Broker says ex-Freep building to sell soon

Posted on November 8, 2012

Bidders did not meet the reserve price in an online auction for the old Detroit Free Press Building at 321 W. Lafayette Blvd., but the real estate broker marketing the property said he’s confident a deal will still happen within days.

The three-day auction ended Wednesday with a high bid of $4.15 million, Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions broker Ryan Snoek said. If the deal had gone through, the winning bidder would have paid an additional 10% to, which handled the listing.

“It’s technically not sold yet, however we’re in the post-close process, negotiating with a number of buyers,” he said. “Odds are we’re going to get a deal done.”

Brokers marketed the property as a residential redevelopment opportunity with space for 160 to 170 apartments or condominiums.

The property, which has fallen into disrepair, comes with $38 million in local, state and federal tax credits and incentives.

Snoek said one local developer estimated it would take an investment of $40 million to $50 million to rehabilitate the property.

He declined to identify the bidders, but he said there’s a mix of redevelopers and investors from Michigan and other states.

“They have experience doing these types of developments,” he said. “They all have the capacity to be able to get a deal like this done.”

Designed by famed architect Albert Kahn, the 302,398-square-foot office building opened in 1925. The Free Press occupied the building until 1998, when it moved down the street to a building shared with the Detroit News. The property hit the auction block this fall when shareholders of Florida-based Luke Investments, which owns the building, couldn’t agree on what to do with it.

Snoek said his goal is to secure final offers from the bidders on Friday, and the owners will “have the weekend to think about it” and consider whether to sell the property.

Nathan Bomey, Detroit Free Press