Northern Group Builds Detroit Portfolio with Purchase of Apartment Towers

The Northern Group, based in New York City, has further extended its Detroit holdings with the purchase of the 584-unit Layafette Apartment Towers, a pair of 22-story buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe.  The seller was The Habitat Co., of Chicago, and terms of the sale, which is scheduled to close on Feb. 15., were not disclosed.   The announcement followed by just a few days the news that Northern Group will be developing a $150 million mixed-use project, the Cadillac Centre, expected to break ground in September 2009. The project, featuring two 24-story towers, will adjoin and connect to Cadillac Tower, a 1927 Beaux Arts skyscraper that Northern Group already owned. The company also owns two other office towers, First National and Penobscot, as well as the 400-unit Alden Park Towers apartments on the Detroit River east of Downtown.  The Lafayette Apartment Towers’ amenities include a 24-hour attended gatehouse, fitness centers in each tower and a heated outdoor pool. The towers are part of the 78-acre Lafayette Park, which is listed on National Register of Historic Places, in part because it’s home to the world’s largest collection of Mies van der Rohe buildings.  Originally an urban renewal project, Lafayette Park includes a 19-acre central area with no through traffic, surrounded by a mix of high-rises, two-story townhouses, recreational facilities, an elementary school and a small shopping center.