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New building in works at Detroit's Ford Field


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SUPER BOWL SPIN-OFF: New building in works at Detroit's Ford Field

Accounting firm to put an office for 600 there

February 7, 2004



In the first major spin-off project to rise near Ford Field, a new office building is in the works that will house the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.


The Detroit-Wayne County Stadium Authority approved an agreement Thursday evening giving the go-ahead to the project. Construction is expected to start in a few months and conclude by late 2005.

Rising in what is now a parking lot near Gate G on the east side of the stadium, the building will allow PricewaterhouseCoopers to consolidate its more than 600 local employees in one place.

Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed and no price tag was available. But Steve Morris, a partner in the Southfield-based office brokerage GVA Strategis, said similar new projects run in the $15 million to $20 million range.

Tom Lewand, the Detroit Lions' chief operating officer who oversees Ford Field-related development, said Friday he couldn't comment because the deal wasn't final yet. But Mark Mendola, PricewaterhouseCoopers' managing partner in Detroit, said the firm was committed to the deal.

"Our clients have asked us to stay committed to the city, and this is just one small way of doing that. We are committed to the city growing," Mendola said Friday.

He added, "We easily could have chosen to move to the suburbs, and we made the commitment to the city of Detroit not to do that. Many of our partners live in the suburbs, and that would have been an easier commute, but we made the right decision."

Mendola said the building will encompass about 125,000 square feet in about five stories. The architectural style will be designed to blend in with Ford Field and nearby buildings.

PricewaterhouseCoopers now occupies part of Tower 400 in the Renaissance Center as well as office space in Oakland County. The move is necessary because General Motors Corp., which owns the RenCen, plans to move its OnStar unit into the PricewaterhouseCoopers space after the firm moves out in late 2005.

PricewaterhouseCoopers will give up not only its RenCen space but about 35,000 square feet of office space in Bloomfield Hills. The move thus marks the latest announced step by a suburban employer into downtown, following significant moves by Compuware Corp., EDS Corp., and OnStar.

Morris said the new building downtown makes sense for PricewaterhouseCoopers, a major accounting firm whose clients include Ford Motor Co., GM and Masco Corp.

"They have a big presence downtown, and it's a statement that they have clients down there that are important," he said.

The deal also represents some concrete proof that the Super Bowl, to be played at Ford Field in 2006, actually will produce some spin-off developments in the downtown area. Mendola said the Super Bowl made the deal more attractive to his firm because it's likely other new development will follow.

"Absent the Super Bowl, the natural tendency would be to doubt all the development, but I see it all happening," he said.

The project would also be a boost for Ford Field itself, which is still looking to land the hotel, restaurant, and other new development expected when the stadium opened in August 2002.

Reports have circulated that a House of Blues and a Ruth's Chris Steak House might move to the stadium, but Lewand said Friday only that he is negotiating with those and dozens of others.

Contact JOHN GALLAGHER at 313-222-5173 or [email protected]

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