• Size:
    160,000 (total); 14,000 (retail)
  • Scope of work:
    Renovation of 127 multi-family apartments, lobby restoration, common space build out, tenant build out
  • Services rendered:
    Core & shell, historic renovation, tenant improvement/build-out, new MEP
  • Contract amount:
    $8,000,000
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The Albert – Capitol ParkDetroit, Michigan

Project Description:

The Albert was designed by famed architect Albert Kahn and opened in 1929 as an office building. Purchased in 2013, the building was renovated into 127 luxury 1- and 2-bedroom apartment units featuring high-end amenities and services, as well as ground-level retail space.

The Albert is the first development to be completed in Detroit’s Capitol Park district, which is the city’s next high-profile area for investment.

Scope of Work:

When purchased, The Albert was in severe disrepair from neglect and fire damage from years before. Sachse Construction and Kraemer Design Group set out to maintain the historic and design integrity of the building while incorporating modern systems and amenities. To add further logistical challenges, Sachse undertook an open renovation where tenants occupied certain floors during construction and new residents moved in as units were completed.

Sachse Construction installed modern electrical, HVAC and plumbing in the 84-year-old building. Sachse created an exposed ceiling with a drop resembling “floating” clouds in the lobby and continued the theme through the third floor common area. A third-floor open balcony overlooking Capitol Park was retained and updated for three-season tenant use. An original terrazzo floor was discovered in the common area under layers of flooring and the material was repurposed throughout the third floor. For the convenience of tenants, broadband Internet was made available throughout the building.

Apartment units were updated with gourmet kitchens, designer lighting and solar shade window treatments that balanced the feeling of old and new. In a nod to the building’s historic beginnings, chevron patterned tile was laid on the floors and subway tile in the shower surrounds.

Challenges:

During the renovation, Sachse Construction worked with Rossetti Architects on the design of the building’s entry, corridors and third floor lounge. The objective was to balance Albert Kahn’s original style with modern design and functionality.

Scheduling and logistics provided significant challenges for the project. Renovation took place floor by floor to accommodate tenants living and moving into the building. A dedicated tenant elevator, temporary lobby and accessible laundry space insolated tenants from construction while providing the necessary amenities. Maximum tenant comfort was achieved through dedicated quiet hours and working to reduce dust/debris during renovation.

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

  • Lack of access to multiple elevators and without a single freight elevator;
  • Six-week deadline to complete three floors (36 apartments) and the third-floor common area;
  • Coordinating the hoisting of a 60-ton corridor makeup air unit to the building’s roof to allow fresh air to circulate into the building;
  • Rebuilding retail store façades including the canopy and glass windows that matched the building’s original design. The exterior façade also required locating matching tiles from the 1920’s to replace tiles that were six stories above the ground;

With constant communication and careful planning between the owner, architect, and construction manager, the project was successfully completed on time.