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The Guardian Building’s ‘footstool’ is finally getting redeveloped

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A Capital One Café will open at 511 Woodward after a $10 million renovation

A long, four-story glass building with a metal frame.
Rendering of 511 Woodward Avenue.
Yamasaki Inc.

For years, there’s been speculation about what would happen to the long-vacant building at 511 Woodward Avenue. Now, there’s a clear plan, and construction may start very soon.

Crain’s Detroit Business reports that the Elia Group, based in Birmingham, closed this week on a $4.65 million purchase from Wayne County of the building, sometimes called the “footstool” of the Guardian Building.

Zaid Elia, founder and CEO of The Elia Group, told Crain’s that construction will begin “immediately” to redo the exterior and making it suitable for tenants.

The nearly 30,000-square-foot, four-story building has been vacant for over 20 years, and Elia expects the project will end up costing around $10 million. Renderings of the exterior—done by architect Yamasaki Inc.—show an overhaul of the mostly glass facade and addition of a metal cross-hatch frame. A ground-floor seating area connects to Spirit Plaza and the esplanade on Woodward.

The developers have also already lined up a tenant. Capital One Café—a coffee shop, workspace, and bank branch—will occupy 7,000 square feet and two floors. Capital One will spend an estimated $1 million on the build out, resulting in the bank’s first branch in Detroit.

Woodward Avenue

Woodward Avenue, , MI