Ford sells parking lot in Corktown for $ 15.6 million

Ford Motor Co. sold some of its holdings in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood last month to a new joint venture featuring a trio of big-name commercial real estate.

In a joint venture called Corktown Mobility Hub LLC, Howard Luckoff, Jim Ketai and the Rakolta family bought the 1,250-plus parking lot – the group calls the Bagley Mobility Hub – for what Crain estimates at $ 15.6 million over the basis of real estate. transfer duties paid.

The bridge is currently being built by Detroit-based contractor Devon Industrial Group on the corner of Bagley and Wabash for an undisclosed price. It is expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year.

As part of the deal, Ford will hold the main garage lease, while Ketai’s Luckoff and Vokal Ventures will operate it.

Richard Bardelli, who is Ford’s construction manager for its larger vision in Corktown which includes 1.2 million square feet of space on 30 acres, said the automaker still plans to bring in partners from development.

In addition, the new structure “then allows us to free up more capital within Ford to then help develop and continue our expansion of Central Michigan development,” he said, referring to the working name of the campus.

Ketai, who left real estate firm Bedrock LLC which he co-founded with Dan Gilbert as chairman two years ago, said the Rakolta family, who run Detroit-based construction giant Walbridge Group, have strong relationship with Ford and he has worked with the Rakoltas on various projects over the years. Rakoltas’ Detroit Opportunity Fund II is the official entity involved.

“Ford actually suggested that the three of us would make a great team,” Ketai said. “So they brought us together to work on this project.”

The developers said the bridge includes a variety of features beyond a traditional parking lot, including an autonomous vehicle testing area, electric bike and electric scooter stations, electric vehicle charging stations, a automated payment technology and intelligent guidance systems.

Luckoff, who is the former general counsel for Gilbert’s Rock Ventures LLC and a longtime real estate attorney for Detroit-based Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, said things like bike rentals and places to take a cafe are also part of the project.

There are around 20 subcontractors on site, said Stephanie Burnley, co-CEO of Devon Industrial Group.

“Our goal is to continue to work with local sub-contractors and mentor smaller contractors to work with us and get involved in this great development in the city,” Burnley said.

In 2018, Ford revealed that it plans to build a $ 740 million autonomous and electric vehicle campus in the neighborhood west of downtown, anchored by the long-vacant Michigan Central Station off the coast of Michigan Avenue.

Since then, the company has renovated the building, as well as a former nearby Detroit school books depot, as well as the construction of new parking lots, including the Bagley Mobility Hub. The book deposit is also due to be completed in the second quarter of next year.

Ford now says its total investment in the region is $ 950 million, which includes the $ 740 million in real estate development and construction, as well as an additional $ 210 million in things like infrastructure, open space, technology and connectivity, improvements to premises, public places and other amenities.

“This new mobility hub is a great example of how Ford’s vision and partnership with the city is bringing real mobility solutions to the people living and working in this neighborhood, in a way that is in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood, ”Antoine Bryant, Detroit’s new director of planning and development, said in a statement. “Not only will this connect people to jobs, housing and opportunities in Corktown and southwest Detroit, it will also connect them to incredible resources along the way, such as Joe Louis Greenway and Ralph C. Wilson. , Jr. Centennial Park. “

At Crain’s Detroit Business Detroit Homecoming event on Saturday, Ford CEO Jim Farley told attendees the automaker’s vision extends far beyond Michigan Central Station, for which Ford paid $ 90. million dollars and on which has been working since 2018.

“We’re going to work with the team to connect it to the river,” he said. “We quickly realized, holy cow, that the real opportunities are in fact all the space around (the station).”

In the fall of 2018, Detroit City Council approved a total of $ 239 million in tax relief over 35 years for the Corktown project, including $ 104 million in municipal taxes. The breaks include a tax cut from the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act, a break in the commercial rehabilitation district and a Renaissance zone.

The sale of the Bagley Mobility Hub marks the city’s newest parking lot for sale, following the $ 36 million sale of the approximately 3,000-space Joe Louis Arena parking lot to Grosse Pointe-based Foster Financial Co. by the developer and owner Sterling based in Detroit. Group.

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