There is a whopper of an office/industrial building at the corner of Rosa Parks Blvd. and Michigan Ave. in Corktown that has recently been scooped up by new owners intending to change the game for Detroit's retail and creative office space. They're ambitious and they are looking for more buildings as well. Meet Scott Griffin and Angel Gambino. Scott is a New Yorker living in the famed Chelsea Hotel who fell in love with Detroit a year ago and got involved in the redevelopment of the train station; Angel is a native Detroiter. These two have 100,000 square feet of space to play with. So what happens next? Hopefully something great. Corktown-based real estate agent Ryan Cooley has high hopes. He told Curbed that "the building is just so nondescript. What Scott gets is what you can transform it back into. This would be huge for the neighborhood. If he does everything he says he is going to do, it will be the biggest thing to happen in the neighborhood in the ten years that I have been here."
On the walk-through yesterday, it became quickly apparent that this was a building with good industrial bones that had been badly mistreated. Think drop ceilings galore and cheap interior walls that make a labyrinth of depressing, windowless corridors. Fortunately there are already places where the cheap parts have been peeled back to reveal the real potential. Curbed Detroit emailed Angel for details. Here is what she had to say.
C Det: How long will renovations take?
AG: Rosa Parks is currently home to several businesses and a Head Start program who have designed their spaces to their tastes. We are undertaking renovations now and will always continue to evolve the spaces to meet the changing needs of tenants, guests and the community. We are open for new business now and will work with clients to ensure the spaces meet their needs.
C Det: What do you envision the space as?
AG: We intend to evolve the space into a new model for incubation and education primarily catering to the entrepreneurial creative and technology communities.
C Det: How much will you change the exterior of the building? Will it get a new facade?
AG: It's a secret. We believe change needs to be real, transparent and inspiring. Watch this space...