New York-based company invests $3.7M in Detroit apartment complex

DETROIT – Brandon Duckett happened to find a midtown building with some good bones a few years ago, and by the end of the 2015 the 678 Selden St. 1922 building should be all set for people to start moving in.

His company, Duckett Management, recently opened an office in Bedrock Real Estate Services’ First National Building downtown.

While Duckett, 38, is still looking for an apartment of his own in a packed downtown area, he’s working to get his 22,000-square-foot historic building back into working order.

When it’s finished, the three-story building will have 28 newly-renovated studio and one-bedroom apartments, a new elevator, a rooftop patio, laundry, exercise and recreation areas in the basement, and plenty of natural light, according to Duckett.

The apartments will have “new everything,” Duckett said, from the floor to the ceiling. The layout won’t be changed, though. Each of the rooms a slightly different. Some have bigger kitchens, others have a small bar area, and Duckett said he likes the diversity in the rooms.

The building is receiving a “facelift” both inside and out. Masonry on the Selden-facing facade will be restored, among other things.

Duckett said the building, dubbed the H.R. Finn Apartments should have people living in them by January 2016. He and his team might start pre-leasing rooms in November 2015.

The new development further extends the Midtown boom past Second Avenue. According to a recent data report, Midtown is 97 percent occupied.

On average, the section of town encompassing Wayne State University, Shinola Detroit, Traffic Jam and Snug, Avalon Bakery, a large chunk of the future M-1 Rail and plenty of development has 8.8 people per acre.

Downtown Detroit has about 4.3 people per acre.

Duckett has been looking in Detroit for a while, he said. He founded his management company in 2008, and is also the CEO of his own accounting firm.

He closed on the Midtown building in 2013 after looking at about 75 properties all around the city. While Duckett said he doesn’t believe there’s a building that can’t be saved, the Selden apartment complex was most promising.

The jump from Detroit to New York was simple, though.

“It reminded me of New York,” he said. While New York has everything in terms of living, Detroit needed a bit of diversity.

He plans to have a few tweaks to the historical building, re-installing bigger windows to let in more natural light  and give the building, which sat vacant for nine years, back some of its original integrity.

No more popcorn ceiling, he said.

While there’s water damage throughout the building, Duckett was confident the building would be a fairly quick project. With all the approvals garnered from the city, all that’s left is construction.

Duckett said he still thinks Detroit is on an upward trajectory. Compared to when he started looking for properties in the city several years ago, development has really picked up, he said.

The property owner pointed to the M-1 Rail as proof that Detroit has a ways to go before it plateaus.

Though he wouldn’t say where, Duckett said he’s “working on some (other) things” in Detroit.

In a press release, Duckett said he wants his company to make an impact on a “thriving community.”

The H.R. Finn Apartments are just down the block from the popular Selden Standard Restaurant. They’ll be within walking distance from the new Detroit Events Center once the initial build out is finished in 2017.

Originally posted on MLive | View Original Post

By: Ian Thibodeau
July 15, 2015 at 8:15am

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