When breaking into the Southfield property market, Foster Financial Company, Inc. considered different properties in various business districts of the city. The properties they viewed weren’t always the right fit for Foster Financial’s business model, but the experience opened their eyes to what Southfield has to offer.
They got to know Central Park Plaza, a 6-story, 130,000 square foot office building at 26211 Central Park Boulevard, near Arbor Lofts. Pretty soon, they knew they had found their sweet spot. The building was at 50 percent occupancy and badly needed updates, but that didn’t deter Brad Foster, owner of Foster Financial, and his business partner Doug Noble. They purchased the building in September 2017, and in just 16 months, have increased occupancy to 93 percent.
“It had been foreclosed on a couple of times. It was 50 percent vacant. It was a cursed building that no one could ever make work,” says Noble. “We knew it was perfect. Right up our alley.”
With an improvement mindset, Foster Financial’s ownership style is unique. The first thing they did was renovate both lobbies, and met with current tenants to discuss their individual plans. They created their own construction company to outfit more space when tenants wanted to expand, and selected standard finishes that are of a higher quality that most office owners.
“We have full-glass conference rooms, chandeliers, and subway tiles in the kitchens, LVT and hardwood flooring, and creative reception spaces,” says Noble.
The diverse tenant mix at Central Park Plaza includes government agency, medical administrative, legal, insurance, automotive supply, security, charter school management, and home healthcare.
Detroit gets a lot of credit for making a comeback, but Foster and Noble are impressed with the accessibility of the Southfield City Centre and the significant improvements and added amenities throughout the district. Foster, in particular, likes the ease of traffic movement that the dual traffic circles on Evergreen Road provide.
“You never get congestion on Evergreen because there are no lights to get stuck at,” he says.
Central Park Plaza was Foster Financial’s first investment in Southfield, but it is not the company’s last. In January Foster acquired Lahser Center, a 175,000 square-foot building at Lahser Road and the Lodge Freeway. Since closing, the company has signed $35,000 in new leases in the building.
“We are big fans of the Southfield story, and it doesn’t get enough publicity,” says Foster. “Everything you hear is about Detroit and new developments. But there is a strong demand for people to have beautiful offices with half the rent [of Detroit].”