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Bedrock Selects ODA as Architect For Book Tower Rehabilitation

September 4, 2019

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Bedrock Selects ODA as Architect For Book Tower Rehabilitation

Historic site to contain mix of residential, hospitality, retail and office space

following more than a decade of vacancy

Public invited to tour Book Tower on Sept. 7


September 4, 2019 (Detroit, MI) —Bedrock has appointed ODA as Design Architect on Book Tower, the most ambitious adaptive reuse project in the Detroit-based real estate firm’s portfolio.

Known throughout the global architecture community for their innovative work on historically significant renovations like Rotterdam’s POSTKantoor and New York City’s 10 Jay, ODA will apply their expertise to designing a mix of residential, hospitality, retail and office space at the Book Tower.

The 486,760 square-foot structure, which was designed by Louis Kemper in 1916 in an Italian Renaissance style, was originally built as an office tower and took a decade to complete. Acquired by Bedrock in 2015, the extensive exterior restoration was recently completed, including the replacement of 2,483 historically-accurate windows and full restoration of the ornamental cornice complete with caryatid statues. A historic art glass skylight will be brought back to its original splendor as part of Bedrock’s work with ODA (see lobby rendering.)

“The Book Tower has been an iconic part of Detroit’s skyline for nearly a century, and throughout the meticulous exterior restoration process it became clear we needed to partner with an architect that understands how to leverage modern uses in a way that preserves the unique historic details that has endeared this building to Detroiters for generations,” said Melissa Dittmer, Chief Design Officer at Bedrock. “We are excited to work with ODA to add to the momentum on Washington Boulevard, which is already home to thriving local businesses and a well-established residential community with destination dining and hospitality options.”

ODA’s strategic role is to update and expand on Book Tower’s programming and existing structures, creating nearly 500,000 square feet of downtown residential, hospitality, retail and office space. The restoration of this 38-story landmark will provide an opportunity to create a cohesive civic vision for Washington Boulevard; bringing people, place, and events together. The building’s residents and guests will share amenity spaces throughout the different levels as well as awe-inspiring entertaining spaces on the roof of the Book Building portion of the property.

“The objective is to add a forward-looking mixed-use program to Detroit’s growing downtown that will meet the needs of businesses, visitors and residents alike. Bedrock has been an important catalyst, understanding the important role that architecture plays in the systemic evolution of cities,” said Eran Chen, founding principal of ODA. “Restoring, designing and engineering the conversion of a legacy structure requires the utmost reverence for the remarkable history of the Book Tower, but also the vision and ambition to deliver a civic hub that complements the movement happening in Downtown Detroit.”

ODA’s plans include a blend of public and private space, including a variety of public amenities in the form of retail, galleries, restaurants and cafe – many with open sight lines to Washington Boulevard and Grand River Avenue – adding to the city’s pedestrian experience. Accessible from multiple sides, the building will once again serve as a point of engagement in the city center, a link between Grand Circus Park, all the way to the Cobo Center. Detroiters will be offered a renewed take on a building full of memories, plus the chance to enjoy several modern leisure spaces in the building.

In addition to ODA, Bedrock has engaged the expertise of the following local Detroit firms to round out the comprehensive restoration of Book Tower:

  • Brinker / Christman, A Joint Venture, construction manager
  • Kraemer Design Group, historic preservation
  • Giffels Webster, civil engineering
  • Buro Happold, MEP, structural, lighting, façade
  • ARUP, acoustics, IT/comms, security, sustainability

The public is invited to tour the Book Tower as part of Detroit Design 139, an exhibition focusing on projects in Detroit that embody “inclusive futures.” Join Bedrock officials and ODA architects for “A Look Inside Book Tower on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 1:30-6 p.m. Click here for more information.


About ODA

ODA is an office of architecture based in New York. Since its inception in 2007, ODA has quickly emerged as one of the most recognized firms of its generation, promptly establishing a reputation for delivering imaginative and mold – breaking designs. Seeking to reorder architectural priorities by putting people first, ODA challenges conventional perspectives of dwelling that will, over time, influence life in our cities. Through a range of projects, ODA seeks to reconcile the conditions of vertical urban living with the qualities which benefit and nurture us as human beings. This prolific firm has designed and built more than 50 projects in New York City alone and are expanding their breadth of work into US cities such as Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as overseas in London, Paris and Rotterdam – making them uniquely positioned to lead the discourse of living in urban environments. ODA’s buildings celebrate life, catalyzing change in their immediate environments. www.oda-architecture.com


About Bedrock

Detroit-based Bedrock is a full-service real estate firm specializing in acquiring, developing, leasing, financing and managing commercial and residential buildings. Since its founding in 2011, Bedrock and its affiliates have invested and committed more than $5.6 billion to acquiring and developing more than 100 properties, including new construction of ground up developments in downtown Detroit and Cleveland totaling more than 18 million square feet.

Bedrock’s real estate portfolio consists of 210 office tenants and 125 retailers and restaurants in Detroit’s technology-centric downtown, the majority of which are new to the market including Microsoft, Quicken Loans, LinkedIn, StockX, Ally Bank’s national headquarters, Fifth Third Bank’s regional headquarters, WeWork, Madewell, Under Armour, Shake Shack and countless others.

Bedrock is currently developing four transformational projects including the Hudson’s Site, Monroe Blocks, Book Tower renovation and One Campus Martius expansion. Bedrock is also undergoing construction of City Modern, a community development in Detroit’s Brush Park neighborhood. Partnering with Detroit-based Shinola, Bedrock developed the world’s first Shinola Hotel on Woodward Avenue, which opened in early 2019.

Bedrock is dedicated to creating jobs for Detroiters and investing in job training. Over the last year, the company has invested in both the Randolph & Breithaupt Career and Technical Centers to build a pipeline of talent for Detroit’s growing economy.

Creating unique experiences through real estate is Bedrock’s mission. To make this a reality, Bedrock and its affiliates continuously invest in significant public art installations and placemaking initiatives throughout the city.

For more information on Bedrock’s business model, visit the For More Than Profit book. For more information on Bedrock’s projects, visit bedrockdetroit.com or engage with us on Twitter and Facebook.

Click here to view a complete timeline of Bedrock and the Rock Family of Companies’ engagement within the Detroit community.