Detroit City Council will consider a proposal to sell the long-vacant Lee Plaza to developers the Roxbury Group and Ethos Development Partners in the hopes of injecting new life into the historic building. Although the 15-storey brick building on West Grand Boulevard was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and qualifies for related tax credits, it has deteriorated in the 20 years since the Detroit Housing Commission shuttered the property.
The arrangement, which would see the development team buy the site from the City for $350,000 USD, is expected to go before Council this month. Initial plans call for the introduction of 180 residential units, at least half of which would be deemed affordable for those earning 80 percent or less of the area's median income.
The Roxbury Group is no stranger to high-profile rejuvenations. The $33 million renovation of Detroit's Metropolitan Building paved the way for the opening of the Element Hotel. Ethos also has experience bringing new life to old buildings, and has worked on delivering more than 500 affordable housing units.
Lee Plaza was built by Ralph Lee in 1928 as a luxury apartment building with hotel-like amenities. By the 1970s it had been converted to seniors housing. The 235,000-square-foot building would require an injection of over $50 million to fully restore. The City has already spent $400,000 to protect the building from the elements.
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