Marketing firm Rebuild Group has been in Detroit since shortly after it was founded. And now the company has its own headquarters in a historic Milwaukee Junction building.
Rebuild purchased the 10,000-square-foot building on East Grand Boulevard in 2016 and has spent the last three years renovating it at a cost of around $2 million.
Built in 1928, the two-story building has an attractive limestone facade with a cornice and columns, giving it the appearance of a bank branch. But according to Rebuild, it was originally a light manufacturing facility before being used for color film production.
For the last 30 years, it sat vacant but largely sealed from the elements. Nonetheless, says Josh Gershonowicz, CEO of Rebuild, “a shag carpet of moss” built up over time.
The company’s name is appropriate for the mount of work the building needed. A pool of nearly three feet of water filled the basement. Every inch of copper had been scrapped. The roof was missing in several sections.
But similar to many concrete and brick industrial buildings constructed in the era, after an extensive cleanup, the new owners found the foundation of the building to be in good shape.
DS Architects lead the redesign and Arik Green did the interior design. The first floor space was cleared out for a commercial tenant; Rebuild says there was soon be an announcement about a restaurant.
The second floor has classic modern office features: open desk space, kitchen (with beer tap), exposed piping and columns, repurposed materials. They’ll also soon add a patio.
Rebuild was located in another office on West Grand Boulevard in New Center, but had been looking for its own place, and eyed Milwaukee Junction as a potential landing spot for the company’s 20 employees. They moved in this May.
The owners like the convenience of having a parking lot, being located near the freeways, and having an accessible location for employees to bike to. But more than that, they see the potential of the neighborhood.
“Milwaukee Junction was the Silicon Valley of its day,” Gershonowicz says. “There’s great bones in the district and we wanted to be part of creating what’s next here.”
That transformation is currently taking place. The Platform is working on a number of projects, including Choma at the Illuminated Mural building and the mixed-use Baltimore Stations. Method Development recently announced $20 million investments across five buildings. Businesses like Kiesling and Clutch & Throttle have opened in recent years.
“There’s a new and fresh community coming together,” says Chief Marketing Officer Steve DeAngelis. “It’s very hard to stand out downtown or in the suburbs—you have to assimilate in other places. Here, you have more of an opportunity to create.”
Rebuild says it’s unlikely to do any development beyond this building. But they’re certainly happy with the one they’ve got.