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Keeler Building - 56 North Division


joeDowntown

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9 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

If I were Ellis, I wouldn't sign the paperwork to build a new ramp on that spot without some guarantees, which may be premature for FP. You're right in that it might be a good place for the city to partner.

I'm just spit-balling, not basing that on any background info.

I would think it would be a slam dunk for Ellis.   You have the draw from the Keeler, KCAD, the Civic and to some extent, the Morton, and maybe the GR Children's Museum.  Add some ground floor retail for additional revenue.  The need for parking is not going away, especially with a "new" office building next door.

Edited by mpchicago
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19 minutes ago, mpchicago said:

I would think it would be a slam dunk for Ellis.   You have the draw from the Keeler, KCAD, the Civic and to some extent, the Morton, and maybe the GR Children's Museum.  Add some ground floor retail for additional revenue.  The need for parking is not going away, especially with a "new" office building next door.

Oh I agree. Any maybe talks are in the works and they're just not ready yet. I have no idea how the Ellis' think, other than they used to own the Keeler and wanted to tear it down for a surface lot at one point, but were blocked by the HPC.

http://rapidgrowthmedia.com/devnews/022516Keeler-Building-restored.aspx

 

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1 hour ago, GRDadof3 said:

OK, for those who waited patiently all weekend. No word as to tenants yet but it will be commercial/office with ground floor retail.

 

56_N_Division_Full_Render.jpg

56 North Division.jpg

I wonder if it was intentional to not have a rendering of the south elevation of this building.  I'm guessing they are secretly hoping to not have to do anything with that hideous mass of metal wall panel (in my amateur architectural opinion) that covers it right now since it will be covered up by a parking ramp.

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3 minutes ago, mielsonwheels said:

I wonder if it was intentional to not have a rendering of the south elevation of this building.  I'm guessing they are secretly hoping to not have to do anything with that hideous mass of metal wall panel (in my amateur architectural opinion) that covers it right now since it will be covered up by a parking ramp.

According to a historian I talked to, there used to be a building called the Murray Building that sat there (possibly related to the Murray Furniture Co), that is now the Ellis Lot. I too wonder what is under those metal panes. Another cool advertisement?

You can see the Murray in this picture.

keeler_historical_grpl.jpg

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Is the existing terracotta band at the third floor in that bad of shape that it needs to be replaced?  I'm just wondering why the rendering shows a different design from what is existing at the third floor.

Also I'd like to point out, in the historic photo, there is very decorative parapet cornice that is no longer present on the building. Only the bottom half of it remains, and the rendering shows a new design in it's place.

I know it's not a designated historic building, but it would be nice if those historic elements could be restored / rebuilt.  With that said, I do like the look of the new entrance.  Oh, and btw the rendering is not showing the traffic signal either.

Edited by Gorath
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36 minutes ago, Gorath said:

Is the existing terracotta band at the third floor in that bad of shape that it needs to be replaced?  I'm just wondering why the rendering shows a different design from what is existing at the third floor.

Also I'd like to point out, in the historic photo, there is very decorative parapet cornice that is no longer present on the building. Only the bottom half of it remains, and the rendering shows a new design in it's place.

I know it's not a designated historic building, but it would be nice if those historic elements could be restored / rebuilt.  With that said, I do like the look of the new entrance.  Oh, and btw the rendering is not showing the traffic signal either.

I'm not following. Here's what it looks like today. It is interesting that there used to be a street level traffic light in one of the historic photos an today it's an ugly hanging light.

Keeler 56 N Division today.JPG

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On 2/27/2016 at 11:00 AM, Dj Augustine said:

I am not famialier with who the "team of sales guys running around town" refers to?  Care to enlighten us?

It's pretty rare to have people office-to-office soliciting a building.  But Franklin did.  I'm not saying it's a bad thing.  They're very good at what they do, which seems to be flipping office buildings.  

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8 hours ago, x99 said:

It's pretty rare to have people office-to-office soliciting a building.  But Franklin did.  I'm not saying it's a bad thing.  They're very good at what they do, which seems to be flipping office buildings.  

You say that as if it is a bad thing. If they find a depressed or underutilized building,  do extensive renovations and marketing to get occupancy near 100% and then sell it to a company that finds long term value in the building, is that wrong? You act like it is. I don't see the problem?!

Joe

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12 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

You say that as if it is a bad thing. If they find a depressed or underutilized building,  do extensive renovations and marketing to get occupancy near 100% and then sell it to a company that finds long term value in the building, is that wrong? You act like it is. I don't see the problem?!

Joe

It seems like a better strategy than artificially jacking up your rents and kicking out tenants, to try and draw higher class tenants, like some property owners do.

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23 hours ago, x99 said:

It's pretty rare to have people office-to-office soliciting a building.  But Franklin did.  I'm not saying it's a bad thing.  They're very good at what they do, which seems to be flipping office buildings.  

It is not unusal to solicit tenants in other buildings, it's an old practice.  It has however been substantialy replaced with technology.  Unfortunately you have your facts wrong, while Franklin Partners does market their properties agressively, they did not have "quite litterally have a team of sales guys running around town dropping off brochures."  That being said, they might use that approach in the future.

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4 hours ago, urbanland said:

I talked to Ellis recently, and he said Franklin Partners hasn't approached him about building a ramp. 

Loose lips sink ships. I can't imagine Mike Ellis talking about it freely, even if he had talked to FP. That's a major deal in a very hot and contentious market (downtown parking). And my money is on FP working with the city instead on a parking solution. They're not profit driven.

Other than the Ellis lot, I think the one a block North where the old Rapid central station used to be could be a contender for a new ramp. That could easily serve Spectrum's needs too, which seems to have a voracious appetite for shuttle lots on Michigan and Plymouth.

Kent County has a lot right across the street that could make for a good ramp. Anyone heard how the land sale of 82 Ionia is going? Did the county take a vote on it yet?

 

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Nice find.  I think Amway owned both buildings at the time, if I'm not mistaken.  It was around the same time the Amway Grand opened too.  Funny, it looks like the same font type that was used for Amway Grand marketing and promo when it opened.  Don't ask me how I know that, it's just ringing a bell. I wonder if the Keeler walkway was directly related to this?

Edited by mpchicago
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On 3/2/2016 at 10:32 AM, Dj Augustine said:

It is not unusal to solicit tenants in other buildings, it's an old practice.  It has however been substantialy replaced with technology.  Unfortunately you have your facts wrong, while Franklin Partners does market their properties agressively, they did not have "quite litterally have a team of sales guys running around town dropping off brochures."  That being said, they might use that approach in the future.

Funny, because then I have no idea who those guys were hawking 99 Monroe with stacks of drop off glossies.  :huh:

And so far as the marketing and flipping--I'm not trying to impugn Franklin Partners for it.  They've done well at it.  They are clearly a superb operator.  But I did call it "flipping" for a reason, and it is concerning from a market perspective when a savvy, quality operator flips not one, but two fully occupied multi-million dollar office buildings on which they had no or minimal debt.  That's unusual unless the owner thinks the offer price is worth more than the discounted long term returns.  I don't know, but it's food for thought.  

Now for an interesting theory:  My personal suspicion is that Frankin was acutely aware that they ran the downtown market out of parking, that we are years out on a proper solution, and that current rents may not be not sustainable in a tight-parking environment.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Tenants cannot move downtown right now unless a building has available captive parking.  That ruins everyone else's rents for new leases.  When Franklin put in Spectrum, they were screwing everyone else with vacant space, including themselves if they have any vacancies.  There is no way they don't realize this.  Who gets the rent basically becomes a matter of who wins the parking lottery.  Since they did not have guaranteed parking at 25 Ottawa or 99 Monroe, and both were at 100% occupancy, perhaps it did make sense to bail out if the buyer failed to factor this into their thought process.  

To bring it back to the Keeler, this keeps being reported as a "sale" but from what I understand, they're still in the due diligence phase and can bail out.  If they cannot lock the parking situation for Keeler, they will cut tail and run.  And what will make Keeler attractive?  My guess is that the parking will be their parking guaranteed for Keeler.  In other words, Franklin will be able to say, "We have the only downtown office space with available parking."  Total coup, and will mean other buildings go wanting for tenants while theirs fills up.  Brilliant, actually, if the cards actually happen to fall that way. 

But maybe I'm reading too far into all of this...

 

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 Franklin Partners is a "value add" investor, and not a group looking for stabilized returns.  The sale of the buildings are much more about providing a return on their investment to their financial partners.. They take the risk to buy buildings that are not stabilized with cash flow.  When they sell it, it is to someone who is looking for the annual cash flow vs. taking on a risky project.  They made massive investments into both buildings and they did have debt on them both.  Look at their website and you can see what their business is about.  www.franklinpartners.net  

Maybe bringing the 500 Spectrum jobs downtown was the impetus the city needed to get moving on solving the parking shortage downtown?

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8 minutes ago, x99 said:

And so far as the marketing and flipping--I'm not trying to impugn Franklin Partners for it.  They've done well at it.  They are clearly a superb operator.  But I did call it "flipping" for a reason, and it is concerning from a market perspective when a savvy, quality operator flips not one, but two fully occupied multi-million dollar office buildings on which they had no or minimal debt.  That's unusual unless the owner thinks the offer price is worth more than the discounted long term returns.  I don't know, but it's food for thought.  

You're describing an environment in which they have unlimited capital. They aren't looking at the value of their current investments in a vacuum—they're looking at the value compared to other possible uses of that capital. That's simply good business sense.

You're trying to spin this into a story that they're bearish on downtown's future. However, I think it's just the opposite: They see such a hot market that they're shedding stable, long-term investments, in favor of much more lucrative (albeit perhaps more risky) short-term gains.

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