Friedman Negotiates Sale of 1M SF Historic Penobscot Building

Posted on May 7, 2012

Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions, is pleased to announce its negotiation of the sale of the historic Penobscot Building, an iconic three (3) tower office complex in Downtown Detroit. The nearly 1,000,000 SF building was sold on behalf of the owner, Capmark Financial to Toronto-based Triple Properties real estate firm.

Rising forty-seven stories tall, the Penobscot Building stood as Detroit’s tallest building for almost 50 years until the construction of the Renaissance Center in 1977. The Penobscot building is located in the heart of Detroit’s CBD overlooking Campus Martius Park and the Detroit River. As occupancy and rental rates continue to climb in the Detroit CBD, investor activity was highly elevated, with interested buyers from across the country. “We received tremendous activity at the property as the building lends itself to a variety of uses. With the buyer’s recent interest in the region and passion for the city’s transformation, they have shown a strong commitment to the building. We have a long standing history with the Penobscot, a vested interest in the revitalization of Detroit, and are looking forward to the building’s next chapter,” said Barry Swatsenbarg, National Director, Investment & Loan Sale Advisory Services for Friedman.

With the recent surge of entrepreneurial activity in the Woodward corridor, Penobscot was well poised to sell as it exists as a digital hub for the city’s wireless internet and fiber optic network, with significant data capacity on site. “Smart Detroit, which is located in the Penobscot building, has housed small startups for nearly a decade, providing resources to the local tech community,” said President & CEO, David Friedman. “We have witnessed a tremendous amount of start-up activity in Detroit these days, and with downtown housing occupancy rates near 98% and retail making a return, we look forward to this building once again playing a significant role in fueling future growth.”

Designed by architect Wirt C. Rowland of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, the Penobscot remains a striking symbol of the popular Art Deco architectural style of the 1920’s, with the building’s trademark red beacon sitting atop the structure’s highest point. Constructed of steel and topped with a red neon ball, the beacon was originally designed by the Claude Neon Company. Twelve feet in diameter, the ball is visible from forty miles and was used by aviators in the 1920’s to find their way.


Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions is one of the Midwest’s largest commercial real estate organizations. Friedman offers a full range of services that include: commercial brokerage, property and asset management,investment and loan sale advisory, turnaround management and receivership, space planning and design,construction and project management, graphic design and marketing in addition to a vast array of advisory services. We provide our clients with a single point of contact for the entire range of services we offer.

Friedman represents banks, special servicers, institutions, property owners, national and regional retailers, and commercial tenants in every size range. Friedman manages over 140 facilities encompassing more than 16M SF of commercial and multi-family properties throughout the country.

As owners and managers of commercial property for more than 25 years, Friedman understands what it takes to achieve results that maximize the client’s objectives.