Historic Globe Building gets $2 million tax credit for redevelopment plan

Posted on April 25, 2012

Efforts to bring new life to Detroit’s historic but derelict Globe Building on the east riverfront got fresh hope today with tentative approval of a $2 million tax credit and development plan.

The Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority voted this afternoon to begin the process of approving a plan put forward by Detroit-based Roxbury Group, a real estate development firm. The plan calls for Roxbury to receive a state-approved $2-million credit against the Michigan Business Tax as part of a $12.5-million renovation plan.

The tax credit had initially won approval in 2007 as part of a different renovation plan but the national real estate crash prevented the work from going forward at that time.

Located at 1801-1803 Atwater on the east riverfront near the William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor, the Globe consists of structures of various ages dating to the late 1800s, when it served as a dry dock for the shipping industry.

A young Henry Ford worked as a mechanic on the site. The building is also notable as one of Detroit’s most prominent surviving 19th century industrial buildings.

The work will consist of a partial demolition, renovation of the remainder, and creation of an addition. Plans call for the mixed-used development to include a welcome center and Milliken State Park interactive displays, classrooms and office space for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

David DiRita, a partner in the Roxbury Group, told the brownfield authority that about half the historic structure would remain once the project is finished by late 2013. “It’ll be a mix of old and new when we’re done,” he said.

In other action, the brownfield authority also approved tax incentives for an $18-million, 140-rental apartment building known as Harbortown Riverside Apartments to be built within the existing Harbortown complex on the east riverfront.

The project is headed by Arkan Jonna, principal owner of the A.F. Jonna Development LLC firm in Bloomfield Hills.

Harbortown is a gated complex on the east riverfront that was launched in the 1980s. To date it includes two high-rise towers, low-rise residences, a marina, and shops.

The new project will fit within the existing Harbortown property. It will be adjacent to the Detroit RiverWalk but will not interfere with it.

Jonna indicated that all units will have balconies and be built with “contemporary flair and high-end finishes throughout.”

The units would range from one to three bedrooms and measure from 800 to 1,500 square feet. Rents will range from about $1,100 for smaller units to $2,200 per month for the largest units.

The incentives approved by the brownfield authority would be worth approximately $5.5 million if the project goes ahead.