Case Studies

Strathmore Apartments – The Monahan Company

Revitalizing Detroit begins with the restoration of historic buildings

Originally built in 1924, the building that was once the historical Strathmore Hotel is now home to Strathmore Apartments. This eight-story facility, formerly vacant for 11 years, now offers 129 affordable and market-priced apartments for Detroit residents. The developer of the project, Midtown Detroit Inc., turned to The Monahan Company to provide general contracting and construction management services on this revitalization effort, which began in October 2014 and will achieve occupancy in May 2016.

Strathmore Apartments - The Monahan Company

Ten years ago the thought that such a run-down, empty facility such as the Strathmore building would be reborn into a beautiful residential property would be hard to imagine. “Before it was vacant it was a run down, low-end residence for about 15 years,” says W. Dan Monahan, project director for The Monahan Company. “The building degraded for a long time, but the neighborhood surrounding it became strong and continues to grow.” Today the housing demand in the area remains at approximately 95 percent for apartments and condominiums.

Anticipated challenges

Renovating an old building in such poor condition was not without some of the typical challenges for such an undertaking. “The biggest obstacle we were presented with was the fact that the facility was a cast-concrete structure,” says Monahan. “There were very closely spaced concrete joists in the floor, which made the vertical installations very challenging.”

With a restoration project that involves a historical structure, one of the most rewarding aspects for an owner or general contractor is the reception of the project within the community. Monahan says that Strathmore Apartments has been welcomed with opened arms by the local residents and businesses. “Given the fact that the Strathmore is one of the largest buildings in the Midtown neighborhood, everybody seems to be pretty fired up about its restoration,” he says. “There are a lot of restoration and revitalization efforts being implemented throughout the city and people are very enthusiastic about it. Everywhere you turn there is a major project happening.”

As the negotiated general contractor performing construction management on the project, The Monahan Company was able to self-perform aspects of the labor involved. The company used its own team to complete measures such as cleanup, barricading, safety, rough masonry and light carpentry. For the remaining tasks of the project, The Monahan Company turned to the network of subcontractors the company has developed over the years. “We like to invite people to bid on the job that we are familiar with and have worked with in the past,” Monahan explains. “From there it’s just a matter of making sure they understand the scope of the project and their prices are competitive.”

A family tradition of quality

The Monahan Company was founded in 1922 by Edward V. Monahan, while Detroit was in the midst of an intense building boom. The company has remained a family-run business, currently in its fourth generation. Throughout the years, the company and its people have developed the talent and technology to achieve all of its clients’ goals. With a staff that is so widely diverse in its skillset, The Monahan Company is fortunate to maintain the capability to undertake the construction of a broad range of facilities. The Monahan Company often works with clients in the health care, corporate, retail, multifamily, restoration and custom residential markets.

Dan Monahan has been in the industry for 42 years and joined the family business in 1979. As a third-generation operator of the firm, he is responsible for the day-to-day executive responsibilities of each project. He is also the primary liaison between the project team, on-site staff, architect and owner of the project.

While maintaining general oversight of each project, including the overall schedule and budget monitoring, Monahan measures the success of a project based on numerous factors, placing an emphasis on time frame. “It really comes down to how fast we got it done in terms of the workload,” he explains. “With so many factors that can disrupt the schedule, what’s important is how we pursue the project, how fast we wrap it up and how quickly the project gets closed out.”

With 52 of the 129 planned units to be offered at affordable housing rates, Strathmore Apartments will be a major asset in the revitalization of Detroit. Amenities will include a community room, on-site bike storage, secure entry with resident intercoms and on-site parking. The Monahan Company is proud to add Strathmore Apartments to its portfolio of multifamily restoration projects.

Published on: August 2, 2016

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