Building demolition approved to clear path for Chemical Bank’s new $116 million downtown Detroit headquarters

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The Historic District Commission has approved demolition of a 68-year-old building on West Elizabeth Street to make way for Chemical Bank’s new downtown Detroit headquarters high-rise.
Plan includes 185,000 square feet of office, 308 parking spaces, 7,500 square feet of retail
Kirk Pinho/Crain’s Detroit Business
The demolition of the building at 25 W. Elizabeth St. is slated to make way for the $116 million Chemical Bank headquarters in downtown Detroit.
The commission approved the demolition of the 1950 building used most recently as the Elizabeth Street annex of the Grand Park Centre office tower across Grand Circus Park on Dec. 12 . It sits in the Grand Circus Park historic district.

Thomas Shafer, president and CEO of Midland-based Chemical Bank, said demolition is expected to begin in the late spring or early summer. A contractor for the project has not yet been selected.

The application for the demolition for the first time reveals the cost of the 20-story tower planned for Woodward Avenue and West Elizabeth Street across from Comerica Park: $116 million, with a 10 percent construction contingency of $11.6 million, for a total budget of $127.6 million, according to a Nov. 15 letter from Chemical Bank Executive Vice President William Collins.
Sandwiched between the Francis Palms Building to the north and the Fyfe Building to the south on the west side of Woodward, the project is expected to be financed entirely by Chemical Bank (NASDAQ: CHFC), the letter says.

New details about the building’s composition are also revealed.
The first floor is slated for about 7,500 square feet of retail space, while floors two through 11 are expected to have about 308 parking spaces. Floors 12 through 20 would have approximately 185,000 square feet of office space, with a balcony on floor 19 and three floors slated for other tenants taking up to 63,000 square feet of the total office space, according to an HDC briefing document.

Shafer said in a Monday email that the company is “continuing to make progress on our plans for our new headquarters facility on Woodward.” He noted that he will update the bank’s board of directors next month on the project.
The to-be-demolished building is 10 stories, with six floors of office space, the vast majority of which is vacant. The first four floors are parking.
The plan calls for completion of the 20-story, 420,000-square-foot buildig within the next two years, with construction beginning by the second quarter next year. The construction amounts to $276.19 per square foot at $116 million, and $303.81 per square foot at $127.6 million.
Chemical Bank’s move to Detroit is intended to help the bank, which absorbed Troy-based Talmer Bancorp Inc. in 2016, grow in metro Detroit and add to its strength in outstate Michigan. Detroit has not had a major bank headquarters since Comerica Inc. moved its home base to Dallas more than a decade ago.

Chemical Bank reported third-quarter revenue of $70.4 million, up from $69 million in the second quarter and $40.5 million in the third quarter of 2017. The bank, the seventh-largest in the state overall with $11.8 billion in deposits in the region as of June 2017, says it has $20.3 billion in total assets. That’s up from $18.8 billion a year ago and $19.8 billion at the end of the first quarter. It has 3,300 employees and 1 million customers.
Detroit-based Neumann/Smith Architecture is designing the project.
Reprinted from Crain’s Detroit Business

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