• Fri. Apr 16th, 2021

Detroit now has two buildings named The Randolph and we just have to deal with it

Stay with me on this one.

Downtown Detroit, at least for the time being, has two buildings named The Randolph right across the street from one another.

First, there is the former Lawyers Building at 139 Cadillac Square which has been redeveloped into apartments. That was renamed The Randolph as part of its new use.

Now comes the Old Wayne County Building, which has been put on the market for sale or lease by its New York-based ownership group, which hired the Southfield office of Los Angeles-based CBRE Inc. to broker a deal.

As part of that, the Old Wayne County Building, one of the central business district’s most iconic, is being rebranded as The Randolph.

So we have The First The Randolph and The Second The Randolph, or The Randolph Sr. and The Randolph Jr., if you will.

Of course, if the building sells, the new ownership could change its name, and order would be restored in the Ecosystem of Detroit Building Names.

And of course, some people — such as myself and perhaps my colleague Nick Manes — will continue to refer to it as the Old Wayne County Building in casual conversation.

Mike Ferlito, one of the owners of The First The Randolph, declined comment.

A spokesperson for CBRE declined to comment on why, instead of just calling it The [email protected] or The Randolph Office Building or The Horse Statue Building or Wayne Manor, I need to refer to it as The Second The Randolph in this space.

A keen Twitter user first pointed out the name situation to me this afternoon after I originally published this story.

The Old Wayne County Building — dubbed that because, well, it’s where the Wayne County government once had its executive branch offices — has 236,000 square feet at 600 Randolph St. It was renovated in a $7 million effort that wrapped up in 2018 by Lansing-based The Christman Co., which has an office in Detroit, and Quinn Evans Architects Inc., which has offices in Detroit and Ann Arbor. The project began in 2016.

The building is owned by 600 Randolph SN LLC, an investment group that paid $13.4 million for it and a 120-space surface parking lot in 2014. It was built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and has generally been considered most suited for a single occupant rather than multiple users because of its layout.

The building has sat vacant since 2009 after the county moved its executive branch employees into the Guardian Building. It was vacated after the county purchased the high-rise at 500 Griswold St. from Detroit-based Sterling Group in 2008 as part of a $14.5 million deal.

“Since acquiring the property in 2013, this trophy asset has been maintained and renovated to an institutional standard,” Brendan George, the CBRE senior vice president who is marketing the property with Jasper Hanifi, a CBRE associate, said in a statement.

“While preserving and showcasing this building’s history is a top priority, new occupants will also have an opportunity to modernize the building with standard technology and amenities,” George said.