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$1 million renovation of Viola Building in Eastern Market begins

$1 million renovation of Viola Building in Eastern Market begins

A $1 million renovation of the Viola Building in Eastern Market began this week as its new owner eyes office tenants and a new retailer or restaurant on the ground level.

The 27,000-square-foot building, located on the busy southeast corner of Gratiot Avenue and Russell Street sold for $1.99 million last December to 1404 Gratiot LLC, a business entity tied to real estate investor Manoj Manwani.

The top four floors of the five-story building are being marketed as office space, and the 4,000-square-foot first level and 3,000-square-foot basement is targeted for new retail, said Steven Silverman of Friedman Real Estate, which is handling leasing of the space.

Longtime retailer Discount Candles operates on the ground floor of the building, but has been on a month-to-month lease since the end of March, Silverman said. It is likely that the candle shop will lose its place in the building to make way for a new restaurant or retail shop.

“If there’s an A-class tenant interested, we’re going to move them out of the building,” Silverman said.

The new lease rate of $28 to $30 per square foot will likely price out the candle shop, said Mike Koenigbauer, of Friedman Real Estate.

“When you buy a building for $2 million and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on renovations, the price goes up,” Koenigbauer said.

Continue reading full article on Crain’s Detroit Business.

Kurt Nagl, Crain's Detroit Business