Kirk Pinho, Crain’s Detroit Business | April 30, 2021
- Plante Moran takes eight additional floors in Town Center, closes Victor Center to merge offices
- New space in 3000 Town Center creates 192,600-square-foot office for Southfield-based firm
- Deal is one of the largest to take place during the COVID-19 global pandemic
Plante Moran is consolidating its two Southfield offices in one of the most substantial office transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The accounting, tax advisory, real estate and wealth management firm says it has shuttered its owned 125,000-square-foot office at 27400 Northwestern Hwy. in the Victor Center building, put it up for sale for an undisclosed price and is leasing an additional eight floors in the Southfield Town Center in addition to the four it already takes.
“Our Northwestern Highway location was a wonderful property that served us well but we outgrew it with the success of the firm,” Teresa Pollack, group managing partner who oversees Plante Moran’s offices, said in a statement emailed to Crain’s on Friday. “The move to Town Center satisfies two objectives: uniting what had turned into two separate offices, and creating a modern space that will be great for our team members and clients for years to come.”
That move puts the firm on the first through 12th floors of the 32-story 3000 Town Center tower.
Previously the firm had about 50,200 square feet; the new floors add about 142,400 square feet, bringing its footprint to about 192,600 square feet, according to a spokesman for Plante Moran. The 3000 Town Center high-rise is 584,000 square feet, according to CoStar Group Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based real estate information service. Data in CoStar shows that the expanded Plante Moran office will be the building’s largest user.
The office combination marks one of the largest office deals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Others include Volkswagen of America renewing its lease for nearly 360,000 square feet in Auburn Hills after seriously exploring a move to Southfield, as well as a corporate headquarters relocation for Marelli North America Inc. into the 188,000 square feet of the former Federal-Mogul Corp. building at 26555 Northwestern Hwy. in Southfield. The new lease was signed March 13, 2020, at the onset of the global pandemic.
Plante Moran’s new office is designed by Southfield-based architecture and planning firm HED and the general contractor is Detroit-based Sachse Construction. A build-out cost was not disclosed. Plante Moran’s real estate division, Plante Moran CRESA, represented Plante Moran while Transwestern represented the landlord in the deal.
The combined office will have approximately 880 people, with 550 of them coming from the Victor Center building.
Minus “a small number of essential technology staff,” Plante Moran’s employees in Metro Detroit are currently working from home, the spokesperson said.
A formal announcement of the new office is expected next month when the construction is completed, said John Irving, the Plante Moran spokesperson.
The company’s existing offices in Auburn Hills, Macomb Township, Detroit and Ann Arbor will not be affected by the consolidation.
According to CoStar, the asking rent in the 3000 Town Center tower is $16 per square foot per year to $24 per square foot per year, plus the cost of electric.
Transwestern manages and leases Southfield Town Center, which is 2.2 million square feet. In 2014, New York City-based 601W Cos. paid $177.5 million for the complex. In 2018, Crain’s reported that the complex had undergone some $56 million in renovations, including tenant improvement allowances, under 601W’s ownership.
Among its major leases recently, Secure-24 took about 100,000 square feet in the building for its new headquarters in 2019.
The 2014 sale of the Southfield Town Center came about after a mortgage default.
According to commercial mortgage-backed securities data from Bloomberg LP at the time, Blackstone Group LP failed to pay the balance due on a $235 million mortgage on the property originated in 2004 by Irving, Calif.-based Greenwich Capital Financial Products Inc. The loan was transferred to Wells Fargo Bank NA for special servicing.
A loan modification letter originally stipulated that Blackstone pay the balance by Nov. 5, 2012. The complex was appraised in the summer 2014 at $177.5 million, 45 percent below a 2004 appraisal of $321 million, according to Bloomberg loan data.