This article was authored by Katie Sutton[Photos by Michelle and Chris Gerard]
Those keeping an eye on Downtown's resurgence know that large pieces of real estate are selling like hot cakes. One of the biggest prizes still up for grabs? The David Stott Building, an office skyscraper located on the southeast corner of Capitol Park. Given its narrow footprint and unique design, this stunning art deco structure is an 84-year-old piece of history just begging for a residential conversion. High-speed elevators, a bar on the 33rd floor, and a prime location in the heart of Downtown make the David Stott 38 floors of pure possibility.
The 38-story red and orange brick Stott Building first opened in June of 1929, miraculously remaining occupied until June 2010. A few months later, Fort Lauderdale native turned Detroit investor Emre Uralli took control after his company, Luke Investments, spent millions buying the building's debt and paying off past utility bills.
Within less than a year, Uralli had opened the deceptively titled "SkyBar Lounge," a surprisingly chic bar and restaurant seated on the Stott's ground floor. Rumors have been flying ever since that there would be a more aptly located counterpart on the 33rd floor; we're now told that after a grueling battle over permits with the city, "Sky Bar 33" is ready for action. The space is available for rentals and will soon be open to the public. The original space on the ground floor is also getting an upgrade, with a second bar and new seating being added in the space adjacent to the Lobby.
While the opening of a bar is always good news, let's get down to brass tacks: what the hell are they going to do with the other 36 floors?
According to Luke Investments member Ryan Snoek, the plan is to sell the Stott while leasing the SkyBar(s) from the future owner. The current asking price is $10,445,000 for the whole kit and caboodle, which comes in at 204,000 square feet.
The Stott's lofted ceilings and centrally located elevators allow for breathtaking 360-degree views of the city, making it a textbook case for a residential conversion. The ornate ceiling in the lobby and the six high-speed elevators are native to the building, though only two of them are presently operating. The levels between Sky lounges are not totally vacant, however, with four companies occupying space on the 28th floor, including a law firm and an IT company. Floors 27-30 are actually fully renovated and ready-to-go office spaces.
According to Snoek, Luke Investments has already fielded a few offers, including one from the uncrowned real estate prince of Detroit, Dan Gilbert. Allegedly, Gilbert's camp made an offer on the Stott that wasn't quite what the owners were hoping for. If Luke Investments is unable to find a suitable buyer, they will likely move forward with their own plans for a mixed-use renovation.
The Stott's location gives it the potential to jumpstart the comeback of neighboring Capitol Park, which is slated for some major redevelopment in the not-so-distant future. Downtown's incredibly high occupancy rates combined with the area's myriad of storefronts and additional investment opportunities indicate that the little triangle in the middle of the Motor City might just be the next big thing in desirable Detroit real estate.
· Fla. investor sees the upside of Detroit real estate [Crain's]
· Detroit buildings: Cheap in 2011 dollars — or 1920s dollars [Crain's]