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Oakland County Real Estate Law Blog

Downtown Grand Rapids commercial real estate increases in value

Office space in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, became more popular during the first six months of 2014. Several buildings were bought and sold, and the owners of some buildings announced remodeling and/or repurposing plans. As a result, downtown Grand Rapids has been experiencing a minor boom and a rise in leasing rates.

According to one real estate firm president who specializes in real estate in the downtown Grand Rapids area, business is better than he has seen it during the whole of his 17-year career. A 2014 mid-year report published by the Alliance of Commercial Realtors indicates that the number of new leases on office space experienced an 11.5 percent jump during the first half of 2014. The report also indicated that sales transactions increased by 45 percent.

Blighted commercial properties may be on their way out

Abandoned and dilapidated residential properties have been torn down throughout Michigan after the U.S. Treasury Department allowed money from the "Hardest Hit" foreclosure relief fund set up by the Troubled Asset Relief Program to be used to take down the homes. Now, it looks like the same thing may be happening soon with vacant and abandoned commercial properties.

According to reports, Rep. Dan Kildee has asked the Treasury Secretary to allow the funds to be used for the commercial buildings, arguing that the precedent was set when the funds were used for the residential properties. Kildee argued in a letter sent to the Treasury Secretary on July 8 that doing so would protect property values and hopefully keep residents in the area.

Zoning issues plague apartment development

A zoning change in the city of Grand Rapids could lead to a series of undesirable effects, according to residents in the area. The city commission is working to decide whether to permit purchases and sales of a corner lot on Seward Ave NW and Lake Michigan Drive. If approved, the change would allow six properties to be converted into a $15 million massive apartment complex, which would include a five-story tower and a significant amount of retail space.

Although some residents are excited about the commercial real estate proposal, others are concerned that the zoning issues that arise from the transaction would have a negative effect on their neighborhood. Some residents believe that the project will introduce too many transient residents who could damage the existing culture in the area and actually devalue the area’s real estate.

Michigan landlords want higher water deposits

Town officials in Saginaw, Michigan, are thinking of making a change to the way that water customers are allowed to open up new accounts. Until now, they had been asking people for $100 when they started an account, but they are discussing a move that would raise that total to $150.

Reports show that this new change is being mulled over because the officials met with a number of landlords who had purchased investment properties, and the alteration was discussed at that meeting. The landlords appear to be in favor of the change.

Crowdfunding set up for Michigan real estate market

A new tactic is being used in West Michigan to finance rental properties, and it is one that many people may be familiar with by now: Crowdfunding. The popular tactic has been used for many other types of projects, but a new site that is being launched is aimed at letting people invest their money directly into real estate projects in Michigan, offering them returns on that investment in the future.

The first transaction is going to involve Leonard Oaks Apartments. This is an apartment complex with a total of 72 different units. An agreement has been reached to sell the place for $2.85 million, but the executives who have the agreement are hoping to get as much as $1.4 million through their crowdfunding website, which they are now launching. If it works out, they also hope to take on more projects like this in the future.

Michigan real estate company buys headquarters of two newspapers

Bedrock Real Estate Services recently announced the purchase of the building that's home to the Detroit Media Partnership. The price of the Michigan investment property has not been disclosed. However, Detroit Media Partnership's president expressed happiness about the sale and the fact that Bedrock will be the building's new owner.

The historic building was designed by the famous architect Albert Kahn and constructed in 1917. According to the Free Press, Bedrock and its subsidiaries currently own and manage over 60 real estate properties around downtown Detroit. The properties together encompass over 9 million square feet of available space.

Michigan property management firm acquires $8.1 million complex

Maplegrove Property Management LLC, a Michigan real estate and property management firm, has finalized a deal to purchase a senior living facility and apartment complex in Ludington. The property management firm will now control the entire housing community, which boasts 172 individual apartments along with an independent senior residential facility.

The real estate firm purchased the property for $8.1 million, according to the broker who was representing the buyer during the transaction. Approximately $1.8 million of the capital used to make the purchase was acquired from various approved investors.

Indian tribe and state battle over Michigan land use

Indian tribes who build casinos on unused land often find it to be a profitable endeavor. A land use battle is taking place in Michigan over non-reservation land. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wants to build casinos on the land. However, a former U.S. congressman, who wrote the Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act that gave the tribe a monetary settlement,is fighting the application. He says that the land was not authorized to be used for gaming.

The tribe sought to put in trust land in Romulus and Lansing. In order to build casinos, which the tribe intends to do, it must also be proven that the land was purchased from 19th century land settlements. The tribe must also wait and see if the land can be put into a trust. It may take months to receive a response from the Department of Interior.

Cash purchases and sales of homes on the decline nationally

According to the real estate analysis firm Zillow, the number of cash real estate purchases has been dropping, even in Detroit, Michigan. This trend of cash purchases and sales being less prevalent can be seen all over the nation. It may be a sign that investor activity is fading and traditional home purchases are picking up.

During the first part of 2014, 53 percent of those residential real estate transactions were paid with cash. This represents a decline of about 70 percent as compared to the first part of 2011. At this time though, Detroit trails only the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, Cleveland and Tampa.

Investment group pays $900,000 for Michigan property

Another prime piece of Michigan commercial real estate has been taken off the market. The sale of the CPA Building in Detroit's Corktown was apparently closed at the end of May. The 11,000-square-foot property was on the market for more than 11 years before it sold. The property is located at the corner of 14th Street and Michigan Avenue and was last purchased for $380,000 in 1999. The six-story building was originally built in 1924 and was used for the Conductors Protective Association union.

The building is located across from the Michigan Central Depot property and Slows Bar BQ. The CPA Building was on the market as a suggested office or residential space, with the first floor being devoted to retail tenants. The building reportedly sold for $900,000 to an unnamed, out-of-state investment group.

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