December 11, 2016 12:01 a.m. UPDATED 12/16/2016
Vision Investment buys 2 buildings in Detroit
By TOM HENDERSON
Detroit Real Estate
Photo by CoStar Group Inc. The buildings at 1315 Broadway (left) and 1224-1234 Randolph will be redeveloped into residential, commercial or office space.
Vision Investment Partners LLC, a family office that launched in August in Bloomfield Hills with a fund of more than $15 million, has made its first two real estate investments, buying a pair of four-story buildings in downtown Detroit — a building known as Bert’s on Broadway at 1315 Broadway, and a building at 1224-1234 Randolph St.
“We’re thrilled. We’ve been looking at Detroit for quite some time and when this came up, we moved very quickly to put it under contract,” said Kevin Denha, president of Vision Investment’s real estate group.
“We’ll work with the city of Detroit and Bedrock and the other property owners in the area to make sure we fit in with everything going on in the area and make sure our development is complementary and in tune with everything else,” said Denha, the mention of Bedrock LLC referring to Dan Gilbert’s growing real-estate empire in downtown Detroit.
Vision Investment has retained Jonna Luxury Homes of Birmingham as the property developer and Detroit-based Archive Design Studio as the architect.
“I’ll take the project through all the city processes and coordinate whatever incentives we find,” said Joey Jonna, the owner of Jonna Luxury Homes.
The buildings were bought from Jeffrey Serman. Denha declined to disclose a sale price. He said it hasn’t been determined, yet, how the buildings will be developed. “It could be residential, it could be commercial, it could be office. We don’t honestly know yet. We’ll do everything we need to maximize the value of the properties.”
“This all happened so quickly, we haven’t had time to do due diligence,” said Jonna. “We need to get in there and see exactly what the space is.”
He said all the retail space on the ground floor is leased out but the rest of the two buildings has been empty for years. Tenants of the Randolph building include two bars, The Baltimore and The Well. Jonna said public documents give conflicting numbers for the amount of square footage in each.
He estimated the Bert’s building at 14,000-15,000 square feet and the Randolph building at 16,000-18,000 square feet.
“We’ll know soon. We do it now with lasers and get each measurement down to the inch,” he said.
“I’m a residential guy, primarily. High-end residential is my specialty,” said Jonna. “If there’s an opportunity for that and we can work it out, I’d be up for that. But my interest is a successful development, and I’m not wedded to residential.”
He said it would take three to six months to get permits and approvals, decide on how to develop each building and get started. He declined to speculate on a finish date.
“If it’s office, it takes less time than residential,” he said.
Jonna Luxury Homes is also developing Russell Flats, an 82-unit apartment community in Eastern Market scheduled to open in spring of 2018.
In September, Mike Sarafa, until recently the president of the Bank of Michigan in Farmington Hills and the former head of the Associated Food Dealers of Michigan, was recruited to help run Vision Investment Partners.
Its funding came from two pairs of brothers, Mark and Kevin Denha and Omar and Saber Ammori, who had sold a minority but substantial interest in Bloomfield Hills-based Wireless Vision Holdings LLC, which owns and runs 270 T-Mobile retail stores across the country.
Vision Investment Partners is also the franchisee in Michigan for Jamba Juice, a California-based seller of what it describes as healthy smoothies with 1,000 stores worldwide.
There are three stores in Michigan, in Livonia, Canton and Shelby Township, with plans to open 20 more, with the next three planned for Ann Arbor, Roseville and Waterford.