New York developer sees opportunity in Detroit and tackles vacant apartment building project


DETROIT (WXYZ) – Billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert has been gobbling up and rehabbing downtown office buildings at a staggering pace, fueling the resurgence of Detroit’s business district.

New development in recent years has also invigorated Midtown, creating a demand for housing.

Big financial players have been behind most of the big development deals in Detroit, but there are exceptions.

Brandon Duckett, a 38-year old entrepreneur from New York, is one of them. After visiting Detroit with his wife to attend a wedding, he was struck by the similarities between Detroit and his hometown.

“Detroit is a great place to make an investment for the same reason New York had its troubles in its beginning times,” Duckett told 7 Action News. “Seeing that revitalization going on in New York, I felt the energy Detroit was having and I said this would be a great opportunity for us.”

Now, Duckett is in the middle of his first development project here.

Duckett purchased a vacant 1920’s era apartment building on Selden 18 months ago. Located on the fringe of Midtown, the historic, but modest building is located just around the corner from Selden Standard, the popular restaurant that has brought new life to the area.

The H.R. Finn Apartments will feature 28 studio and one-bedroom apartments and two commercial office spaces.

“The hardwood floors are in great condition,” Duckett said. “We’re going to be putting in new kitchens, new bathrooms and things of that nature, but for the most part the building’s in a great condition.”

Growing up, Duckett worked closely with his father in renovating and managing apartment buildings in New Jersey. Now, he’s out to make his own mark.

“We’re very passionate, we’ve been very patient and very persistent in getting this project to where it is right now,” Duckett said.

He received a state performance grant of more than $670,000 for the project as well as historic tax credits and a $1.5 million construction loan.

Duckett expects work on the building to be complete by December. Rent is expected to be market rate, according to Duckett.

“Midtown Detroit, downtown Detroit, Detroit as a whole is a wonderful city to be a part of,” Duckett said. “The governmental agencies, the social agencies, will really do a great job of making that progress a lot easier and make it a lot more welcoming for developers to want to come in and do projects.”

Duckett said he’s already looking for other investment opportunities in Detroit.

Originally posted on WXYZ-TV Channel 7 | View Original Post

By: Dave LewAllen
July 15, 2015 at 11pm


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