Detroit Monopoly master Dan Gilbert has struck again! His latest acquisition is the Albert Kahn-designed Vinton Building, located just south of the First National Building (which he also owns). Built in 1916, the Vinton gained a reputation last year as one of downtown Detroit's most dangerous buildings after dropping a fair amount of brick onto Congress Street. The crumbling facade resulted in the city citing the owners for a total of 127 violations by April of 2012. It's unclear whether or not the Vinton has seen repairs since then, but we're sure Dan Gilbert wouldn't mind paying for some work on this one. Featuring Woodward Avenue retail frontage on the bottom and residential space above, the Vinton is exactly what Gilbert is shopping for.
The Vinton's first two floors are designed for commercial space, while the ten floors above were supposedly meant to be residential, but were the target of a failed residential conversion a few years back that eventually fizzled out. Bagging the Vinton adds 44,000 square feet to Gilbert's total. Interestingly, wikipedia suggests one of the basement levels is currently or was once meant to be a parking area.
Like his Greektown purchase earlier this year, Gilbert again used Bedrock co-manager Jim Ketai as a straw buyer to purchase the Vinton last December, keeping the transaction off the media's radar. Is Gilbert's secrecy indicative that he has some other unknown acquisitions in the area? We may very well find out this Thursday, when Gilbert is set to discuss Woodward Avenue retail strategy at the City Theatre with some major Downtown players.
· Gilbert buys Vinton Building on Woodward Avenue [Crain's]
· Downtown Detroit's 7 most dangerous buildings [ABC]
· Lots of progress made at Vinton Building; move-in expected early 2007 [Model D]