Developer to break ground on Detroit riverfront housing project by Labor Day

Detroit Free Press (MI), 2014-04-08

April 08 -- St. Louis -based developer Richard Baron said this morning he expects to break ground before Labor Day on Orleans Landing , his 270-unit rental apartment project on Detroit's near-east riverfront.

The project was approved in principle by the city last year, and today the city's Economic Development Corp. , a quasi-public board, approved several more actions to further the project, including authorizing the staff of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. to craft a formal development agreement with Baron's firm, McCormack Baron Salazar .

The project would see a series of low-rise apartment buildings rise on five blocks around the old Detroit Dry Dock Building , also known as the Globe Trading Building , on Atwater Street east of the Renaissance Center. The Orleans Landing project would include about 10,000 square feet of retail space, mostly coffee shops and restaurants, Baron said.

The cost of the project has been estimated at $60 million . Baron said today at the EDC meeting that he hopes to close on his financing in coming weeks and start construction before Labor Day . If he keeps to that schedule, the first units should be ready for occupancy by summer 2015.

Baron said that 20% of the units will be held for affordable-income residents and the rest will be market rate.

"We're very excited about it," Baron, a Detroit native, said at the meeting.

The site of the Orleans Landing project once had been slated to become taller condominium-style projects, but all the east riverfront condo deals fell apart during the Great Recession and national real estate crash. Now, city development staffers at DEGC have worked to craft new residential-apartment deals to replace those, with Baron's Orleans Landing the first new residential project to near groundbreaking.

Contact John Gallahger at 313-222-5173 or . Follow him on Twitter @jgallagherfreep.


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