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Detroit complex opens up to development proposals

As Detroit's industrial real estate market continues to attract investors, more and more properties are coming to the forefront. According to reports, the city's Planning and Development Department is now asking for proposals from developers for the old Herman-Kiefer Health Complex that has been empty since October 2013.

The 526,000-square-foot facility is situated on a sprawling 18-acre site near the Clairmount exit off of the John Lodge Freeway. The site is comprised of eight buildings, including several structures designed by George Mason and a main building designed by Albert Kahn. The buildings are mostly brick, and the major selling point appears to be the site's location, according to documents. The buildings are within easy access of the Henry Ford Health System campus and the New Center Area. It is also close to the Virginia Park, Boston-Edison and LaSalle Gardens neighborhoods.

Because the site is technically within one of the city's designated historic districts, the Historic District Commission must give its approval before any buildings on the site can be torn down. The site was the previous residence of Detroit's Vital Records division and the Department of Health and Wellness Promotion. April 18 is the deadline for submissions for development proposals.

The fact that this particular site is part of the historic district may be both a positive and negative for interested developers. If the buildings are in good repair, the historical significance of the area may up the value and residents' interest, but having to go through channels to demolish the building if needed takes additional time and resources. Understanding exactly what stipulations come with the purchase or development of a commercial property is essential for investors to get a good return.

Source: mlive, "Detroit seeks development proposals for sprawling, empty health complex" David Muller, Mar. 21, 2014

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