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July 23, 2013

New lofts open in City Centre

By Jessica Strachan
C & G Staff Writer

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New lofts open in City Centre
Developed by Bloomfield Hills-based Rushmore Properties LLC, Arbor Lofts began construction in December 2012, and all units are expected to be completed by August. Leasing agreements are being signed now for the studio and one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units, which range in price from around $940 to upwards of $2,700 a month.

SOUTHFIELD — Being dubbed as one of the most significant residential redevelopment projects in the city, Arbor Lofts construction is wrapping up, and management is preparing to welcome its first tenants.

The lofts are set in the 120,000-square-foot building that was formerly Civic Plaza office space at 20300 Civic Center Drive. One-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units are designed to be “modern” and “trendy” for the nearly 170 residents who could find their new home in Arbor Lofts, and city officials say this project in the perfect next step for the up-and-coming Southfield City Centre area, between 10 Mile Road and I-696.

“The goal is to create a vibrant, 24/7 environment there, and this puts people living in and walking around the area after 5 p.m. and on the weekends,” said Southfield City Planner Terry Croad. “This is part of creating vibrancy in our district, and the loft environment provides a different kind of housing option than what is already there.”

Townhouses, 5000 Town Centre condominiums and single-family homes line the area, he added. The lofts are not just a unique conversion of space, but the biggest residential project for the city in nearly a decade.

Developed by Bloomfield Hills-based Rushmore Properties LLC, Arbor Lofts began construction in December 2012, and all units are expected to be completed by August, according to Rushmore Properties Group Principal Pamela Applebaum.

The four-story building will also include ground-floor retail space, a shared office space concept, an entrepreneurial lab, a spa, a coffee shop and a fitness center. Young professionals, as well as students, are the market Arbor Lofts is aimed toward, she said.

“We designed Arbor Lofts based on viewing other apartment lofts that not only are popular in such places as Chicago and Ann Arbor, but even in other parts of the world,” she explained. “It offers a hip, urban feel in a suburban location. There really is nothing like it in this area.”

Councilman Jeremy Moss, also chair of the economic development committee, which works largely with City Centre projects, toured the property in June while it was under construction. He said the project seems promising for Southfield.

“This property is being marketed to young professionals; as the young professional on Southfield City Council, I wanted to see if they were properly catering to that market,” he said about the tour. “My generation is kind of leery of home ownership; statistics show that. We are less likely to become homebuyers in our 20s. When you have a whole generation of young professionals working in the city but not living here, this is the kind of housing option that makes Southfield employees want to become Southfield residents.”

He cited a downtown feel and being in the center of a quickly-developing area as other perks to the property. Other features include high ceilings and wide hallways, energy-efficient features like low-emissivity windows and individual unit furnaces, and stainless steel appliances, according to Rushmore literature.

“This is truly the most significant housing project in Southfield in a long time, and we’re excited to get the word out there,” Rushmore Properties Development Consultant Gaal Karp said in a press release. “We’re proud that we are able to complete a project of this size in just nine months.”

According to Croad, the office building was previously owned by Eugene Applebaum, father of Pamela Applebaum, and struggling with an 80-90 percent vacancy rate. The first idea was to convert the use to a storage facility, but Croad said the department worked with the owners to find something more suitable to the area. 

That’s when they came back with the idea for modern-feeling lofts, he explained.

“We shared our vision, they went back to the drawing board, and we found there was a niche for young professional and student housing,” Croad said, adding that Lawrence Technological University has a lease agreement for 12 units, totaling 48 bedrooms, to handle the overflow need on campus. “LTU is within a 10 minute walk, and that will put more life on the streets traveling back and forth.”

The first tenants began moving in mid-July and management expects the 60 units to be filled by the fall.

For more information on available units or to set up a tour of Arbor Lofts, call the leasing office at (248) 979-8971 or visit www.arborlofts.campusvillage.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jessica Strachan at jstrachan@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1108.