New life in Detroit: The Scott at Brush Park

By: Dan Rafter

The Scott at Brush Park is an important project for downtown Detroit. The $65 million, 200,000-square-foot five-story mixed-use development will bring 199 new apartment units to the city when it opens later this year. For Todd Sachse, chief executive officer and founder of Detroit-based Sachse Construction, the project is yet more proof that this Midwest city is in the middle of a turnaround.

Sachse, whose firm led the construction efforts, said that the Scott at Brush Park is the first institutional-grade mixed-use development in Detroit in several decades.

In addition to the apartment units, the project will include a 300-car parking deck and 15,000 square feet of retail space.

“As far as new construction goes, it is a pretty big, bold statement,” Sachse said. “In another city, it might not be that big of a deal. It might be something that is happening every day. But it is a powerful statement that this is happening in Detroit.”

Sachse said that it’s possible to see several similar mixed-use developments that have been built in Midwest cities such as Columbus, Minneapolis and Chicago. But for Detroit, such major investments are still a rarity, he said.

What makes the project so important? Sachse said that it’s significant that there is a market demand for these apartments. People want to live in downtown Detroit, a significant change from just five years ago. It’s a positive sign, too, that there are believers of the project who work in the capital markets, Sachse said.

“This product type has been proven throughout the country. The only question was whether people would move to Detroit to take advantage of this type of project,” Sachse said. “Is there a market for people who traditionally have not been willing to live in Detroit? Are people now willing to move here? Fortunately, the answer has been ‘yes.’ That has been proven with other multifamily projects over the last 18 to 24 months. There is significant demand for this type of product.”

Broder & Sachse Real Estate Services, the parent company of Sachse Construction, earlier developed The Albert, another mixed-use apartment project in downtown Detroit. That project is steadily filling up. At the same time, other developers are working on additional mixed-use multifamily/retail projects near or in the city’s downtown.

“There is now traction and proof that this product type can work in Detroit,” Sachse said. “This is now the next big thing. There is a real velocity of people who want to live and work in downtown Detroit.”

As with many new urban apartment projects, the focus at the Scott is not on the apartment units themselves. These units will be modern and spacious. But Sachse said that it’s the community aspect of the project that his company is most excited about. This means that Sachse has paid plenty of attention to the common areas.

The Scott will have lounges, a library and conference center. The building’s entire second level is an outdoor swimming pool with sun deck and year-round whirlpool spa. A heated concrete deck will surround this area, so that using the spa is pleasant no matter the weather outside. There is an outdoor park area for cooking, picnicking and barbecuing. The exercise facility, Sachse said, resembles a miniature L.A. Fitness.

“The project is not your typical apartment community,” Sachse said. “The units? Those are just the four walls. To me, it is really about the community that is being created. Our philosophy is that it’s not just the apartment building, but a community.”

And in the best news of all? This new project is on schedule to open in December of 2016.

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