The expansion of the Lofts at Merchants Row continues apace this week as the project's architects, Kraemer Design Group, begin restoring the building's facade. This April, work began on a 42-loft expansion projected to cost $10 million and to take a year to complete. The building made its debut on Woodward Ave in 1896 as the HQ of the L.N. Valpey & Co Reliable Footwear and was designed by prominent Detroit firm Donaldson and Meier. No word yet on Kraemer's plan for the building's missing balustrades, but the change in color from rusty brown to a clean, sleek white-grey is the kind of change you can believe in…because it's so easy to see.
The loft project is the work of Schostak Bros. & Co., who bought the building in 2014 for $500K, according to Crain's. The plan calls for the added lofts as well as 5,000 square feet of new retail space, both of which will be part of the Lofts of Merchants Row. The Livonia-based company won approval for the project from the Downtown Development Authority, who also sold the building to Schostak.
Funding for the project comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, brownfield tax credits, historic tax credits and private funds, according to Schostak. Rock Ventures, the umbrella corporation controlling all of Dan Gilbert's companies, has the master lease for all 12 Woodward storefronts on the ground floor of the Lofts at Merchants Row, making it likely that the company stands to gain control of the retail space in the newly-revamped Valpey once renovations are complete. For now, passersby can watch the 119-year-old structure go from brown to white, seemingly overnight. Those are pictures worth at least 1000 words, and a nearly metaphysical comment on the state of real estate development downtown.
·Loft apartments, retail coming to Pepper Shoe Building downtown [Crain's Detroit Business]
·Saving the Vacant Valpey Building Will Take an Entire Year [Curbed Detroit]
·Valpey Building Becoming Lofts, $10M Renovation In Store [Curbed Detroit]