Source: Lansing company to redevelop Capitol Park in Detroit

Posted on April 26, 2012

Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority is set to name the developer today of the Capitol Park project, the redevelopment of three vacant buildings near the Westin Book Cadillac hotel.

Karp and Associates LLC of Lansing will develop the buildings into a mixed-use development of apartments, retail and office space, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

Approval of a development agreement is expected at the DDA’s 3 p.m. meeting today.

It marks the final chapter in the long story of the triangular area’s redevelopment. The area is west of Woodward Avenue, north of Michigan Avenue.

The area is known as Capitol Park because it was the site of Michigan’s first capitol building, until 1847. That area was known three years ago as a dilapidated area with a big bus stop.

After several years of planning, a group of public bodies took control of the small area.

In 2009, three vacant historic buildings bordering the park were purchased by public bodies. And the bus lines were reconfigured and the Rosa Parks Transit Center was built several blocks away. With that move, the actual park was renovated.

The DDA bought the former United Way Building and the Capitol Park Building for $1.75 million and $1.9 million respectively. The state of Michigan’s land bank bought the Farwell Building for $3.3 million.

In addition to the DDA and the land bank, money and planning for the Capitol Park project comes from a coalition of groups that includes the land bank, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., Invest Detroit, theWayne County Land Bank, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The timeline for redeveloping the buildings has yet to be announced.

Karp, run by developer Richard Karp, is known for the redevelopment of the Durant Hotel in Flint. The 1920s hotel was renovated and reused as a mixed-use hotel and residential development.

He was one of the three finalists named in December for the Capitol Park project.

J.C. Beal President Fred Beal was also in the mix, as well as one other developer who was not named. Cleveland developer John Ferchill, who teamed-up with Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert, didn’t make the short list, as earlier reported by Crain’s.

Karp could not be immediately reached for comment.

Daniel Duggan, Crain’s Detroit