One of downtown’s most handsome buildings is getting a makeover. Mark D. Croce and James F. Jerge are teaming up to convert the C.W. Miller Livery Stable (aka Hertz Parking Garage) at 73-77 W. Huron Street into a mix of retail, residential and possibly office space. The project carries a $12 million price tag.
McGuire Development Co. has been retained as an owner representative to coordinate the work. Carmina Wood Morris is preparing design concepts for the project that is expected to utilize historic preservation tax credits.
“Projects are getting larger and larger,” says Croce. “It makes sense to team up with McGuire Development to help steer the project.”
Croce and Jerge purchased the 100,000 sq.ft. building and an adjoining parking lot in 2003 for $1.85 million as a long-term investment. Croce, who has been busy for two years bringing Statler City back to life, is now focusing on his other projects downtown.”
“The market and timing is perfect to bring this property online,” says Croce. “It’s been on the back-burner for quite a while until I had the Statler stabilized and on track.”
The development team is contemplating two reuse scenarios for the building. There is an office tenant considering taking two floors of the building. If that tenant is signed, there would be two floors of parking (basement and partial first floor), two floors of office space, and three floors of apartments.
If the office tenant does not sign, the building will be all residential. Both reuse plans would include approximately 1,000 sq.ft. of first floor retail space. Croce says he will not build speculative office space and if the building goes residential it would contain around 50 units.
“This is a premier location for residential,” says Croce. “You are walking distance to hotels, government buildings, courthouses, restaurants, and offices.”
The C.W. Miller Livery Stable was designed by Lansing & Beierl and constructed between 1892 and 1894. It is 60′ wide along W. Huron Street and is 265′ deep. Walls are brick above a massive stone foundation. The Huron Street facade features three vehicle bays surrounded by cut sandstone walls, an arcade of pilasters and round arches, and terra cotta moldings and spandrels. Wood floors in the building are suspected from steel trusses in the attic with hanging pin connected eyebars and I-beams designed to limit obstructions on the floors below. These steel trusses will be incorporated into the residential units on the top floor (photo below).
According to the National Registry Form completed by Francis Kowsky and Martin Wachadlo in 2007, at the time of construction, the Miller stable attracted national attention in the engineering press for its system of construction and the ample accommodations it provided for horses and the storage of carts, carriages and sleighs.
The second and third floors originally housed stalls for approximately 250 horses. The fourth floor was originally used for carriage storage and the fifth floor housed repair shops. Hay was stored on the sixth floor. Around 1925 the building became a parking garage.
Croce is also working to secure financing to convert the adjacent Curtiss Building into a boutique hotel. Work on the hotel project was postponed and redesigned to reduce the amount of banquet space after Croce purchased the Statler. He reports that there are lenders interested in the project but that financing for hotel-only projects remains challenging.
Croce says that residential tenants at the Livery will have access to the hotel amenities including the fitness facility, rooftop patio, and outdoor urban “hot springs.”
“It will be great to bring them both online,” he says. “There is pent-up demand for downtown residences. We’re excited about it.”
Work on the Livery project is scheduled to start this fall with roof and skylight repairs to allow interior work to continue through the winter.