November 19, 2009
Reprinted from Crain’s Detroit Business.
For years, a vacant parcel on Woodward Avenue north of Mack was known only as “the old Vernor’s plant.”
Now, Studio One is known as one of the success stories in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood with the opening last year of a 155,000-square-foot mixed-use development.
Putting the deal together took cooperation by city and state government agencies and a joint venture involving Wayne State University. But getting the project to the goal line was Marcel Burgler, principal with Grand Rapids-based Prime Development Co.
The retail portion of the project will be 100 percent occupied by the first quarter of next year. Among the tenants: national retailer Radio Shack and a Fifth-Third Bank branch. Studio One also is one of the few residential rental projects in Detroit announced and then actually built during the past few years.
Burgler would not disclose the specific number of rented apartments but said the project is successful.
A key to the deal was collaboration. The project is on a land lease from the university, and Burgler’s investment in the building was met with WSU’s investment for a parking structure. Burgler has been a big believer in Detroit.
“We did some deals with Ferris State University in Big Rapids, and my partners and I started asking each other, “Where else can we go?’ “ Burgler said last year. “Detroit has been vastly underserved.”