Iconic Penobscot Building Sold to Canada’s Triple Properties
- May 14, 2012
By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
The foreclosed Penobscot Building located in the heart of Detroit’s Financial District was sold for an estimated price of approximately $5 million to Triple Properties, a Canada-based real estate investment company that also owns the Silverdome in Pontiac. The 47-story Art Deco building was designed by architect Wirt C. Rowland in 1928 as one of the tallest buildings in the world and the tallest structure in the city until 1977, when the 73-story Central Tower of the Renaissance Center was raised.
Like most of the buildings dating from the 1920s, Penobscot can be easily recognized by its distinctive sign, the steel beacon with a red neon ball sitting atop the building’s highest point that is visible from 40 miles, a structure originally designed by the Claude Neon Company.
According to the Detroit Free Press, approximately 50 percent of the nearly 1,000,000-square-foot office building is occupied by tenants such as Strategic Staffing Solutions, Smart Detroit and Wayne County Friend of the Court and the new owner hopes to lure start-up companies by offering attractive rents starting at $10 per square foot as opposed to the general market asking rate of $14 to $20 per square foot in the Downtown area.
Negotiations were led by Friedman Integrated Solutions on behalf of the seller, Capmark Financial, while Triple Properties was represented in the transaction by Bob Mihelich, a Southfield-based CBRE broker. The new owner hasn’t revealed any renovation plans for the office building, but such an initiative would continue the revitalization trend in the Financial District and support Detroit’s economic recovery efforts.
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Photo courtesy of Flickr user SNWEB.ORG