This is an exciting time to broker real estate in the Detroit market. Just ask Brendan George, senior vice president with CBRE’s Detroit office. As a veteran CRE professional, George is at the center of Detroit’s continued rebirth, closing deals that are helping to reinvigorate the urban core of this key Midwest city. Midwest Real Estate News recently asked George three big key questions about his market. Here is what he had to say.
There’s obviously a lot of positive momentum in downtown Detroit today. Do you expect this to continue throughout 2020? And what has to happen to bring even more businesses, hotels and restaurants to the urban core of the city?
Brendan George: The momentum is real and is expected to continue into 2020. There continues to be significant activity in the adaptive re-use arena from our landlord clients. This is driven by tenant demand, which we see in discussions with occupiers both currently in the metro area and those considering Detroit as a new home from another market. Obviously, macroeconomic forces like a national economic lull could cause a slow-down, but if growth continues we see Detroit continuing its current expansion.
Speaking of downtown Detroit, are you seeing a strong demand for multifamily units in downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods? If so, what is behind this, and why do you think so many people do want to live in the downtown part of the city?
George: While not a multi-family expect, I know anecdotally from talking to people that there is a strong demand for multi-family in the primary neighborhoods of Detroit. In my 20’s, the cool place to live was Royal Oak, Birmingham and Ferndale. While those “urban-suburban” areas are still thriving, there is no question that today’s young professionals are focused on the CBD for housing. Downtown now matches suburban markets for entertainment and dining, while offering additional attractions like all four professional sports teams within walking distance.
What would you tell company decisionmakers about Detroit today? Why does it make sense for businesses to open offices in the Detroit area today?
George: In a word – value. Detroit is rapidly catching mature markets like Chicago and New York in offering a true “big city” experience to its visitors, workers and residents. With a true entertainment district and dozens of retail and restaurant options, downtown Detroit is truly live, work, play. However, office rates as compared to those more mature metro markets are significantly lower while still delivering all that a dense urban office environment has to offer. This makes Detroit an attractive alternative for corporations willing to consider multiple Midwest markets.