Commercial Real Estate News Brief: September 2015

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In the latest edition of our monthly news brief, JLL’s regional team curates the top industry articles to keep you in-the-know. In this month’s edition, JLL spotlights green building trends, the Detroit Free Press returning to market, and a new crowdfunding platform for restaurants.

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JLL Supports Crowdfunding for Foodies

Bars and restaurants can revitalize a neighborhood.

With this belief, JLL has partnered with EquityEats, a crowdfunding platform for food and beverage businesses, to provide “capital raising solutions, connecting entrepreneurs and investors to the restaurant and bar industry.”

The concept is simple: JLL wants to support EquityEats’ mission to uplift communities and retail spaces with fresh new restaurants. In an investing activity that’s typically been done individually for restaurateurs, the crowdfunding platform will instead enable community members to support new restaurant projects.


According to Johann Moonesinghe, CEO of EquityEats, investors become their restaurant’s best customers. “…The restaurant is not only getting the capital that it needs to open, but it also gets a large loyal customer base,” Moonesinghe said.

The platform’s partnership with JLL will soon open restaurant crowdfunding opportunities across the country. Read more about it on JLL’s retail blog.

The Rise of Green Commercial Real Estate

Sustainability is a non-negotiable for businesses of the future, and it’s having a major impact on the American CRE and job market.

According to a recent article from JLL Real Views, the green building industry will likely account for more than one-third of all jobs in the U.S. construction sector in just four years. And, closer to home, the Midwest is no exception from the green building movement.

In Pittsburgh, the former LTV Coke Works site, “that once gobbled up massive amounts of fossil fuels,” will soon be carbon neutral, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The owners of the riverfront parcel are looking to develop a building that consumes no fossil fuels, planning to utilize solar, hydro and wind energy for the site.

Demand for eco-friendly buildings is projected to grow as organizations and business leaders prioritize sustainability into every aspect of the construction process.

Detroit Free Press Building Ready for New Life

The Detroit Free Press building is back on the market, and is priced 280.95% higher than its last purchase price in 2013.

The 302,000-square-foot building, located at 321 W. Lafayette, is listed at $16 million under JLL management. This is a significant increase from the property’s previous sale at $4.2 million to Chinese investment group DongDu International.

Detroit Free Press

Built in 1925, the Art-Deco-style building was designed by the legendary Albert Kahn, and was once home to the newspaper’s printing facilities. The building has been vacant since the office moved in 1998.

The property, located near the heart of downtown Detroit, is equipped to accommodate retail, office, multi-family or mixed-use development. 

CRE News Wrap-Up in Our Region


  • Cincinnati-based estate sale and auction startup, Everything but the House, is moving its headquarters downtown. The company plans to move into 18,000-square-foot office to “attract and retain better talent.
  • Specialty textile company, Legend Athletic Wear LLC, plans to open its first U.S. location in Cincinnati after receiving a 45%, five-year job creation tax credit valued at an estimated $78,000. The company plans to invest $1.4 million in the new to-be-determined facility, and to create 80 full-time jobs.


  • Columbus-born ad agency Resource/Ammirati combined its three former locations into a 54,000-square-foot office in downtown Columbus. Located at 250 S. High, the agency committed to the urban, business-centric location more than two years ago.
  • Exxcel Project Management has begun its 478,190-square-foot industrial project near the Rickenbacker International Airport. The warehouse will be built on 23 acres in the CenterPoint Business Park.


  • Stark Enterprises is planning to build a 100,000-square-foot multitenant office-retail property in Westlake’s Crocker Park. This major addition will come on the heels of American Greeting’s headquarters and creative studios project at the site.
  • French building materials company Saint-Gobain sold its U.S. distribution business, Norandex Building Materials, in Hudson, Ohio to Wisconsin roofing and siding distributor, ABC Supply Co. The transaction is expected to finalize before 2016.


  • A Dan Gilbert-affiliated entity used the First National Building to get a $70 million loan from an unidentified national lender. The building is being used as security on a loan worth approximately nine times what was paid for the building in 2011.
  • Cleveland’s Industrial Commercial Properties LLC and L.A.-based Industrial Realty Group LLC purchased Northline Industrial Center in a joint venture. The price for the 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse, located at 38481 W. Huron River Drive, is undisclosed. 


  • Faros Properties is launching “the largest collaborative workspace in western Pennsylvania,” in Nova Place as part of the firm’s redevelopment of the Allegheny Center. The new facility, Alloy 26, will offer space for more than 300 occupant start-ups and flexible space.
  • Developer Ashley Capital plans to build a new 316,000-square-foot industrial project on a 24-acre property in Findlay Industrial Park. The company expects to begin pursuing the speculative development soon.

Keep up with trends and relevant commercial real estate news throughout the Midwest on Twitter at @JLL_Spaces!