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Take Your Statistics and Shove Them! Detroit Real Estate Still Meh

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This post authored by Nicole Rupersburg of Eat It Detroit.


For every story that's all sunshine and puppies, there's another that's all doom and gloom. The Free Press reminds us today that despite all of the perceived growth in Detroit's downtown and Midtown districts, the city is still a long way away from what real estate analysts would call "healthy."

Oh sure, the M@dison Building and the Chase building are at 100% capacity and the Dime Building and the First National Building are each projected to be nearly full very soon (85% and 90%, respectively). The Broderick Tower is at least 50% leased (and doesn't even open until September), and the David Whitney Building will even have a boo-teek hotel. And surely, surely with all of Midtown being at an alleged and whopping 96% occupancy SURELY that means ... something? Or. Er. Not so much apparently.

First of all, that 96% figure applies solely to rental units. So that means all those fantab loft and condo developments that developers were hoping to sell are still sitting pretty empty, such as Willy's Overland Lofts, which the DeMattia Group began developing in 2008 (yep ... right before) and in four years has sold only 17 of 77 units. (But in marked contrast to some other stalled developments, at least DeMattia went all in instead of folding ... historic buildings aren't the only ones abandoned around here.)

Then there's the less-than desirable hotel market. The Free Press notes, "Chuck Skelton, president of Ann Arbor-based Hospitality Advisors, suggested the Detroit hotel market is splitting between upscale newer inns doing well and tired older properties that drag down the performance data."Detroit may be projected to have the strongest gains in hotel occupancy in 2012, but for every Westin Book Cadillac there's a Leland.

Adding insult to injury, there are also HUD foreclosures and HUD loan delinquencies to factor in, which include the Lafayette Towers, and, unfortunately, the Westin Book Cadillac.

It's easy to look at all the pretty shiny things that we like and hold them up as proof positive that Detroit is SAVED. And, like anything else, statistics are meant to be interpreted. But at the heart of this story (and we love when stories have heart!) is a little bit of buck up buttercup, we're getting there: we may not be out of the black yet, but there is an undoubtable forward momentum, and any kind of forward progress is better than no progress at all.

· Downtown, Midtown Detroit developments are in transition [Freep]
· Detroit leads the way as hotel industry rebounds [USA Today Travel]
· Detroit apartment buildings fill; renters' age falls: Incentives, biz moves drive surge [Crain's Detroit]

Willys Overland Lofts

444 W Willis St., Detroit, MI 48201