For over 30 years, Broderick Tower, at 10 Witherell in Detroit, stood empty and deteriorating. The 34-story skyscraper, built in 1928 as Eaton Tower, was once full of tiny offices and scores of small business including its own radio station.
Suburban flight in the ’70s and early ’80s took its toll and it was essentially abandoned in 1985. In 1997 the building received a burst of interest as famed artist Wyland painted a mural on the side called “Whale Tower,” which was covered over with advertising in 2010 as a way to help fund the renovation.
But now Broderick Tower is making a comeback, with renovations nearly complete and an expected opening date of September for three floors of commercial office space and 125 residential dwelling units ranging in price from $650 a month to $5,000 for a three-story penthouse suite.
The most prestigious apartments have already been leased. In fact, 75 of the 125 units are already spoken for as tenants clamor for the best views and the most unique layouts.
“We did our best to work with the features of the building that were already here. That was in part to save money, and in part because that’s what people want. We’ve found that when people move into historical renovations they like the character that’s left,” says Project Coordinator Fred Beal of Beal Construction, as he points out places where plaster was left with its imperfectly wavy plane. In the areas around the elevators, marble and other features were left in place when possible, removed where it was too far gone. Though the building was remarkably in tact, it was just full of junk.
Tenants from the ’80s left things behind, including rooms full of old medical and dental equipment, moldy furniture and desks covered in bird dropping. Over the years, Broderick Tower was a favorite place for urban spelunkers and kids looking for a place to graffiti, though it was notoriously well-sealed and hard to access, meaning it wasn’t a good target for squatters or scavangers. Old pictures show the unique character of both the former tenants and the intruders who have visited since.
Now with bright new windows, black marble countertops, custom cabinets, eco-friendly washers and dryers, and 9-foot ceilings, the rooms in Broderick Tower are nearly as appealing as the view.
“The view is obviously the biggest selling point,” says Beal, noting that the building is in the heart of Detroit, with many residents being able to view Tigers games at Comerica Park, or just watch the buzz of the city from their oversized windows.
For those that don’t want to stay in their rooms, the ground level and basement will have restaurants and bars. There will be a fitness center, a coin-operated laundry room and access to the underground parking garage right across the street.
The redevelopment project is being undertaken by Motown Construction Partners, with the Higgins Family remaining the dominant interest. For more information on rental living in Broderick Tower, visit http://brodericktower.com.