Detroit Institute of Music Education
Detroit Institute of Music Education
Detroit Institute of Music Education
Detroit Institute of Music Education
  • Size:
  • Scope of work:
    Remodeled interior, complete MEP systems, new elevator systems.
  • Services rendered:
    Core & shell, historic renovation, tenant improvement
  • Contract amount:
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Detroit Institute of Music EducationDetroit, Michigan

The Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME), an accredited school offering three-year Bachelor’s of Arts programs, was seeking a building to begin their operations in Detroit. The DIME selected the former Bamlet/Capitol Square building at 1265 Griswold for its new location. Built in 1897, the building had several occupants and most recently sat vacant for many years, falling into disrepair, before being purchased by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services in 2013.

Sachse Construction was selected as the construction manager to renovate the six-story, 36,000 square foot building. The first four floors were prepared for the DIME. Sachse had less than four months (May to August, 2014) to complete the required work in order to accommodate the start of the DIME’s academic year.


Even though the DIME would only occupy four floors, all six floors of the building had experienced decay and no longer met city building codes. Special attention was needed to preserve the original architectural character of the building, including its arched corridors, memorable curved brick, and stone façade. Because of the DIME’s special entertainment and acoustic needs, the building required a modern stage to host live performances and accommodation for a sophisticated sound system.


Initial work on the building consisted of replacing broken windows, clearing years of debris from the interior and repairing the deteriorated brickwork – all of which contributed to the building being named to Detroit’s “Most Dangerous Buildings List” in 2012.

According to historians, previous remodels of the building’s ground floor was designed with cheap materials. This brickwork was torn down and rebuilt to match the standard of the original design and construction.

Additional work was performed to expose the original cast iron columns. The glass transom windows were replaced with a weatherproof version to maintain design and function.

After the exterior of the building was restored and secured from the elements, internal renovations began.

Previous offices were transformed into classrooms and music practice studios. Sound deadening materials were used extensively throughout the space, and rooms were designed with special considerations to acoustics. A 300-capacity live music venue called “Underground@DIME” was created for students and visitors to attend concerts weekly.

The result is a momentous structure that balances the specific needs of a modern music academy and the historic elements of one of Detroit’s most iconic buildings.


Overall, the Sachse team conquered a host of roadblocks to deliver a premium property within the parameters of a very aggressive schedule.

  • The 116-year old building required all new electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems to accommodate the new tenant and pass city codes.
  • Additional sound insulation was required between each floor due to the nature of DIME’s music business. This required an elaborate material installation that included pouring a concrete cap on each insulated wooden floor for a total of 14 inches of sound deadening material between floors.
  • Acoustic technology was installed in each classroom. This required selecting the latest and most effective noise control materials available on the market today.

Despite the aggressive schedule to accommodate the start of the school year, Sachse Construction effectively completed the project on time.