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Development News

The new 250 Monroe Avenue is 'rebirth' for an old downtown space


With its massive interior renovations complete and construction wrapping up on its outdoor facade, the new 250 Monroe Calder Plaza Building connects with the street a lot different from the old site.

“The previous layout of the first floor was very set back from the street with dark tinted glass and [was] very ominous looking, so we opened up the entirety of the lobby,” says Kevin Stower, who alongside colleague Sinsa Simic is lead architect of the project from the Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates (HAA).

The first significant redesign the building has seen in almost 30 years, HAA worked with building owners to gut the 160,000-square-foot building and open up the first and second floors of the lobby. They also relocated the staircase to the south end of the building and added the floor-to-ceiling window on the north and east sides of the building.

Stower says though the renovation started out small, but the task at hand quickly grew as they realized the scope of the redesign.

“Our project scope started out as barely an interior renovation, but in order to facilitate what we had thought of as making a desirable workplace, we thought we had to provide a larger intervention for the building,” he says, referring to the redesign, which also includes a rooftop garden space, HAA’s creative solution to some much-needed green space. 

“City planning really encourages maintaining green space for development projects,” says Stower. “This was an existing building so they strive to maintain at least five percent green space in the existing footprint in the building and there wasn’t that existing so we had to manufacture space into an existing project.”

In accordance with the mandate HAA added streetscape planters in the atrium and transformed the former walk-out plaza space into a walking garden for employees.

“Overall, we were trying to give an old, dingy building a new identity and rebirth,” says Stower.

Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of CWD Real Estate
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