The Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) undertook $1.3 million renovation of the Rebert Building in 1995. Purchased from Norm Rebert, the property had no central heating or air conditioning and required a complete renovation with all new wiring, new plumbing, new walls, ceilings, lighting, bathrooms and kitchens. Financing included $103,000 in historic tax credits and a CDBG grant of $400,000.
The Odd Fellows building, completed in 2006 stood derelict on the western-most end of the business district for over 10 years. Built in 1918 and listed in the national Register of Historic Places, the Odd Fellows Hall is a 20,000 square foot, brick building.
Looking beyond its current physical condition, the SDBA saw an opportunity to provide the district with an anchor development project, and began its renovation. Using Historic, New Market, and Brownfield tax credits, the $4.9 million renovation was completed, including a geothermal heating and cooling system and other green amenities. This renovation sparked new life on the western end of Southwest Detroit.
Odd Fellows Building (Before)
Odd Fellows Building (During Construction)
Odd Fellows Building (After)
The SDBA sponsored an Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Services Panel to work with the community to provide a road map for the neighboorhoods vision for the property. The panel comprised of 8 nationally renowned experts, addressed possible strategies for the redevelopment of the 7 acre contaminated real estate in the heart of Southwest Detroit. During a public meeting, the ULI visit concluded with formal recommendations on how to most effectively reuse the property.
Vernor Crossing will be a major retail center including the sale of local goods, a central community meeting space, and a regional destination for residents and visitors which reflects the Latino heritage and engages the community of Southwest Detroit.
Key Features (ULI recommended uses)*
- 60,000 sf retail space
- Maker space/small business incubator
- Grand Public Space that incorporates the West Vernor Greenway/Streetscapes
The US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale will host The Architectural Imagination, an exhibition of new speculative architectural projects commissioned for specific sites in Detroit but with far-reaching application for cities around the world.
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