McIntosh Poris Associates Designs Multi-Family Communities For Urban Living

New Ground-Up Residential Projects Provide More Housing Options Around Detroit in 2017


McIntosh Poris Associates contributes to the city’s construction upswing by partnering with local developers and private companies to design new, ground-up, multi-family residential complexes in Detroit-area neighborhoods. Images (L-R): 3909 Woodward Garden Apartments (photo: Justin Maconochie); DuCharme Place (photo: DuCharme Place); Floyd Lofts and 750 Forest (renderings: McIntosh Poris Associates). Click here for high-resolution images.

DETROIT: For 22 years, McIntosh Poris Associates has been on a mission to transform buildings, communities, and urban centers to meet the demands of a modern-day Detroit.  Now, it’s working with local developers, private companies, and community stakeholders to design new, ground-up, multi-family residential complexes in Detroit-area neighborhoods.  The architects’ expertise in leading creative redevelopment programs has been sought out as a result of successfully revitalizing, building, and strengthening Detroit communities.  With one new building complete, and three anticipated for completion this year, McIntosh Poris Associates is contributing to the city’s upswing.

“Ground-up buildings are new territory for Detroit,” says Michael Poris, AIA, Principal of the award-winning architecture, interiors, and urban design firm.  “Many people associate Detroit with renovations and adaptive re-use developments, but the market is changing and revenue finally supports new construction.”

McIntosh Poris Associates has collaborated with developers to deliver multi-tenant complexes designed with high value and uncompromising quality to attract tenants seeking urban living, while ensuring projects are built on time and clients receive a return on investment.  An influx of young, educated creatives and professionals has inspired a reinvention of lifestyle communities to provide walkable access to work, shopping, dining, and entertainment.  Additionally, residents unable to afford rising housing costs in surrounding neighborhoods desire market-driven prices with comparable amenities.  McIntosh Poris Associates’ four new multi-tenant developments—3909 Woodward Garden Apartments and DuCharme Place in Detroit, and Floyd Lofts and 750 Forest in Birmingham—provide solutions to these city-wide dilemmas with intelligent planning, humanistic design, and market-rate values.

These ground-up residential complexes add to McIntosh Poris Associates’ portfolio of multi-family developments.  Throughout the years, the firm has helped save many of Detroit’s 20th-century landmark buildings, historic districts, and iconic neighborhoods.  The restoration and preservation of Detroit sites has led to successful conversions of many vacant, historic buildings into mixed-use and multi-tenant living units.  Notable projects include the 12-story Park Shelton, previously the 1926 Wardell Hotel, into 220 condos, and the two-story 400 Parent Avenue Lofts, formerly a lumber warehouse, into eight condo loft units.  The architects have also designed affordable housing to reinvigorate neglected neighborhoods back into vital urban centers.  The award-winning Genesis Villas at Medbury Park, a low-income, subsidized-housing community with 89 townhomes started, in the 1990s, to provide an innovative model to an economically devastated area.  It restored a sense of pride to a once-forgotten district that included the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant—birthplace of the Model T.

Mixed-Use Development Revitalizes Detroit’s Main Boulevard
The five-story, mixed-use 3909 Woodward Garden Apartments was completed as part of the final phase of a 15-year-long development to bring new life to the 3900 block of Woodward Avenue in Detroit’s Midtown District.  The building features 11,000 square feet of commercial, retail, and educational space on the ground level, including the Michigan Research Studio and Comcast XFINITY store and business center (both designed by McIntosh Poris Associates), and 61 market-rate rental apartment units, consisting of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units on floors two through five.  The light-filled units feature high ceilings, abundant windows, exposed steel columns and ceilings, bamboo floors, and open plans.  The architects developed a loose interpretation of a “masonry exterior” and creatively designed the façade with a highly efficient fiber-cement rainscreen panel system.  The dynamic façade introduced the use of color and a panel joint composition.  The building’s amenities include access to an outdoor terrace located on the second floor, which provides a private retreat and ensures all units benefit from natural light.  It’s attracted tenants who seek to be a part of a highly thriving cultural, educational, and creative community in Midtown.

Modernist Landmark Receives First Lifestyle Community in 40 Years
The 185-unit, $45-million luxury apartment complex DuCharme Place, adjacent to Detroit’s Mies Van der Rohe Historic District in Lafayette Park, will be the area’s first new community in more than 40 years.  The complex will comprise four mid-rise buildings, with luxury residences, totaling 188,500 square feet.  It will include studio, one- and two-bedroom rental apartment units ranging from 500 to 1,100 square feet.  DuCharme’s location in one of Detroit’s most venerated examples of modern architecture and urban planning, Lafayette Park, inspired the architects to continue Mies’ legacy by choosing materials, such as brick, metal, and glass, that recall the modernist palette.  The contemporary and energy-efficient design will feature an exterior insulated rainscreen, locally glazed brick cladding, and the largest live green roof terrace in Detroit, complete with Zen garden, fitness center, lawn, and swimming pool.  The organization of buildings around courtyards and nature are based on Mies’ plans at Lafayette Park.  With more two-bedroom units than one-bedroom units, DuCharme expects to attract empty nesters, young families, couples, and urban professionals who have been priced out of downtown, seek more living space, and value luxury design in a vibrant community with abundant outdoor amenities.  DuCharme is scheduled to open in May 2017.

Walkable Neighborhood Provides Easy Access to Urban Enthusiasts
The two- and one half-story, 8,905-square-foot Floyd Lofts in Birmingham, MI, will be designed as a multi-family apartment residence, featuring eight one- and two-bedroom units, with balconies in each unit offering scenic views to the adjacent park.  The market-rate rental apartment units, ranging from 800 to 1,140 square feet, are designed to have a loft-like feeling with large windows and an open floor plan.  The first-floor one-bedroom units will have a private entry, while the second-floor units will feature 16-foot-tall ceilings to accommodate a 400-square-foot mezzanine for an additional bedroom, office, or den.  The building addresses housing needs for young professionals and millennials seeking new construction apartments under 1,200 square feet.  Its contemporary design—combined with the walking distance to downtown, park view, and surrounding neighborhood—provides residents the amenities they need for enjoyable urban living in one of the most walkable communities in Michigan.  Floyd Lofts is scheduled to open in late 2017.

Premier Community Offers Luxury Housing at Market-Rate Value
The 37,400-square-foot, mixed-use 750 Forest in Birmingham, MI, will include 22 for purchase condo units with terraces and balconies.  The mid-rise building will be divided in two zoning classifications with three stories on the east half and five stories on the west half.  First-floor amenities will include 850 square feet of retail space, as well as the residential lobby, fitness room, package room, and utility areas.  The building will feature common areas for residents on the third-floor rooftop, which will include a seating area, fire pit, social space, and dog run.  A small basement under the residential lobby will provide individual storage units.  The building is geared to attract empty nesters looking to downsize and professionals seeking market-rate luxury housing within a premier community.  750 Forest is scheduled to open in late 2017.

McIntosh Poris Associates is a full-service architecture, interiors, and urban design firm.  Founded in 1994 by Michael Poris, AIA, and the late Douglas McIntosh, the firm transforms buildings, communities, and urban centers with architecture created through dialogue.  Since 1994, McIntosh Poris Associates has won more than 100 awards for single- and multi-family residential, mixed-use, commercial, hospitality, institutional, and arts projects throughout Michigan, California, Connecticut, New York, and Ontario for private, public, and non-profit clients.