“We intend to completely modify the glass, change the entire façade of the building, make it more modern, approachable, exciting and unique in the sense that it’s the only building that’s not a high rise in that area and that gives us the unique opportunity to stand out,” Elia said.
The potential buy is part of Elia’s strategy to invest in “landmark” locations in Detroit. He bought the Mercier Building on Fort Street, which houses the Anchor Bar. Elia also owns the Ford Building downtown, and the restaurants Fountain Detroit and Parc in Campus Martius Park with developer partner Matthew Shiffman and 220 Merrill in Birmingham.
He hasn’t yet signed on an architect or general contractor for the incoming project. Other redevelopment decisions have yet to be made — whether Elia Group would expand the building, for example.
Either a retail tenant or a restaurant operated by Elia’s Iconic Collection brand would take a spot on the ground floor next to the welcome center, he said. He would place office tenants in the three upper floors.
DDP CEO Eric Larson said his organization is “committed” to the potential deal that would include moving its operations.
The 40-employee DDP currently resides in 10,000 square feet in the Dan Gilbert-owned One Campus Martius building, formerly the Compuware Building. The DDP subleases from a Compuware spin-off company, not directly from Dan Gilbert’s real estate firm Bedrock LLC, Larson said. The partnership oversees various planning strategies and programs, including the Business Improvement Zone that provides cleaning, safety and lighting services.
He said there’s no firm schedule for moving, as the DDP has around a year left on its sublease term.
“We are very pleased and honored we could potentially do this partnership,” he told Crain’s. The DDP is “continuing to build on its strategy to be closer to the community we serve.”