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$60 million The Boulevard development opens in New Center

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Detroit-based developer The Platform on Thursday celebrated opening a $60 million development it calls the first new residential construction of its size in the New Center neighborhood in three decades.

Detroit-based developer The Platform on Thursday celebrated opening a $60 million development it calls the first new residential construction of its size in the New Center neighborhood in three decades.

Peter Cummings, executive chairman and CEO of The Platform, and Mayor Mike Duggan were among speakers at an event Thursday morning unveiling the 356,000-square-foot development with a mix of 231 apartments. It also has 17,500 square feet of retail, including a Comerica Bank branch that opened Nov. 12 on the development's ground floor, replacing its location in the nearby Fisher Building.

Other tenants in the building at Third Avenue and West Grand Boulevard are Madison Heights-based juice bar and cafe Beyond Juice, which is expected to open this month, and Orangetheory Fitness, which anticipates opening in January.

The apartments are studios, one- and two-bedroom units of 534-1,185 square feet. Twenty percent of the apartments are designated affordable for those making 80 percent of the area median income, and the rest are market rate. Prices range from approximately $900-$2,700.

There are about 7,500 square feet of retail space left to lease, with part of that targeted for a restaurant concept, Benji Rosenzweig said. He and Ben Hubert, both of Colliers International, are the leasing agents.

"It took longer to build than we thought it would and cost more ..." Cummings said in remarks Thursday. It was originally billed as a $54.6 million project.

He added to Crain's afterward: "This was the first major apartment project that we've built in Detroit, and it was a learning experience for us, and I'm quick to acknowledge that. Working with contractors we've never worked with before, bringing young people into the process and training them, so I would say it was a learning experience, but it was a learning experience in an environment with rising costs. ... That's my opening statement, and then my next statement is how proud I am of the finished product. Because I think we offer something here for people who work in this neighborhood."

The project received $2 million in state financing. Lenders included Fifth Third Bank and Invest Detroit.

"In most other places where you create housing like this, you introduce one lender and that's it. In the city of Detroit, you still need these partners. Many more partners to create a project ..." Cummings said.

The Platform is a major player in the Detroit development scene, with nearly 2 million square feet under management as of October.

It has put millions into renovating the Fisher Building, which it bought as part of a portfolio deal with other investors for $12.2 million in 2015, and brought in new tenants. In addition, new tenant WeWork LLC plans to move into a 91,000-square-foot space in its building at 6001 Cass Ave. on Feb. 1. The Platform also acted as developer on the recently opened Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center in New Center.

However, it has hit some troubled times as a condominium project at Cass Avenue and York Street fizzled earlier this year and others have been delayed, including the second phase of Baltimore Station and its Fitzgerald neighborhood effort. A project on the site of a former Big Boy restaurant along Jefferson Avenue has faced hurdles, as well, with construction originally expected to start in late 2018. Construction costs, contractor switches and other issues have hampered some of the projects.

Thursday's event comes nearly two months after the developer announced that CEO Dietrich Knoer was out, effective immediately. No reason was given, and Cummings took on the CEO post.

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Ben Rosenzweig

Vice President

Detroit

Ben is a retail broker in the Detroit market, about half of his business is focused on the city of Detroit. Ben has done more retail transactions in the last 7 years inside the city than  pretty much any other single broker. Inside the City of Detroit,  Ben helps Buyers and Sellers, Landlords and Tenants of all markets find the right fit for thier business. Outside the city, and in the Metro Market, Ben focuses on retail, strip centers, shopping center, resturants and other retail focused real estate transactions.

Additionally,  Ben does some master broker work, helping tenants find locations nationally. 

 

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Ben Hubert

Vice President

Detroit

Ben Hubert has been involved in various aspects of real estate for over 15  years. While attending The University of Michigan, he started a family owned business, Cuzzens Real Estate Services. Cuzzens Real Estate Services evolved to one of the largest local residential appraisal firms in the Metro Detroit area.

Prior to brokerage, Ben earned his Certified General Appraisal License, and appraised  and consulted clients on a variety of commercial, industrial, multifamily and retail properties. He has experience preparing appraisals for mortgage, condemnation, estate tax planning, tax appeal, and other purposes.

Over the past 6+ years  he has focused his attention on real estate brokerage. Ben’s commercial appraisal background gives him a unique set of skills to appropriately evaluate real estate and negotiate on behalf of his clients. Ben has been focusing on sales and leasing of commercial and multi-family properties, and tenant representation.  Ben has been working with several large developers in the City of Detroit, and carved out a niche in Detroit. Ben and his partner, Benji Rosenzweig, have become the 'go-to' Brokers in the City of Detroit for all types of real estate transactions. 

Ben holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and he is an active member of ICSC.

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