Kresge Foundation opens Detroit office on Woodward Avenue

Posted on July 17, 2012

The Troy-based Kresge Foundation has established a Detroit office on Woodward Avenue, putting it in the heart of major transformation efforts that the foundation is helping fund.

Kresge joins a number of foundations based in Detroit, including the Hudson-Webber Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, McGregor Fund and Skillman Foundation.

Kresge is leasing 2,500 square feet on the second floor of the Woodward Gardens Building, at the southwest corner of Woodward and Alexandrine, from developer George Stewart, principal of Woodward SA-PK LLC.

The space, above Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. and on the same floor as the Wayne State University Physicians Group, will provide part-time offices for Kresge’s five-member Detroit program team as well as meeting space.

ROK Construction Services was the general contractor of the renovation, which cost $307,000, the foundation said.

“It’s a great location for us to be closer to the work we do in Detroit and for many of our grantees and partners to meet with us and attend different convenings on different issues,” said Laura Trudeau, senior program director for Kresge’s Detroit program.

Kresge worked with Elizabeth Skrisson and Joel Schmidt of the Detroit-based architectural firm D Met Design LLC to do a historically accurate renovation of its space in the building, incorporating things such as reclaimed flooring from the Architectural Salvage Warehouse in Detroit, Trudeau said.

“Most of the folks we meet with are very excited for us to have a presence in the city,” she said. “It’s very convenient for them, and also I think they view it as a sign of Kresge’s commitment to Detroit,” which it “absolutely” is, Trudeau said.

Kresge has contributed about $25 million each year since 2007 to transformation efforts in the city, Trudeau said.

It’s supported the downtown Boll Family YMCA, renovations to Orchestra Hall and the Detroit Institute of Arts, development of Campus Martius Park, renovation of Eastern Market and the Detroit RiverWalk with a $50 million grant to the riverfront project.

“We now have a deep focus on the transformation of Detroit through projects like the M1 Rail; the Detroit Works long-term plan, which is thinking of different uses for land that is underutilized (in the city); and our major arts focus,” among other initiatives, Trudeau said.

By: Sherri Welch, Crain’s Detroit