June 8, 2021

A New Lease on Life for a Howell Landmark


It’s been a signature building in downtown Howell since the 1950s, when Citizens Insurance erected it as a company headquarters. At 108,000 square feet, it even served as a community bomb shelter during the Cold War.

But, at nearly 80 percent vacant, it needed a new vision.

The building’s owners, headquartered in Detroit, were ready to sell it to someone who would bring that new vision to the community landmark. They came to the Thomas Duke Company because they’d been on the other end of a deal with us. As purchasers of a Detroit property we’d listed, they were not only impressed with our way of doing business. They knew we know Howell.

We do. We could imagine the Citizens building repositioned as a multi-tenant property housing both general and medical offices. And we knew who, in our client base, had just the right combination of creativity and bullishness on Howell to make it happen.

That client percolated the idea and came back to us ready not only to buy the building, but with plans to add a second main entrance with an atrium, elevator, and drive-up canopy, creating much better access.

One of Howell’s signature properties has gotten the new lease on life it deserves. Look for the 645 Grand Building to reopen this summer!

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