January 18, 2022

McKenzielee Blog

Wicked Clever House Experts

Real Estate insider: Small parcels of land around District Detroit sell

2 min read

When I wrote last summer — happy 2022 — that a mystery buyer was purchasing key buildings in the District Detroit development area, I suggested that it was probably the Ilitch family gobbling up more properties in advance of a deal with billionaire developer Stephen Ross and that additional deals were likely to come.

Well, guess what?

First, there is an announced deal for Ross, the head of Related Cos., to develop a new graduate school campus for the University of Michigan as well as a tech incubator and 300 units of new housing in the District Detroit area.

And in the last few weeks, more properties in the area have traded hands, according to public records. Some of the sales feature a buyer deploying the same tactics the buyers of the Film Exchange Building and Bookies Bar & Grille building, plus other parcels, used in 2021 to keep their identities secret.

Brokers and land records say the early 20th century building at 118 W. Columbia St. has sold, as have a few small slivers of land.

First, broker Steve Kiousis of Troy-based Esq. Realty LLC, which represented seller Vernice Brown, declined to disclose the purchase price last week of the Columbia Street building.

At one point in time, the building was known as the Wright Hotel, per a very ruin porn-y photo gallery that shows some signage, although its history is a bit of a mystery beyond that at this juncture. (If you know anything about this building, hit me up.)

Second, several pieces of land on the block bounded by Elizabeth Street to the north, West Adams to the south, Cass Avenue to the west and Clifford Street to the east sold. Property records show deeds dated Nov. 5 for properties at 228 W. Adams, 248 W. Adams and 223 W. Elizabeth totaling 0.206 acres and selling for an estimated $2.33 million.

It’s not known whether there are other properties involved in that deal that would account for the extremely high selling price for a trio of noncongruous parcels of unimproved land.

The building sold to 118 W. Columbia LLC, according to Kiousis, while the land sold to 204 Adams LLC, which is registered at a South Bend, Ind., UPS store; LLCs that bought the Film Exchange and Bookies buildings were also registered at UPS stores in metro Detroit. The 204 Adams LLC entity also bought property at 245 Elizabeth St., as I noted in my year-in-review column last month.

Total cost so far for the land alone? $3.59 million.

I don’t know yet how much was paid for the building, but I’ll let you know when I find out.

An email was sent to a spokesperson for the Ilitch family’s Olympia Development of Michigan real estate company seeking comment.


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