearts and imagination of Detroit citizens for over a century, whose purpose was to strengthen the fellowship of men who fought to preserve the Union, to honor those killed in the Civil War while providing care for their dependents, and to uphold the constitution.
The successful proposal will recognize the importance of this historic structure as an economic catalyst and regional anchor in the heart of the City of Detroit. Any proposal development should be uniquely suited to the community's aesthetic and economic well-being of the City. As the building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and a locally designated historic district, the G.A.R. Building qualifies for Federal and State income tax credits on the costs of rehabilitation. Review and approval of all rehabilitation work to the G.A.R. Building shall be conducted by the City of Detroit Historic District Commission to obtain such tax credits.
A CONSENT JUDGEMENT was issued for the G.A.R. Building that shall be honored in this Request for Proposals. It would be required for the potentially successful bidder to preserve the architectural and artistic significance of the G.A.R. Building through observance of the requirements of Chapter 25 of the "1984 City Code." This may involve coordination with other public and non-profit entities. Proposals that are best able to compliment and enhance the community at-large and tap into the spirit of historic revitalization will be seriously considered. Property to be sold "AS IS" The City of Detroit makes no warranty or representation regarding the structural or environmental condition of the property offered for sale.
RFP Packets are available for pickup at the Planning and Development Department, Welcome Center, 65 Cadillac Square, 2nd floor, Detroit, Michigan 48226 beginning March 19, 2008 between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 12:00 noon, March 25, 2008, a walk-through of the G.A.R. Building will commence for all representatives who have signed-up and received the RFP package. News media and historical organization representatives with proper identification are also invited. A consent form allowing access shall be required. It is highly recommended that attendees entering the building wear a respirator due to the poor interior air quality, and provide their own flashlight for safety. Parts of the building may be unstable. All proposals must be submitted anytime prior to 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 15, 2008: City of Detroit, Planning and Development Department, Welcome Center, 65 Cadillac Square, 2nd Floor, Detroit, Michigan 48226. Attention: G.A.R. Building RFP-Response. Request for Proposal Statements received after the 3:00 P.M. deadline on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 will not be considered. The full responsibility for timely submission of proposals rests with the applicants. The deadline is firm. No extensions will be granted and no excuses will be accepted. Notice of non-Discrimination: The City of Detroit does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, age, handicap, sex or sexual orientation. Complaints may be filed with the Detroit Human Rights Department, 1026 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Detroit, Michigan 48226. For further information, contact: City of Detroit, Planning and Development Department ATTN: G.A.R. Building RFP Response, Welcome Center, 65 Cadillac Square, 2nd Floor, Detroit, Michigan 48226. For further information call: Alexander Pollock AIA/AICP (313) 224-1325, fax (313) 628-2054 email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Welcome Center - phone number: (313) 628-0199.
(Message edited by viziondetroit on March 25, 2008)
Post Number: 254
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 3:17 pm: || |
Too costly to renovate--slowing economy?
Post Number: 284
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 3:18 pm: || |
Billk, the RFP doesn't say anything about making the property a tourist destination. Really the only thing you have to do (other than actively develop it) is maintain the building's architectural integrity. Maybe I misread your post.
April 15 deadline, eh? It'd be interesting to see what parties come to the table and make a proposal; who's going to have the financing potential for the project?
Post Number: 945
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 3:34 pm: || |
The short turn-around on the RFP (a tad over two weeks) suggests that the City already has a proposal in mind.
That is a very short turn-around to do anything other than a cursory inspection of the property and a slap-dash proposal. Few folks are going to be able to come up with financing on such short notice for such a questionable site.
They also don't mention any restrictions on what the property can't be. I thought the deed restrictions said that the building could only be used as either a clubhouse for the Grand Army of the Republic auxilary or as city offices. I remember there was some sort of court hearing about those restrictions, but can't recall the outcome.
Post Number: 1053
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 3:40 pm: || |
I read most of the pleadings in the lawsuit and the Settlement Agreement between the City and the plaintiffs (Daughters of the Am. Revolution and successors to the G.A R.)
My conclusion at the time: No one will ever develop the building because of the restrictions. Hope I'm wrong, but it doesn't look great. It may sit there forever in its present condition.
Post Number: 4058
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 3:41 pm: || |
As the building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and a locally designated historic district, the G.A.R. Building qualifies for Federal and State income tax credits on the costs of rehabilitation. Review and approval of all rehabilitation work to the G.A.R. Building shall be conducted by the City of Detroit Historic District Commission to obtain such tax credits.
Ah, that explains it. Ilitch wasn't able to get public money to tear it down because it's protected.
Post Number: 5554
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 3:43 pm: || |
There were so many complaints last time around about the process -- is this just going to the Ilitch empire again
Post Number: 531
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 3:57 pm: || |
Didn't stop him from tearing down other Historic Buildings...he's the reason the entire city was put on Endangered Structures lists.
Post Number: 11959
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 3:58 pm: || |
EVERY land deal the city makes during this bozo's tenure needs to be analyzed closely, especially for the balance of his term.
We'll need to go BACK a few years, too...look especially at how some mega-churches got their land...and anything copped by any Friends and Relatives of Kwame and McNamara.
Shit's going to run deep, but THIS property should NOT be fast-tracked anywhere.
Post Number: 310
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 4:03 pm: || |
That building would make a great parking lot.
Post Number: 6563
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 4:06 pm: || |
Ha Ha Ha... Ilitch knew it was protected before he even got the option on it over a year ago. And tear it down for what? Anyone who has ACTUALLY visited the site knows that there's room for what... perhaps a 10 car parking lot on that tiny triangular site.
He probably didn't think it was worth fixing up as office or entertainment space for such a small footprint of a building.
Post Number: 379
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 4:10 pm: || |
That building would make a great parking lot.
Considering that it's been derelict, crumbling and a eyesore for almost as long as it served any useful purpose, yes; it should be a parking lot.
There is a difference between preservation and living in denial.
(Message edited by higgs1634 on March 25, 2008)
Post Number: 1121
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 4:13 pm: || |
The building is actually not in that bad of shape.
Post Number: 603
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 4:14 pm: || |
Does that suggest that it won't abut a new hockey arena?
I assumed that the only reason Ilitch wanted the property was it would abut a possible hockey arena.
Post Number: 2410
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 6:45 pm: || |
"The short turn-around on the RFP (a tad over two weeks) suggests that the City already has a proposal in mind."
Agreed. The city is likely sending out an RFP, as they have to be law give anyone a chance who wants to submit a proposal. The short time period is likely to limit those submitting a proposal to superficial ones whereby the city can eliminate those contenders and go with whomever they were planning to all along, no?
Post Number: 11967
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 7:04 pm: || |
Like I said...a moratorium needs be placed on EVERY land deal the mayor has had his grubby paws upon...NO MORE GIVING OUR CITY TO YOUR BUDDIES, KWAME!
Post Number: 717
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 7:05 pm: || |
"EVERY land deal the city makes during this bozo's tenure needs to be analyzed closely, especially for the balance of his term.
We'll need to go BACK a few years, too...look especially at how some mega-churches got their land...and anything copped by any Friends and Relatives of Kwame and McNamara. "
I hope the sell off of Detroit's camp in Brighton is revisited.
Post Number: 11968
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 7:06 pm: || |
We'll get a historic golf course back, too.
Post Number: 1067
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 7:48 pm: || |
3dworld, please elaborate. Did the Ilitch development agreement pre-date or come after the Consent Judgment? What does the Consent Judgment require? Does it perhaps only require this latest RFP effort, which, if unsuccessful, might thereafter open up the building to uses not burdened by the use restrictions of the GAR group?
Post Number: 1055
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 7:58 pm: || |
Nainrouge: "The building is actually not in that bad of shape."
Besides using lousy grammar, you're wrong again. I and three friends tried to buy the building from the City in the '80's. We inspected the building from the roof down. It was in lousy shape then and it sure hasn't gotten any better. There is virtually no reasonable economic use into which it can be developed profitably in my opinion, but I'm sure with your experience you'll come up with a plan. Backed up with your money of course.
Perhaps you could come up with a plan to put a wind turbine on the roof.
Post Number: 1636
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 8:12 pm: || |
Didn't they say the same thing about the old Rouge Steel plant before Sverstal took it over?
Post Number: 1979
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 8:19 pm: || |
My vision for the GAR:
Preservation Wayne and the American Institute of Architects (Michigan or Detroit Chapter) get together and use the building to promote the architectural history of Detroit as a cultural treasure and a tourism driver.
AIA Michigan currently has offices in E Jefferson across from the 500 and 600 towers of the RenCen. Preservation Wayne has offices on Cass between Forest and Hancock. The two organizations would be able to share some upper floor office space, rent out some ground floor retail space, and use some ground floor (and maybe 2nd floor as well) space to house information and exhibits on Detroit architecture.
Preservation Wayne currently hosts successful tours, and having a solid home base downtown can only help these tours flourish in the future. A central location may allow the organization's tours happen more regularly and be self-sustaining. It may in the future operate like the tours in Chicago:
The two organizations are unlikely to fully occupy the upper 3 (4 if you count the attic) floors with office and gallery space, so the remainder can be rented out as offices or apartments. I estimate that the building footprint is between 2000 and 2500 s.f. (For a total of between 12,000 and 15,000, including a basement.)
Each floor has room for 2-3 housing units or a niche small scale office space. The offices would fill a similar niche to the Parker-Webb that the Kramer Design Group recently outgrew.
Post Number: 1056
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 8:21 pm: || |
Swingline: When we tried to buy the building in the mid-80's we were told by the City it was already sold to a local architect by land contract. We determined that the land contract had been in default for 2 or 3 years but that the City had taken no steps to obtain payment or to terminate the land contract.
We made a sincere effort to bring the architect into a deal, with a carried interest, but he was impossible to deal with. Wouldn't even listen. Rather than bring the deal to the attention of the Council in an attempt to get them to foreclose the land contract and put it on the market, we said to hell with it. Life's too short and even at that time it would have been a marginal deal.
Ilitch subsequently announced the construction of the new stadium. The architect ended up on the stadium "design team" and apparently relinquished his interest in the building.
In the '90's Council made a deal with Ilitch and agreed to convey the GAR Building and the Tuller site to one of his companies for $33 a sq. ft. A deed was prepared but apparently never recorded because of the title problem caused by the then existing deed restrictions, the survivors of the members of the G. A. of the R. I can't remember who sued whom in Federal Court to either eliminate or enforce the deed and other restrictions. They virtually prevented redevelopment of the building. The City settled the case but I don't recall all of the terms. I'll try o find the settlement agreement to get the details but I do recall that it restricted the uses to which the building can be used and it required that the ground floor had to included a permanent memorial to the civil war vets.
Post Number: 645
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 8:39 pm: || |
$5 says it's as good as a parking lot... either there is a gimme deal in line, or knowing what 3WC knows, they know no one will pick it up and use it as leverage to tear it down for another reason. Structurally unsound or public danger or something.
Look, you guys can scream law this and protection this, but this administration has proved that it doesn't care... and unfortunately, after the wrecking ball arrives, it's really hard to do anything about it.
There won't be that much support in the general city populous for saving it... to most folks who drive by, it's a sad piece of blight that's better torn down.
I think it's an awesome looking building, and I'd love to see it saved, but in order for these forum pontifications to become reality the preservation community needs to start raising money itself to make deals happen or it will continue to be regarded by the people in charge as "a group of whiny, broke outsiders in the way of progress" (that's how it was directly described to me).
Go get a foundation or endowment or investors or something, and do it yourself. I don't mean that in a mean-spirited way at all. Go get yourself a piece of the future.
Post Number: 1999
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 9:13 pm: || |
I recall reading that one of the deed restrictions on the GAR, was that it had to have a market on the ground floor. Don't know why I remember that, perhaps because it struck me as being a strange stipulation.
Post Number: 109
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 9:38 pm: || |
Perhaps someone should search for the thread regarding this the last time it went out for bid - it was extremely detailed with copies of the settlement posted for all to read.
Regardless, I spoke with someone who was on the city's selection team the last time around, and, surprisingly, she said it was an honest process and that Ilitch was not a shoe-in at the time. She did feel extremely frustrated, however, because she felt there were bids that were much better than the Ilitch bid, but that Atanas came in and wowed everybody into selecting the Ilitch organization. She said that her colleagues were simply in awe of the Ilitches.
I have no idea why the Ilitch organization let it pass, but the best thing that could happen is to have one of the two other very good and creative proposals be resubmitted, and one of them selected. One sticks out in my mind and being very interesting. Hopefully they can still get the financing and are willing to try again, but I can completely understand a 3rdworldcity point of view, too - life's too short and they may have moved on to something else. Why bother with a city that stacks the odds against most bidders at the start.
Post Number: 2000
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 9:46 pm: || |
The thread with all the info is in the HOF section:
https://www.atdetroit.net/forum/mes sages/6790/78608.html?11606989 65
Post Number: 1070
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 9:58 pm: || |
3rdworld, thanks for the info. I seem to recall some events that happened more recently though. For example, the most recent announcement of an Ilitch development agreement came about 1.5 or 2 years ago. Didn't the Ilitch announcement occur after the publicity about the lawsuit by that "Daughters" group over the GAR deed restrictions? The implication from all of this was that the lawsuit was resolved and things had opened up to sell the building to Ilitch. So, one still wonders what has happened to the Ilitch development agreement or purchase agreement or whatever it was that they entered into with the city.
I agree though that the building is a tough redevelopment candidate. The goofy floorplates, lack of dedicated parking, and projected expense of a total gut rehabilitation are huge obstacles. It seems like it only has utility as a single tenant building for a small firm of some sort looking for an iconic home. Not many such groups around that can afford anything more than standard office lease costs. Ilitch would be a great fit if they could make it work.
Post Number: 1059
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 10:34 pm: || |
Swingline: You're correct as I recall. The Ilitchs "reacquired" control of the property after the City settled the lawsuit.
It's a very interesting building. It's not in the same class as the Charfoos building (Smiley mansion?) on Woodward, which is much larger and has parking, but it would be a niche signature building for the right user. We intended to convert it to lofts which would have been one of the first ones in the City.
Post Number: 604
|Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 5:13 pm: || |
I think I remember the same as Swingline and 3rdWC.
I'm trying to determine if anyone has any idea if Ilitch originally 'reacquire' the property with the notion that he hoped to build an arena near it.
Otherwise why would he be interested?
Ilitch doesn't buy property for no purpose.
It wouldn't even make a good parking lot ;-) even if he was free to demo it.
Post Number: 6569
|Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 5:19 pm: || |
For those 10 or so parking spots (a small triangle does not make for a good parking lot), it wouldn't be worth the expense of tearing the building down. And who's going to hire someone to manage 10 parking spots?
Post Number: 605
|Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 5:52 pm: || |
Exactly. Anyone suggesting that Ilitch bought it for some nefarious purposes (e.g., parking) are putting up a straw man.
I'll go back to the point I've been trying to make:
The only reason, I think, Ilitch would want that property is that it would be adjacent to a new arena.
If Ilitch builds north of the freeway or stays at the Joe, then he would/should walk away from the GAR.
What vested interest would he have for that property????
P.S. unless Ilitch builds behind the Fox or north of the freeway, anyone want to buy some buildable surface parking lots. ;-)
Ilitch would be a 'seller' not a 'buyer'.
(Message edited by emu steve on March 26, 2008)
(Message edited by emu steve on March 26, 2008)
Post Number: 1440
|Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 9:24 am: || |
oh c'mon guys, think about it a little harder than that. it's cheaper to tear the building down than to renovate it, mothball it, secure it, etc. and parking would generate revenue every night instead of costing money every day. plus, ilitch would then have control of adjacent properties to a new arena, ergo control of would-be competition. [don't get me wrong though; i am not advocating demolition of this building.] i mean really, take a look at the wolverine hotel, the gem, and the ywca. how many parking spots did those lots provide? you should really look past the "saint ilitch" title and think like a business person to get a better view of reality.
Post Number: 132
|Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 9:40 am: || |
Yeah, parking lot is better. I'm sure someone will be clamouring for the $30,000/per year in parking fees they could collect on that property. Ilitch must be crazy.
If you tear it down, it would be better served as a patch of grass.
Post Number: 606
|Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 1:48 pm: || |
Let me ask the question again that Billk asked to start this thread (Did Olympia development give the property back to the city?).
Why would Ilitch even re-bid on it?
Doubt it is a good investment.
Did Ilitch quietly ask out of the proposal or fail to meet some performance requirement?
(Message edited by emu steve on March 27, 2008)
Post Number: 5577
|Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 1:59 pm: || |
The building CAN NOT BE torn down. that is stipulated in the documents, so forget it
Post Number: 133
|Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 3:27 pm: || |
The only stipulations I can remember for the eventual winner (Ilitch) was that they had to have an actual plan and the money to execute it. The purchase price was a mere $220,000, if I recall.
These were the bidders last time in November of 2006 (and my comments at the time on each): (sorry, I can't format anything on this forum)
- The Ilitch family – Plans include self promotional style museum on first floor, offices on all other floors, left vacant and unused for next 20 years. Hate it.
- Gabriel Scruggs and Robert Allen – Camelot Nightclub (do I need to go on?) Oxygen bar, hookah pipe hipster-yuppie shit-hole, and other trendy crappy fads that will have faded long before the renovations are even finished. On the plus side: Winner of the first annual “Gayest Idea Ever” award. Camelot? Puh-leez!
- Qualia Media – Retail area main floor, TV production, sound production and theatre on remaining floors. Studio time available to the public at large. Would have been a not-so-bad choice had it not been for the “Oh, and yeah, we’ll make $800,000 a year in revenue by wrapping the building in advertisements.” This to me sounds roughly on par with wrapping a naked Jessica Alba in dog shit. Doesn’t even sound good “on paper”.
- CS Vesco – A bed and breakfast. Because nothing scream quaint B&B getaway quite like a building surrounded entirely by concrete, noisy roads, and homeless people. Nice idea, wrong location. By about 100 miles.
- Fieldstone Properties – Offices for Mindfield Productions, a local media company. Con: Simple. In my mind, this should be a public building, rather than private offices.
- GAR Development – Top three floors turned into apartments, bottom floor retail. Yes, we like. It’s simple, the character and history of the original structure is retained, and even though we don’t get to own the building, we’ll get to live in it.
Post Number: 657
|Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 3:36 pm: || |
Provisions, smovisions. Hasn't stopped demos in the past, even if they exist. There are always loopholes.
Post Number: 1442
|Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 4:35 pm: || |
heh; right digitalvision. like the provision that the ilitch's prove that the madison lenox was structurally deficient before they tore it down (by an outside party).
my understanding of what happened is that the city rescinded the purchase oder of the building. basically, they took it back. the city council decided that the asking price the ilitch's agreed to was too little. what i suspect happened is that the council bumped up the purchase price of the building, the ilitch's could not make it work, so they let their option run out.